District STREAM Teachers Present at Tech Conference

District STREAM Teachers Present at Tech Conference photo
STREAM (science, technology, research, engineering, arts and math) teachers Cheryl Carmody and Jessica McKenna led a workshop, “Igniting the Citizen Scientist in Your Students,” at the Suffolk ASSET’s Technology Conference on March 12 at the Huntington Hilton.  

The pair’s presentation discussed children’s natural curiosity about nature and what is going on around them, including research that indicates children who have more nature experiences demonstrate more advanced cognitive and emotional development. It also revealed that more and more children are suffering from nature deficit disorder, where although they may go outside for play or sports, children lack a connection to nature and the outside world around them. 

Carmody and McKenna then asked the question: How could teachers provide more opportunities for students to practice their observational skills and build awareness of the world around them and to practice science in a real, tangible way, with meaning? They proposed introducing students to citizen science would achieve these objectives.
 
The presentation included an overview of five citizen science projects and lesson ideas within these programs. The teachers also demonstrated the apps and how students can submit their observations. Participants saw how these submissions actually help real scientists with their research. Information was offered on various citizen science websites and apps that teachers may use with a variety of age groups.

Citizen science blends the use of technology with the study of the great outdoors to benefit scientists everywhere. It also offers students a chance to not just learn science but to feel like a scientist using data to discover changes in the world around them.