Implementing a citizen science project in a 9-12 high school science classroom
Langager, Paula Marie
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This classroom action research (AR) project explored the impacts of project-based learning on high school students critical thinking, decision-making, data collection and data analysis skills through the implementation of a citizen science project. AP® Environmental Science (APES) students co-developed a citizen science project that explored their local schoolyard biodiversity by designing and researching their own scientific investigative question. An evaluation of students changes in science self-efficacy, and attitudes toward science research and specific science tasks was tracked throughout the project. Pre- and post-Likert surveys, open-ended questions, field journals, focus group interviews, and a biological solutions science poster were employed as data collection tools. A mixed methodology (qualitative and quantitative) was used to analyze the data. These results showed that students made reasonable gains in data collection and analysis skills, critical thinking and decision-making abilities. Noticeable improvements were detected in student attitudes toward science and science self-efficacy. A discernable change was observed in the student's overall data and data analysis skills related to a field study.