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Paper: Culturally Responsive Citizen Science Curricula for ASTR 101
Volume: 533, ASP 2021: Sharing Best Practices – AstronomyTeaching and Public Engagement
Page: 139
Authors: O'Donnell, C.; Simon, M.; Smith, P.
Abstract: We are currently pilot testing a novel framework for culturally responsive citizen science-based curricular materials designed for general education STEM college courses, including ASTR 101. These courses are often the last exposure to science that future voters, policymakers, teachers, and others will have. However, they often fail to foster either self-efficacy or a sense of belonging in STEM. Our framework combines the benefits of culturally responsive education with citizen science experiences to address these issues. Culturally relevant and responsive education has been shown to increase student learning and engagement by centering students' strengths, promoting critical reflection, and empowering students to take ownership of their learning. Citizen science provides hands-on opportunities to the general public in the process of scientific discovery while making real and valued scientific contributions. After a short introduction highlighting the features of our framework, participants will engage with sample prompts and activities from a set of curricular materials designed for introductory astronomy and geosciences students based on Planet Four, a Zooniverse project about Mars' climate. The Zooniverse is the largest online citizen science platform; since launching in 2007, it has supported over 200 projects and connected researchers with over two million volunteers worldwide. Our curricular activities guide learners to contribute to ongoing research projects and engage in critical reflection about equity and inclusion in space exploration. Following our extensive pilot testing, these materials will be made publicly available. Our session's objectives include (1) giving participants experience with an example of how culturally responsive citizen science-based curricula can be applied in an ASTR 101 course and (2) guiding participants to reflect on how they may implement these strategies in their own contexts.
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