On October 1, the Center’s CCS Innovator Fellow, Peggy Harte, traveled with DeAnn Tenhunfeld to Sacramento to present at a California Expanded Learning Summit for after-school educators and administrators. Their talk, “Engaging Students in STEM through Citizen Science,” discussed citizen science’s growing role in elementary classrooms, and was attended by nearly 50 participants.
As an education specialist and a programs coordinator with the Dixon and Woodland Joint Unified School Districts, respectively, Peggy and DeAnn drew on their experiences with local students to craft a presentation that was both educational and fun. Participants spent a good portion of the afternoon session nature sketching and conducting a mini bioblitz.
Peggy and DeAnn developed their talk from the Center’s research and collective experience from the ongoing collaboration with the Yolo County Office of Education, focused on elementary school gardens in Woodland. Among other points, they stressed that citizen science, both in and out of the classroom, highlights student engagement in the three learning dimensions of the Next Generation Science Standards. They also emphasized its potential as a barrier-breaking way for students from all backgrounds to view themselves as scientists.
The summit, one of three put on this year by the California AfterSchool Network, brought together stakeholders from all levels of education for a day of collaboration and discussion, focused on presenters and issues pertinent to the wider Sacramento region. With students in Dixon and Woodland already benefiting from the citizen science being integrated into their schools, the Expanded Learning Summit couldn’t have been a more ideal place for Peggy and DeAnn to share their work.