University of Minnesota

Driven to Discover: Citizen Science 2018

Join a collaboration with the University of Minnesota Monarch Lab, and the University of Minnesota Curriculum and Instruction Department in a field study this summer! Immerse yourself in authentic field science with UMN researchers from the Conservation Biology, Forestry and Entomology Departments. Receive first-hand experience collecting data, pursuing relevant research questions and analyzing data alongside researchers. Bring your experiences back to the classroom and find practical field methods to explore concepts of biodiversity, biological responses to climate change, and the ecology of pollinators with students.

Our process begins with learning the field collection techniques established by nationally recognized citizen science projects including eBird, The Great Sunflower Project, National Phenology Network, and Dragonfly Pond Watch. Beyond exploring in the field, our goal is to support teachers in guiding students through full investigations. This includes having students ask investigative questions, analyze data and present their findings.

Utilize a standards-based approach and receive a variety of support from the program including curriculum, classroom visits, school year meetings and contact with other motivated teachers.  Opportunities to examine teaching and learning strategies with colleagues and UMN staff support the interdisciplinary work that scientists actually do. Refresh yourself and engage your students in authentic STEM content. This course is ideally suited for life science and environmental science teachers!

2018 Summer Dates & Location

  • Week 1: June 25- June 29 (Monday June 25 at University of Minnesota St. Paul campus 8:30-3:30, 4 days/ 3 nights at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN June 26-June 29 8:30 am-5:00 pm) 
  • Week 2: July 9-13 University of Minnesota St. Paul Campus 8:30-3:30
  • Housing provided as needed

Information about the Gustavus Adolphus College Linneaus Arboretum can be found here.

School-year Involvement

  • (2) Saturday meetings during the school year- dates TBA
  • (3) Reflective small group meetings at school district sites
  • Classroom visits from UMN faculty and staff
  • (1) Ecology research fair focused on student work (UMN campus: date December 8, 2018)

Opportunities and Stipend

  • $2266 stipend OR 3 University of Minnesota graduate credits
    • Stipends disbursed as two payments (August 2018 & June 2019)
    • Credits from the College of Continuing Education (2 credits added in August 2018, 1 credit added in May 2019)
  • Field equipment and supportive curriculum provided
  • School-year support from project faculty and staff in the classroom
  • Opportunity for student projects to be presented at the University of Minnesota Monarch Lab Ecology Fair
  • Eligibility for a $1000 Schoolyard Garden Grant

Priority Districts

  • South Minnesota school districts (LeSueur-Henderson, St. Peter, Sibley East MN)
  • Anoka Hennepin Public Schools
  • Minneapolis Public Schools
  • St. Paul Public Schools

To Apply

Reserve your spot today!

Email Sarah Weaver: with questions. You will receive a confirmation email in 1-2 weeks during the winter months.

Program resources are designed with secondary teachers and studetns in mind. For our research goals and effective support we do favor secondary teachers in the enrollment process

Why Use Citizen Science? 

Use citizen science in your classroom to join a collaborative scientific team that serves both research and learning goals. As a classroom tool, citizen science projects provide models of experimental design and data management combined with a focus on cutting edge ecological research questions. Teachers can guide students to investigate questions and analyses to the desired level of rigor for student learning and engagement. Student interest and confidence are bolstered by the benefits of contributing to a larger project.

See our teachers, students and researchers in action!

Dragonfly Video:
Phenology Video:
Pollinator Video:
Bird Video:


Find out more about the Driven to Discover process used in informal education settings

Related Documents

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