Scampers Thinks Like a Scientist gives kids a head start in STEM by helping them understand scientific practices. And along with the launch of this giggle-inducing new picture book, we’ve gathered some fantastic (free) citizen science lesson plans for the classroom, so kids can get hands-on science experience just like Scampers!
Scampers Thinks Like a Scientist introduces us to a small but determined mouse who reclaims a favorite vegetable garden from a menacing owl. How does she do it? She asks questions, she observes, and she investigates—and she comes to the surprising conclusion that this owl won’t harm them after all.
What would it look life for kids to take on real world science projects just like Scampers?
Citizen science refers to any scientific project or program that uses a network of volunteers to conduct research. Those results often contribute data to scientists that would be impossible for them to collect on their own.
While citizen science might make some people think of in-depth projects or heroic efforts, it is actually completely accessible for elementary classes.
We’ve collected a great list of projects that are especially classroom friendly, as well as detailed suggestions for how to get started.
Journey North is an organization that conducts an ongoing global study of wildlife migration and seasonal change. Students K-12 can report their field observations directly. Journey North provides excellent educator planning tools that make lesson planning easy.
Want a lesson on plants? Project Budburst is often used as a case study for successful and engaging citizen science projects. They have a four-step plan for introducing their projects in the classroom!
How about birds? While the Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count may not be till next winter, Cornell Lab of Ornithology has 10 different citizen science projects for any environment, urban or rural.
For further suggestions, check out our No Child Left Inside handout which lists many more projects, while also giving detailed suggestions about how to get started (and how to not get overwhelmed). Don’t forget to print out our free Citizen Science Project Summary Sheet, included in the No Child Left Inside handout!
Do we recommend you start off your classroom project with a reading of Scampers Thinks Like a Scientist? Of course! Use our free handout on Teacher Considerations for Successful Investigations to get ready!