Getting Started: Driven to Discover for school settings
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Driven to Discover fits into the formal classroom in a variety of ways -- whatever works for you! The curriculum is designed ideally for a 15 to 21 class period unit, but pieces can be done in 4 to 8 periods. More is gained from integrating the process into other parts of teaching and subjects, but the materials can be adapted to suit the needs of your classroom and students.
First, students develop 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. Curriculum materials support disciplinary literacy and the integration of scientific reasoning across all activities.
The program is geared toward students in grades 6 through 12 and their teachers. It can be adapted for exceptional learners, English Language learners, or Students with Disabilities according to the needs and desires of the teacher.
Benefits to the students/district
Driven to Discover can help your students build skills and knowledge needed to achieve your state’s standards or the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). One strength of this program is the integration of NGGS Science Practices and Disciplinary Core Ideas. Lessons Include:
- Scientific investigations
- Ecological systems, including (NGSS) interactions, energy and dynamic relationships
- Communications in science
What the school/district needs to provide
Citizen science can be done anywhere (urban or rural), but it does require the outdoors. Depending on the citizen science program of your choice, you may need flowers or access to a small body of water. You will also need a computer or tablet with access to the internet in order to submit your citizen science data. Additionally, you will need instructional supplies appropriate to the program (binoculars, field guides, nets, etc). The supplies are outlined in the curriculum content specific to your choice of program.
School leaders and districts should expect teachers who are implementing this program to take their students outside of the classroom for an experiential learning process.
How UMN Extension can support youAll Driven to Discover curriculum materials are available for FREE. Download them today and get started on your own. Or, let us help prepare you to work effectively with your students (please contact us for estimated costs):
- Curriculum guides with lesson plans, step by step guidance and a variety of tips and resources (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 teachers on how to implement the programs (extra fees apply)
- Regular check-ins with teachers to provide ongoing coaching (extra fees apply)
How to get started
- Choose your citizen science program and download the corresponding curriculum.
- Review the curriculum for a list of materials and tasks that will need to be completed before you begin, such as identifying a study site.
- Let us know how we can help you! For questions or to request and estimated cost for training and coaching, please contact Andrea Lorek Strauss, an Extension Educator specializing in Fish, Wildlife & Conservation Education, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Start doing citizen science!