A free workshop that encourages teachers to get their students involved in collaborative scientific research was held at the University of Portsmouth on Thursday July 19.
The purpose of the workshop, organised by Zooniverse.org, was to showcase web based tools and resources that help school children to easily take part in ‘citizen science’ projects run by the Zooniverse. These projects involve members of the public contributing to scientific research through activities as diverse as identifying galaxy types, counting craters on the moon and listening to whale song.
Dr Karen Masters, Research Fellow in the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation and a leading scientist in the Galaxy Zoo project, said: “Citizen science is a great way to get students to feel part of real, current research and get their hands on real data. Everyone has enjoyed the workshop and will be taking practical knowledge back to the classroom. We are proud to have hosted such an innovative event in Portsmouth.”
Jenny Kennedy, Science Teacher at Swanmore College said: “This is a great hook for getting pupils interested in science.”
Around a dozen teachers attended the workshop, along with Outreach Officers from universities across the region. They learned about ZooTeach.org, a website for sharing lesson plans and resources that will help teachers build citizen science into their curriculum, and ‘Galaxy Zoo Interactive’, a classroom tool that connects astronomy to maths, using data from the Galaxy Zoo project to allow students to investigate statistical relations in different types of galaxies with web based plotting tools.