Citizen Science



Citizen science is the opportunity for peoples in the community to contribute to important scientific research! Scientists are hard at work trying to understand the ocean, track species, or conserve endangered animals, but they need your help!


Find a citizen science project accessible to you and make a contribution.

The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup program is a great way to incorporate service learning into the classroom. As students collect their litter from the beach, river, lake, storm drain or field close to them, they collect data from the cleanup. This data can be inputted online and compared to the rest of the country, so we can see what types of litter are most prominent in Canada. We have all of the resources to get you started as well: visit here

At Ocean Wise, one of our initiatives is the Coastal Ocean Research Institute. CORI, among many things, operates the BC Cetaceans sighting network.

The B.C. Cetacean Sightings Network is a research and conservation program of the Vancouver Aquarium, in collaboration with Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Their goal is to increase public awareness of British Columbia’s whales, dolphins, porpoises and sea turtles, and the threats to their survival. You can help by reporting animals you see in B.C. waters and by learning more about how to minimize your impact to marine mammals in our Threats section.

You can find more citizen science projects online. **Please note that some citizen science projects require an email address to participate. ALWAYS check with an adult first before registering an email address. Here are some links to help you get started

National Geographic


Old Weather

Join a discussion about the benefits and challenges of Citizen Science projects. How do you feel you contributed to research through your efforts? How could you carry this effort into your own life, outside of the citizen science projects?

Pre Discussion Questions:

  • How do we know what we know about the ocean? 
  • Who is responsible for conducting science?
  • How are arts incorporated into sciences? can you think of any careers that combine them
  • Why do people think these disciplines are isolated from each other? 
  • How do your actions impact science? 
  • Can we contribute to science?

Post Discussion Questions

  • How is your contribution going to impact the study that you have participated in? 
  • Why are citizens scientists important?
  • What are the challenges of incorporating untrained persons in science experiments? 
  • Has this experience changed your view of science? Why or why not?
  • Where do you see combinations of arts and sciences in your everyday life?
  • Why is it important to have uniformed procedures in science? How does this impact the evidence? 
  • Were your findings valid? 
  • How can you improve your procedure for next time? 

Learning Objectives

To understand how everyone has an impact on science, not just the scientists.

***Citizen Science projects come from many different industries. There are many programs that examine historical records, newspaper articles, as well a data collection. This activity may be personalized to your students' interest, and in disciplines outsdie of science - if there is a citizen science project not listed here that interests you, please let us know in the discussion forum so we may share it with others. The purpose of the activity is to recognize the importnace of citizens in sicence, as well as the neccessary collaboration between cross-curricular disciplines in order to achieve discovery and change***

GRADE: Secondary


**Science Big Ideas will differ depending on the citizen science project chosen

** Social studies Big ideas will differ depending on the citizen science project chosen

Science for Citizens 11: Scientific processes and knowledge inform our decisions and impact our daily lives.

Science for Citizens 11: Scientific knowledge can be used to develop procedures, techniques, and technologies that have implications for places of employment

Science for Citizens 11: Scientific understanding enables humans to respond and adapt to changes locally and globally.

Social Studies 9:  The physical environment influences the nature of political, social, and economic change.

Social Studies 9:  Emerging ideas and ideologies profoundly influence societies and events.

Career Education 8/9:  The value of work in our lives, communities, and society can be viewed from diverse perspectives.

Career Education 8/9: Reflecting on our preferences and skills helps us identify the steps we need to take to achieve our career goals.



Questioning and predicting 

  •   Make observations aimed at identifying their own questions, including increasingly abstract ones, about the natural world
  • Demonstrate a sustained intellectual curiosity about a scientific topic or problem of personal, local, or global interest

Planning and conducting

  • Apply the concepts of accuracy and precision to experimental procedures and data

Processing and analyzing data and information

  • Seek and analyze patterns, trends, and connections in data, including describing relationships between variables, performing calculations, and identifying inconsistencies
  • Analyze cause-and-effect relationships
  • Experience and interpret the local environment


  • Evaluate their methods and experimental conditions, including identifying sources of error or uncertainty, confounding variables, and possible alternative explanations and conclusions
  • Describe specific ways to improve their investigation methods and the quality of their data
  • Demonstrate an awareness of assumptions, question information given, and identify bias in their own work and in primary and secondary sources
  • Connect scientific explorations to careers in science
  • Consider social, ethical, and environmental implications of the findings from their own and others’ investigations
  • Critically analyze the validity of information in primary and secondary sources and evaluate the approaches used to solve problems

Applying and innovating

  • Co-operatively design projects with local and/or global connections and applications
  • Contribute to finding solutions to problems at a local and/or global level through inquiry
  • Consider the role of scientists in innovation
  • Implement multiple strategies to solve problems in real-life, applied, and conceptual situations 


  • Communicate scientific ideas and information, and perhaps a suggested course of action, for a specific purpose and audience, constructing evidence-based arguments and using appropriate scientific language, conventions, and representations


  • Use Social Studies inquiry processes and skills to ask questions; gather, interpret, and analyze ideas and data; and communicate findings and decisions
  • Make reasoned ethical judgments about actions in the past and present, and assess appropriate ways to remember and respond


  • Question self and others about how individual purposes and passions can support the needs of the local and global community when considering career choices
  • Demonstrate respect, collaboration, and inclusivity in working with others to solve problems
  • Appreciate the value of a network of resources and mentors to assist with career exploration
  • Apply decision-making strategies to a life, work, or community problem and adjust the strategies to adapt to new situations
  • Apply a variety of research skills to expand their knowledge of diverse career possibilities and understand career clusters


Science content will differ depending on the citizen science project chosen. 

Socials content will differ depending on the citizen science project chosen

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