Why a Citizen Science Toolkit for Teachers?

 

The concepts and contents of this Citizen Science Toolkit for Teachers originate from the face-to-face work performed in the frame of Work Package “Citizen Science at School” of STEMForYouth.

Five Citizen Science (CS) pilots have been performed with three schools of Barcelona Metropolitan Area (Spain), one school of Palaio Faliro (Athens, Greece) and one school of Sokołów Podlaski (Poland), with a total of 160 students aged 15-17 involved.

These pilots were devoted to introduce CS at school, based on previous evidences showing that this introduction can have many positive outcomes such as increasing students’ participation and motivation for STEM learning. In addition, the corner stone value of Responsible Research and Innovation, asking for participation and engagement of civil society in R&I, has been deeply integrated to shift the teacher’s and student’s perspective to what is a scientific research. For all these reason, the CS research projects have been collaboratively designed with the students through a co-creation process.

While co-designing the CS experiments, the students undergo through a transdisciplinary scientific and creative process, where the boundaries between disciplines almost disappear. The formal disciplines that are embedded are Game Theory, Sociology, Mathematics, Design, Communication, Urban Planning, Economics, and ICT, just to cite a few.

The engagement of the students during the co-creation process allowed the collective design and performance of five original experiments, based on the social concerns expressed by the students themselves. These social concerns were transformed into research questions serving as guidelines for the proposal of a set of conceptual diagrams describing the experiments. The background of the research was the study of human behavioural traits, such as cooperation, generosity, empathy, sense of justice, reciprocity, trust, envy and optimism, through social dilemmas in the form of games and in a highly contextualized format in order to gather social capital in each city.

The experimental set-up was collectively created by the students, a designer studio, a digital platform programmer and the scientists. Finally, the original experiments were situated in public spaces of the five different cities, the students acting as promoters and facilitators for the pedestrian volunteers that participated.

The Citizen Science Toolkit for Teachers is largely based on the materials that have been generated in this context and aims giving the teachers the possibility to autonomously reproduce the CS co-creation process in the classroom. All the materials are displayed in the Citizen Science section.

 

Public Space Citizen Science Experiment in Badalona (Spain). April 2017. Public Space Citizen Science Experiment in Badalona (Spain). April 2017.