Citizen Science and the Lewis & Clark Trail
A workshop for educators in June 2019
In June 2019, the Science Math Resource Center hosted a workshop for educators called Citizen Science and the Lewis & Clark Trail. This workshop brought history, citizen science, NASA technologies and Montana water quality research to educators from K-12 classrooms and out-of-school programs as we combined the mystique of the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail with modern tools for data collection.
Resources from the workshop are posted here and are current as of Summer 2021. Please feel free to use them, or contact Science Math Resource Center for more information!
NASA AREN provides hands-on experiences that bring a unique “aerial perspective” to learners of all ages using large kites, cameras and sensors. In the workshop, educators learned about AREN, kite aerial photography (KAP), citizen science, and how AREN helps students experience NASA science missions, technology and operations. The participants also learned about balloon mapping, GLOBE Observer, and the Lewis & Clark citizen science challenge, a National Park Service program.
The educators brainstormed ways to complement the STEM aspects of AREN with the Arts and the Humanities and generated additional links useful for a classroom/program curriculum. Below are their ideas.
STEM + the Arts = STEAM
Art and visualization
- Prompt students to think about what the kite sees as it looks down and then draw it. Encourage youth to draw what you see, not what you know.
- Ground-truthing – Compare a real aerial photo to a child’s first drawing of what the area may look like from above. Talk about spatial reasoning and how that starts to develop.
- Additionally, draw different perspectives of how the kites are seen in the air.
- Design a pattern or mathematical array that could be created on the ground and then photographed from the air. Use flags, colors, humans, etc.
- Brainstorm creative ways to graph and visualize the data from the Kestral. What other data could be visualized (e.g., flying conditions)
Making / crafting
- Design your own kite: Try some designs and see how you could improve on them. Consider how the wind moves over and under the kite? What are the other variables, e.g., is the launcher (the human) tall or short? Do the air currents come from above or below?
- What other 3D media could you use to make representations of kites?
- Creative ways to mark the string: Students could mark the string for how far out their kites go each time; try to beat themselves in a challenge for whether they can get it out farther. Why did it do better one day vs. another?
- Research the history of kites or balloons. Create a visualization of the timeline.
- Study historical kite flyers such as Ben Franklin, Leonard Da Vinci
Lewis & Clark citizen science challenge:
- Consider what if Lewis & Clark had aerial mapping?
- How has recording information and finding out information changed over time. What did Lewis & Clark have to do to go find what’s out there vs. what we (in 2019) are doing? How do we still incorporate those older techniques – journals, writing, drawing?
- Compare modern methods with older methods, e.g., students could draw clouds and then look at them with GLOBE. It helps them be more aware observers. Talk about how much we have gained.
- Tie to the Journal of Augustus Pelletier: The Lewis and Clark Expedition, 1804 (My Name is America – historical fiction of a teenage boy on the trail with L&C.) Compare to what L&C would have seen compared to what we see.
Reading and writing
- Write stories about their first kite flying experience
- Write poems in the shape of kites
- Write a news article about their kite-flying experience; help youth describe what they have done and what they have learned
- Create a bird's eye view narrative as if you had ridden on the kite
- Connect kite flying to literature – there are lots of children’s book about kites – fiction and non-fiction. Study the Wright Brothers and history of flight
- Critical thinking, research and teamwork
Additional questions to consider:
- Static electricity: does it affect kite flying?
- Aerodynamics – how the air may flow over the kite – what are the features of a good kite-flying day vs a bad day
- Other projects that are going on – who else is using this technology and what are they doing
- Why do some kites have tails?
- Connect kites to other areas, such as a correlation with bird migration. Birds migrate at certain times of the year; is there a correlation between bird migration and better kite flying times? How would we find out?
- Build a wind tunnel to experiment with mini kites
- Ethical / privacy discussion – is it safe to fly a kite everywhere, why might you not fly, why would someone have a problem with it
- Teamwork: Working as a team, redesigning their kites as a team
- Do a verbal-visual exchange – kids who fly then share pictures share back with kids who did not fly and have to write about it; shared experiences
GLOBE Land Cover Toolkit
Aerokats and Rovers Education Network
AEROKATS overview (the flying part, not the underwater robotics), including lots of information about the kites and aerial imaging
Aeropods and how to use the NASA licensed technology
Info on the different types of kites. We flew the Alpine (the big one that we tried to put the aeropod on), the 7-foot Delta, and then the small one with the tails is called a Hata
- GLOBE overview of citizen science:
- SciStarter: Website with tons of citizen science projects!
- Galaxy Zoo – citizen scientists search for galaxies
- Citizen Science Toolkit from California Academy of Sciences
- LandTalk is a citizen science and environmental history project that documents, through interviews, how local landscapes change over time. It provides an opportunity for conversations between generations, and a chance to learn from observers about changes they have seen. Students get involved by interviewing a family member and adding their conversation to a map.
- LandTalk Teaching resources:
Lewis & Clark Citizen Science Challenge
- Overview of the project
- Map that shows the trail and the observation sites
- Map that shows observations already taken
- NASA Earth Facebook livestream from Hells Gate State Park – includes good information from Nez Perce tribal member / ranger Vivian Wilson
- Original livestream video (we watched a few minutes in class)
- Honoring Tribal Legacies (overview)
- Honoring Tribal Legacies (book)
- Lewis & Clark Expedition impact on indigenous Americans
EPSCoR Water Quality research
Other water quality resources
- Foldscope tutorials
- TerraKids magnifier
- Water monitoring kit ($39.95)
- Easy-to-understand video about dissolved oxygen content
- Indiana Dept. of Environmental Management (IDEM) Hoosier Riverwatch Training Manual:
In the benthic macroinvertebrates chapter are the Pollution Tolerance Index (PTI) data sheets and PTI identification key. Appendix B is the big, 2-sided macroinvertebrate key for rivers and ponds. The whole manual is an excellent resource for understanding water quality.
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