Tali Tal, Hila Shefet Barkae, Nirit Lavie Alon

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This essay traces the origins of citizen science, its different models and various gaps that exist between formal education, informal education, the outdoors, and the community. Within this context, the essay presents the development and learning outcomes of the Iris Project, showing how a school-based citizen science project can help bridge these gaps. The project focused the inquiry work on 25 ninth-grade grade science students, led by their teacher and assisted by research scientists and community organizations. Data on student participation and learning were collected from activity observations, pre/post surveys, and written reflections. The main characteristics of the project that emerged were collaboration, hands-on fieldwork, the use of a variety of scientific practices, open-ended inquiry and genuine scientific work, and student-initiated conservation actions that enhanced the students’ agency. The project progressed from a pre-planned, pre-structured, school-like inquiry project, to the beginning of an authentic investigation about a scientific question about fertilization in an endangered species, but ended in learning about and investigating the expansion of an industrial park into an open space, where a unique habitat of irises existed. Although the students lost the battle for protecting the irises in their natural habitat, they were able to relocate them to a nearby nature reserve. The project illustrates the category of “transition-driven and civic science” because it addresses the “wicked problem” of conservation vs. development.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAmplifying Informal Science Learning
Subtitle of host publicationRethinking Research, Design, and Engagement
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781000901771
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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