iWonder is an amazing student-driven citizen science program that you can have your students involved in that allows you to have them:
- Develop meaning full scientific questions
- Develop computational thinking skills – breaking down problems and developing solutions
- Be involved in online scientific discussions with peers and experts
- Collect and analyze real data
- Turn their scientific investigations into actions that benefit their community and beyond.
While iWonder is often very open-ended, allowing you to fit it into your classroom’s priorities, it does have a ‘flow’ that leads your students through a series of steps from wondering about a problem to taking community-based actions.
A class in coastal Maine wondered where all the trash came from on their local beaches. They developed a protocol for collecting and measuring the trash they collected on their beaches and visited the beaches on a regular basis where they collected, weighed, and classified the trash. They looked at changes in the types of trash, if it was related to storm activity, and if the trash came from boats or people who used the beaches. Their community action included having their town provide a collection service for the trash they collected and the students took great pride that they had become the advocates and guardians of their beach.
iWonder about… – a place where students can formulate a scientific question based on a local issue that they are concerned about. They post a question online and the iWonder community comments and help them make the question more scientific.
Investigation – questions that rise to the top and become SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic/Relevant and Timely) can be turned into investigations. An investigation has a protocol (instructions) for collecting data, an online form for recording data and a place where people can discuss their progress, issues and comments.
Explore data – a place where all the iWonder data can be seen and downloaded to allow students to work with their (or others) raw data, graph, discuss results, draw conclusions, and more.
Act – students are encouraged to make the world a better place by taking some action in their local community based on the findings of a iWonder investigation. How can they inform their community? What changes can be made locally to improve the environment?
iWonder has a history
iWonder, under the old name of WeatherBlur, has been running for over a decade with select schools in Maine, Alaska, Mississippi and Alabama