Getting Kids Out Into Nature

Citizen Science Projects for Kids – Part 3

[This is the third in a series of posts describing citizen science projects that kids can be involved in.  Read the first post here, about bird projects, and the second post here, about plants and other animals.]

As I was researching projects to include in this series of articles, I came across an interesting website that has multiple projects you can choose from.  Zooniverse is a portal to many different areas where kids and adults can participate in such diverse interests as astronomy, whale biology, seafloor exploration, historical climate data, bat call classification, and archaeology.

Many of these programs need the help of humans to do this work.  Volunteers can be trained to do work that computers have a hard time with; there aren’t enough researchers and grad students to do it all.  I’m not going to do a complete review of all of these projects; I haven’t tried many of them, though I did play around with some of the galaxy classification systems.  But below are brief descriptions of the various parts of the site you can choose from.

GalaxyZoo – Look at photos of far-away galaxies and classify them based on several characteristics.  While you’re at it, you’ll learn more about the kinds of objects that inhabit our universe.

MoonZoo – View images of the moon and classify craters and other features you see.

Solar Stormwatch – Help scientists detect storms on the sun.

Planet Hunters – Detect planets orbiting around faraway suns.

The Milky Way Project – Sort and measure the universe by drawing circles around objects in photos.

OldWeather – Model Earth’s climate using wartime ship logs.

Cyclone Center – Help classify historical cyclone imagery.

Ancient Lives – Transcribe and measure ancient text found on archaeological digs.

Whale FM – Categorize and identify various whale songs and other aquatic noises.

Seafloor Explorer – Identify species and ground cover on photos of the seafloor from the eastern continental shelf of North America.

Bat Detective – Learn more about bats as you classify bat calls and other night sounds.

I’m curious to know if any of you have participated in these projects.  What did you think?  Have you used them as part of a homeschool curriculum, or as enrichment or personal enjoyment?  Let me know in the comments!  This is the last post I have planned on the topic of citizen science for kids.  But if I come across any other programs, I’ll save them up for another post in the future.

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