Getting Started: Driven to Discover for youth programs and nature centers/museum settings
Check out this overview of Driven to Discover for summer and afterschool youth programs.
On this page
You can implement the Driven to Discover in a variety of formats. The club meeting structure is adaptable to different meeting lengths and time frames – from a 2 week intensive to a 5-12 week program with weekly or bi-weekly meetings. The instructional materials are designed for at least 25 hours of contact time with youth participants.
Whatever the program format, the Driven to Discover process follows a three-step approach. First, youth learn the science skills related to the citizen science project they will undertake. Then they practice protocols to contribute to a citizen science project. Then, based on their experiences in the first two steps, they conduct a science investigation of their own choosing. All this takes place in the context of a positive team learning environment. Curriculum materials support all these components!
The program is geared for youth age 10-14 and their adult guides in settings such as nature centers, museums, summer and afterschool programs, community education, and club settings (e.g., Scouts, 4-H). The Facilitator’s Guides provide ample background information and teaching tips so anyone with a passion for helping youth do science can be successful.
Benefits to the organization
Driven to Discover can help your organization meet your STEM learning goals! When you implement the Driven to Discover program model...
- Youth discover the wonders of science in the real world, beyond a textbook.
- Adult leaders build skills to engage middle school youth in citizen science and inquiry-based investigations.
- You can be creative to fit this flexible model into your existing program structures.
- Youth develop a stronger science identity- a perception of themselves as scientists.
The Driven to Discover program is easy to implement in your organizational setting. Our program team has coached a variety of organizations to weave this program model into their youth offerings. Let us help you get started
What the organization needs to provide
- Adult leaders. One or two for every 10 youth, ideally with youth facilitation skills and a base knowledge of science content. Adult leaders can be teachers, environmental/naturalist educators, youth program staff, or volunteers.
- Meeting location with restrooms, internet access, instructional supplies and sufficient natural resources to conduct the citizen science project
- Recruitment of youth participants
How UMN Extension can support you
All Driven to Discover curriculum materials are available for free. Download them today and get started on your own! Or let us help prepare adult leaders to work effectively with youth (please contact us for estimated costs):
- Facilitator’s Guide with lesson plans, step-by-step guidance and a variety of tips and resources (download for free)
- Investigator’s Field Journals are a cross between a workbook and a lab manual with youth-appropriate reflection exercises and worksheets for implementing citizen science and investigations. We provide the print master and you duplicate one per youth participant. (download for free)
- OR we can coach you to adapt the materials for a citizen science project of your own choosing.
- In-person or web-based training by a curriculum professional for the adult leader(s) on how to implement the program (extra fees apply)
- Regular check-ins with the leader(s) to provide ongoing coaching (extra fees apply)
How to get started
- Download curriculum
- Read page 20 of the Facilitator’s Guide for a full list of tasks to prepare for program implementation, such as identifying a suitable meeting site and gathering materials.
- Let us know how we can help you! For questions or to request an estimated cost for training and coaching, please contact Andrea Lorek Strauss, Extension Educator, Fish, Wildlife & Conservation Education, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Recruit adult leaders and youth...and start doing citizen science!