Philly Scientists - Biodiversity Project
The Philly Scientists project is dedicated to developing innovative science curriculum for in-school and out-of-school programs for middle school students in the West Philadelphia Promise Zone. The website contains insight on curriculum development and an example lesson.
The Philly Scientists mobile app was modified from a safari animal tracking tool and walks students through identifying and cataloging neighborhood plants and animals. Local scientists visit the school sites to engage students in discussions about how scientists make good observations and aid in data collection of neighborhood biodiversity.
Students use their data and online resources to generate a solution to increase biodiversity in their neighborhood. The lessons culminate in students presenting their solutions to local peers, scientists, and city planners at a student summit. The data students collect are aggregated on the Philly Scientists website for large-scale data display and analysis. Digital badges for animal classification, data collection, and solution generation were designed for 4-6th graders’ engagement. Teacher badges support professional development, technology use, and NGSS curriculum completion. The session will describe the project including the app, curriculum, and, online resources; and conclude with implications for future lesson and technology design modifications.