Citizen Scientists: Be a Part of Scientific Discovery from Your Own Backyard

Citizen Scientists: Be a Part of Scientific Discovery from Your Own Backyard

by Loree Griffin Burns
     
 

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Anyone can get involved in gathering data for ongoing, actual scientific studies such as the Audubon Bird Count and FrogWatch USA. Just get out into a field, urban park, or your own backyard. You can put your nose to a monarch pupa or listen for raucous frog calls. You can tally woodpeckers or sweep the grass for ladybugs. This book, full of engaging photos and

Overview

Anyone can get involved in gathering data for ongoing, actual scientific studies such as the Audubon Bird Count and FrogWatch USA. Just get out into a field, urban park, or your own backyard. You can put your nose to a monarch pupa or listen for raucous frog calls. You can tally woodpeckers or sweep the grass for ladybugs. This book, full of engaging photos and useful tips, will show you how.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Whether they live in a city, in the suburbs, or on a farm, children can feel the excitement of being involved in real science.” —Science

“…engaging…” —School Library Journal, starred

“...provides instruction for children interested in joining hands-on research efforts and highlights the contributions children have made in studying monarch butterflies, birds, ladybugs, and frogs.” —The Boston Globe

“Burns brings much-deserved attention to four remarkable scientific projects that enlist regular people in data collection.” —Horn Book

“For curious children and teachers alike, this is an ideal introduction to science activities that leave no child inside.” —Kirkus

“Throughout this handsome volume, exceptionally clear color photos illustrate the animals mentioned and the adults and children observing them.” —Booklist

Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
The subtitle on the cover gives a big clue as to the contents: "Be a part of scientific discovery from your own backyard." The definitions of a citizen, science and citizen science are presented in the introduction. Everyday people who use their senses and smarts to understand the world can be citizen scientists. There are four major sections which follow the seasons and start with fall. During the fall keep your eyes open for butterflies and follow the directions for capturing one in your butterfly net, carefully remove it and study the four wings and especially the beautiful markings—sometimes you may find that you have caught a lookalike, but that is fine too. If you want a bigger challenge determine what sex the butterfly is by again following the explanation and directions in the text. Only males have scent pouches. Next tag the butterfly and then let it go free. It was through this tagging that Dr. Fred Urquhart was able to determine when monarchs spent the winter and with the help of hundreds of citizens he was able to determine the two migratory paths depending on whether the monarchs lived to the east or west of the Rocky Mountains. There is much more information about the butterflies and birds, frogs and ladybugs in the other sections of the book. The text is engaging and informative. The illustrations which are mostly photographs are excellent and of high quality. This is a science book that will definitely lure in young readers and they will leave them anxious to participate and be informed about these creatures that for the most part live right in our backyards. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot
School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—An engaging book of seasonal projects for nature lovers (and their parents and teachers as well). Burns explains in her informally sociable text, "Citizen science is the study of our world by the people who live in it." Beginning with fall, she delves into migratory monarchs, instructing youngsters how to catch, tag, and release these long-distance flitters, and goes on to provide a history and a geography of monarch migration patterns. She introduces two young "Monarch Watchers" (ages seven and six), presents a list of necessary equipment, and offers a quick quiz (answers at the back of the book). She repeats this format for winter (joining in the Christmas Bird Count); spring "frogging" at night (identifying mating calls); and summer ("ladybugging"). Resource sections containing a list of books, field guides, and websites are included for each critter, along with pointers for finding more. Burns is careful to emphasize "gentleness" in catching, tagging, photographing, and releasing specimens. Crisp color photos flow through the pages, many showing kids of various ages hot on the trail of frog sounds or birdcalls. Interested readers will enjoy many of the suggested titles, and a side trip into such elegant offerings as Pamela Turner's The Frog Scientist (2009) or Sy Montgomery's The Tarantula Scientist (2004, both Houghton Harcourt) might show them how far these early explorations might lead. Handsome and challenging.—Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY
Kirkus Reviews
Citizen-science projects involving butterflies, birds, frogs and ladybugs span the seasons and involve people of all ages in meaningful observation of the world around us. Burns describes the work of scientists who have enlisted the help of children and adults in their work. They tag migrating monarch butterflies in the fall, count birds at Christmas, listen to frogs when the weather warms up and photograph ladybugs in the summer. Project by project, she draws young naturalists in, addressing intriguing instructions for each activity directly to readers. Then she introduces the research, offers a checklist for going out in the field, further information and a quick quiz about each creature. Careful design distinguishes each section of the text by creature and by approach. Colorful photographs show both children engaged in the research and the butterflies, birds, frogs and ladybugs described, including an image of each with appropriate parts labeled with the words naturalists use. The author provides a page of resources for each creature (some written for young readers and some for adults or more experienced researchers) and offers a solid list of other citizen-science projects to be found on line. For curious children and teachers alike, this is an ideal introduction to science activities that leave no child inside. (bibliography, glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 8-14)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780805095173
Publisher:
Square Fish
Publication date:
02/14/2012
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
80
Sales rank:
573,462
Product dimensions:
10.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.10(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Loree Griffin Burns, PhD., is the author of The Hive Detectives: Chronicle of a Honey Bee Catastrophe and Tracking Trash: Flotsam, Jetsam, and the Science of Ocean Motion, both ALA Notable books. She lives in Massachusetts.

Ellen Harasimowicz also lives in Massachusetts and is a freelance photojournalist whose work has appeared in the Boston Globe, the Washington Post, and Scientific American.

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