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Pros: Journey North moves beyond other citizen science websites because it helps kids do more than just upload pictures -- they actually get to ask questions and form conclusions.
Cons: Without a teacher dashboard, teachers can't track progress of their class online.
Bottom Line: Extensive resources can help kids collect, share, and analyze evidence about seasonal change.
Journey North can be used as a part of a large-scale class project or assigned to individual students who are interested in citizen science. Under the Student Showcase, templates and graphic organizers help kids learn to develop research questions using evidence from the site. In addition, printable worksheets can help kids learn to take notes from research sources. Journey North has excellent resources to help kids collect, share, and analyze evidence about seasonal change. These tools can be used outside of the Journey North site to help kids do scientific inquiry. Brainstorming charts help kids pose questions about habitats, life cycles, migration, or other seasonal change topics. They gather their own data and use it alongside observations from other scientists. Then kids use graphic organizers to take notes from research resources. Journey North even provides the tools for kids to write conclusions about their own questions.
Editor's Note: Journey North is no longer available.
Journey North is a free website that helps kids record and share observations about seasonal change. These observations vary from the length of a day to a flower blooming or the presence of a butterfly. Resources are available to help kids figure out their longitude and latitude so they can include it with their observations. This site can be used by any nature lover but is best for elementary or middle school students learning about ecosystems, life cycles, or the seasons.
Webcams of gray seals, osprey, puffins, polar bears, common terns, and brown bears are intended to let kids see how the seasons affect living things. However, during certain parts of the year, the webcams aren't live like when polar bears are out during their hunting season. For example, puffins are only on camera from May to July, when they're breeding. Teachers will need to take that into account in their planning or settle for recorded images. While this lack of live access demonstrates how behaviors change with the seasons, this may not be obvious to kids who are viewing taped footage from a different part of the year.
At first glance, Journey North may seem like any other citizen science website. However, if you dig deeper, there are a lot of resources that help teachers build quality inquiry experiences for their kids. For example, under the Student Showcase, templates and graphic organizers help kids develop research questions using evidence from the site. In addition, printable worksheets can help kids take notes from research sources. Examples of student research presentations are available on the site and include murals, booklets, and posters. Journey North could be improved by adding a teacher dashboard with a way to track student sightings.
Mystery Class –- Track sunlight and follow clues to find the mystery locations on the globe.
Plants and the Seasons –- Plant a garden and gather data on the arrival of spring as part of an international experiment.
Sunlight and the Seasons –- Track changes in daylight around the world to figure out how sunlight drives seasonal change.