Elementary Teachers as Collaborators: Developing Educative Support Materials for Citizen Science Projects

Science education is an important component of a full education beginning in primary grades. In recent decades, research has identified young learners’ rich knowledge of the natural world and their potential to connect with sophisticated science ideas. Elementary teachers face many challenges to implementing reform-based science instruction in their classrooms. Some teachers may choose to enhance their students’ science experiences by introducing them to citizen science (CS) projects. Unfortunately, few CS projects offer substantial guidance for teachers seeking to implement the projects for instructional purposes, placing a heavy burden on teachers. To address these burdens, our research team collaborated with Teacher Advisory Group (TAG teachers) during the development and revision of educative support materials for two CS projects. We present data about how the TAG teachers informed our CS support materials’ revisions, how they implemented the two CS projects with and without educative support materials, and how they perceived their students’ classroom and outdoor experiences with the CS projects. These data demonstrate the importance of including teachers’ voices and experiences in reform efforts, particularly when trying to incorporate instructional elements that teachers may perceive as deviations from what they are expected to teach.

Carrier, S. J., Sachs, L. H., McGowan, J. M., Hayes, M., Smith, P. S., Goforth, C. L., & Safley, S. E. (2024). Elementary teachers as collaborators: developing educative support materials for citizen science projects. International Journal of Science Education. https://doi.org/10.1080/09500693.2024.2311801