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  • Writer's pictureYLACES

Citizen Science Creates Opportunities for Learning Through Participation

A report titled "Learning Through Citizen Science: Enhancing Opportunities by Design" supports YLACES belief of learning science by doing science. Contributors to the study including the National Academics of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, Board on Science Education, and Committee on Designing Citizen Science to Support Science Learning.

Read the description below for a summary of the study:

In the last twenty years, citizen science has blossomed as a way to engage a broad range of individuals in doing science. Citizen science projects focus on, but are not limited to, nonscientists participating in the processes of scientific research, with the intended goal of advancing and using scientific knowledge. A rich range of projects extend this focus in myriad directions, and the boundaries of citizen science as a field are not clearly delineated. Citizen science involves a growing community of professional practitioners, participants, and stakeholders, and a thriving collection of projects. While citizen science is often recognized for its potential to engage the public in science, it is also uniquely positioned to support and extend participants’ learning in science.

Contemporary understandings of science learning continue to advance. Indeed, modern theories of learning recognize that science learning is complex and multifaceted. Learning is affected by factors that are individual, social, cultural, and institutional, and learning occurs in virtually any context and at every age. Current understandings of science learning also suggest that science learning extends well beyond content knowledge in a domain to include understanding of the nature and methods of science.

Learning Through Citizen Science: Enhancing Opportunities by Design discusses the potential of citizen science to support science learning and identifies promising practices and programs that exemplify the promising practices. This report also lays out a research agenda that can fill gaps in the current understanding of how citizen science can support science learning and enhance science education.

The full study can be accessed by following the link below:


Youth Learning as Citizen Environmental Scientists (YLACES) seeks to develop citizens with scientific habits of mind, utilizing the environment as a learning laboratory where students conduct research and contribute to a better collective understanding of our changing world.

YLACES assists and rewards the implementation of inquiry-based, experiential science education where students do science and contribute to understanding of our environment through recognition and financial rewards. Grants range from support for taking simple measurements to Student Research Symposia.

For more information, visit



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