Driven to Discover: Enabling Youth Inquiry Through Citizen Science is a National Science Foundation funded program that involves middle school youth in asking scientific questions, designing and conducting their own research, and improving their understanding of science through participation in citizen science.
Today, the 2011 Annual Research Summit started with loads of science fun for participant youth. At the end of the research season, we invite all participating youth and their adult leaders to an overnight summit. On the first evening, they learn, teach and enjoy new science activities with their fellow youth, leaders, and professional University of Minnesota Scientists. Youth can choose from exploring the outdoors on a night hike, dissecting owl pellets, hanging camera traps, designing/testing roller-coaster-like tracks for ball bearings. Throughout the evening, activities engage youth in conversing and growing comfortable, collegial with science professionals and unfamiliar youth.
On day 2, the participant youth will dine with scientists, and explore the outdoors in more depth. They will also have a chance to present poster summaries of their summer inquiry projects for a group of scientists, their adult leaders and other natural resource volunteers. For many of these youth, this presentation is a practice run for their science fair or similar project later in the year.
Click below to watch a short video of the first evening at the Summit. Visit http://www.extension.umn.edu/citizenscience/ to learn more about Driven to Discover: Enabling Youth Inquiry Through Citizen Science.