Common Sense


Best Citizen Science Apps and Sites for Students

Students can make thousands of fascinating observations just by roaming around in nature or doing experiments with everyday items. Citizen science involves collecting that data and analyzing it as part of a collaborative project. Some of the tools on this list get students observing the behavior of animals on a webcam, listening to and analyzing the sounds of whales, watching the stars in the sky, and identifying plant or animal species. Often students are given the chance to work with -- or at least give the data to -- real-life scientists. These websites and apps seed ideas for fun, safe experiments and encourage students to actually try them to benefit the greater good.

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California Academy of Sciences

Expert research and diverse, rich lessons inspire future scientists

Bottom line: A perfect companion to (or substitute for) the Academy, this site delivers highly interactive resources and research with a lot of depth.

Journey North

Long-standing citizen science site continues to inspire learners

Bottom line: Extensive resources can help kids collect, share, and analyze evidence about seasonal change.

Project Squirrel

Solid citizen-science site with good extension projects

Bottom line: This online, collaborative science project is a solid resource for making data collection relevant to kids.


Real research powered by volunteers makes classroom content relevant

Bottom line: Engage in meaningful, relevant research with citizen scientists from around the world.

PlantSnap Plant Identification

Snap pics to (maybe) identify flowers and plants

Bottom line: If teachers help students learn how to evaluate the plant matches provided, this could be an excellent nature reference source.

Project Noah

Engaging online community for relevant, hands-on science fieldwork

Bottom line: Project Noah is a free and easy way to take part in biodiversity research with the support of a knowledgeable and global community.

Project Noah

Contribute kid research to stellar crowdsourced field guide

Bottom line: An outstanding resource that makes science relevant with lots of classroom potential.

Galaxy Zoo

Citizen science site involves, inspires budding astronomers

Bottom line: Classifying, comparing, and analyzing galactic data with this great, free tool can be influential to kids' involvement with science.


Global citizen-science community for real-world research

Bottom line: Teens can do hands-on nature research, but in a limited way.

Mars Student Imaging Project

Take science research out of this world with NASA's Mars project

Bottom line: One of the best authentic inquiry space experiences out there: Use this tool to grow the next generation of researchers in your classroom.

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