Common Sense Review
Updated May 2013

Journey North

Long-standing citizen science site continues to inspire learners
Visit Website
Common Sense Rating 4
  • To report a sighting, users fill out a form online with the date, latitude, longitude, and an image of the observation.
  • Citizen scientists upload their sightings with Longitude and Latitude so they can be compiled into one interactive map.
  • Teaching suggestions include unit essential questions, activity ideas, and a description of related resources on the site.
  • Journey North has live Web Cams of Gray Seals, Osprey, Puffins, Polar Bears, Common Terns, and Brown Bears.
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.
Emily Pohlonski
Common Sense Reviewer
Classroom teacher
Common Sense Rating 4
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 3

Kids will enjoy contributing to real-world research. Despite the array of wonderful resources, poor site design makes navigation challenging for kids.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 5

This jam-packed resource offers plenty of ways for kids to expand their understanding of seasonal change and design their own research. 

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 3

Adults can find tons of extension activities on the teacher page. It would be great if the site had accessibility features such as materials in languages besides English and more audio and video support.  

About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
How Can Teachers Use It?

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.

Read More Read Less
What's It Like?

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.

Read More Read Less
Is It Good For Learning?

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.

Standout Activities:
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.

Read More Read Less

See how teachers are using Journey North

Teacher Reviews

Write Your Own Review

Lesson Plans