How I Use It
I use Citizen Science in two ways. I introduce the entire class to the concept of lake eutrophication by completing the first stage of the game together. (Older students could do this independently). The reading level is appropriate for middle school and strong upper-elementary students. My students were able to understand it with vocabulary support. I demonstrated how to use the tools and reminded them to check the Globe Input as a source of evidence for their arguments. We constructed two of the arguments together. Then I had interested students proceed through some of the remaining components of the activity, either independently or in partnerships. When we ran out of time, they were unable to save their game, so I had them write or gave a verbal presentation in which they describe what lake eutrophication is, why it is problematic, where it might occur (a difficult concept for my students because they live in a desert), two causes, and two possible solutions.
In addition to accurate content and engaging interactive tools for sampling water clarity and chemistry, students enjoyed interacting with the different characters in the various locations along the lake shore. The dialogue was a bit wordy and the quaint puns were a bit complicated for my 3rd grade students, but I think this would not be an issue with older English-dominant students. I found that the navigation was a bit slow, and after 1 1/2 hours of playing around with Citizen Science, my character disappeared and I was unable to continue. I have had some students lose their work, and they completed the activities described above based on what they were able to complete. I think this is worthwhile, but there are a few bugs. I wouldn't recommend it for ESL students unless they were paired up with a strong English-speaker, nor would I recommend it for reluctant readers. Additionally, it's good to play through it yourself first so you know how to keep students from simply wandering around aimlessly looking for the next piece of evidence.