Citizen Science

Citizen Science


As author Loree Griffin Burns states in her book Citizen Scientists, citizen science is simply "the study of our world by the people who live in it." Everyday people are helping scientists gather all kinds of data all over the world to advance science. By visiting the websites listed on this page, you can find out a little more about citizen science.


Start your exploration by viewing a video, Loree Griffin Burns Reading Citizen Scientists, to get an introduction to the book and the topic of citizen science. You will discuss this video with your class.

Investigate further by viewing Citizen Science, from Science in Seconds.

Once you're done watching the video, go to and read Citizen Science, an article from National Geographic.

Now that you've looked at the two resources, you can answer these questions. You can record your answers on the Citizen Science student sheet:

  • What is citizen science?
  • How has citizen science been practiced through the years?
  • What are some of the areas of study that citizens have helped scientists with?
  • How do computers and the Internet make it easier for citizens to help in scientific studies?
  • Of the citizen scientist projects you have read about and seen, which would you most like to participate in?

Before you dive into the Citizen Scientists book, watch the Interview with Loree Griffin Burns about her experience writing the book and her goals in writing it. As you watch the interivew, look for answers to these questions, which you can answer on your Citizen Science student sheet:

  • What was the author's goal in writing the book?
  • Who makes a good citizen scientist?
  • Why are kids particularly suited to citizen science?
  • What do scientists gain by using citizen scientists?

Knowledge Check

To extend on what you have learned in this exploration, you have the option of participating in a citizen science project of your choosing. If you do so, you can consult these project websites for more information and use the Citizen Science Project student sheet to help organization your information:

This esheet is a part of the Citizen Scientists: Be a Part of Scientific Discovery from Your Own Backyard lesson.

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