Instead of teaching young people about science, we want them to do science. That’s one of the central notions in teaching science as inquiry and it’s a core part of the Next Generation Science Standards. Said that way it sounds simple, but when we step back and try to articulate exactly what doing science means it becomes a bit tricky. Is it collecting data? Is it developing research questions? Is it defending and advancing arguments based on evidence? The short answer to each of these questions is “Yes, and…”.
Citizen science projects engage members of the public in scientific research. With the Next Generation Science Standards' emphasis on science and engineering practices, these projects provide an ideal way to involve students in the process of scientific investigation. An abundance of mobile apps makes participation in citizen science projects easier than ever and allows data entry in the field. Here is a selection of apps that we found particularly useful for engaging students.