Citizen Science Action Project Engaged Four Schools' Fifth Graders

December 18, 2015



On December 22, students and adults will gather for a symposium at the Greenstar Space culminating this fall’s Citizen Science Action Project (CSAP). CSAP involved over 175 Ithaca City School District fifth-grade students in nine classrooms at four schools taking action on an issue that’s been plaguing each of their local communities – invasive species.

The project, one year in the making, is a four-month learning expedition co-created by nine teachers. Through generous support from ICSD and IPEI’s Connecting Classrooms Grant, each teacher committed over 70 hours of planning time into the expedition.

Learning expeditions like the Citizen Science Action Project (CSAP) represent a bold commitment by ICSD and IPEI to support innovative and site-specific education.

ICSD 5th graders work on CSAP about two hours each day, learning much of their life science content and fall English Language Arts skills through the expedition.

In addition, students are learning how to communicate their thinking with peers across different classrooms through their new Chromebooks. CSAP consists of three case studies and a culminating project.

In Case Study #1 (September) students built background knowledge of food webs and ecosystem.

In Case Study #2 (October) students have been investigating an ecosystem at a local field site, examining the interactions of organisms there. From this, students are discovering an invasive species at their field site.

In Case Study #3 (November) students will research their invasive species, and will investigate community approaches to managing their invasive species.

For their culminating project, students will argue an approach to managing the species at a poster presentation session. “In our seven weeks of CSAP, we’ve seen students living the mission statement – engaged, invested in their education, and empowered, all through thinking critically about issues in their own backyards,” said Brian Goodman, 5th Grade Teacher, Enfield Elementary.

The field sites included Cascadilla Gorge, Caroline Wilderness Trail, Lower Treman State Park,Buttermilk Falls, and the four CSAP Schools: Beverly J. Martin, Caroline, Enfield, South Hill!

The Ithaca Times published this preview article:

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