Hawaiian Citizen Science: Journeys of Self-Discovery and Understanding of Scientific Concepts Through Culture and Nature Study in School Science Classes
Transformative experiences in nature help to shape the way students learn about science as well as care about sustainability of the environment and the societies around them. My own transcendent experiences in nature, and passion about nature, have shaped the way I approach teaching, in a hope to foster that same transformative experience for my students. As societies become more technological and the need for effective STEM education increases, it becomes increasingly important to involve students in citizen science projects: such projects can engage them meaningfully in science. Citizen science projects allow students to find relevance in the science they learn in the classroom, and some citizen science projects also may be considered socioscientific, grounding students in Hawaiian culture. Such approaches to science education enable educators to teach ecology while incorporating local, tangible examples of adaptive radiation, symbiosis, and invasion biology. Because citizen science projects are often value-laden and require students to take action (i.e., planting native species, removing invasive species), students begin to understand, determine the worth of, and justify their actions on a personal and cultural level in relation to the science they use.. This type of introspection likely would not otherwise be considered in a science class limited to factual knowledge, yet it is necessary if students are to be reconnected to their natural environment.
KeywordsHawaii Citizen science Science education Place based Culture
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