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Extension > Driven to Discover Citizen Science: Provoking authentic inquiry > Archives > Nuts and bolts Archive

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Our third conference call of the season brought up innovative ways to keep youth motivated. Deb Marcinski shared that she entices her group of boys to keep doing their best on their research by setting goals and then doing reward activities. One activity her boys were very interested in doing was to take a "creek walk". This involved wearing waders and moving through the creek to find interesting birds and other organisms. The goal of finishing work for a reward activity motivated the group to finish their research project ahead of schedule! What are ways that you motivate your group to do their best?

The discussion then led to the topic of mildly dangerous animals and plants that the youth may come across. One of the youth handled an IO moth caterpillar and got a small rash. It wasn't a big deal, but was surprising and a little uncomfortable. A quick online search suggested using scotch tape to remove the IO caterpillar spines from the skin and an ice pack to reduce swelling. Coming across these organisms provides a teachable moment about defense and survival strategies.

The next conference call is scheduled for Tues., Aug. 6 at 6:30 p.m. central time. We hope everyone is able to join the phone call for any amount of time on the 6th. Your ideas are important and valuable! Please share! The conference call number is (424) 203-8400 and the passcode is 645698#.

Lis Young-Isebrand

Driven to Discover project team member

Curriculum resources

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Do you need an extra copy of something from the curriculum? Maybe a digital version of the Mini-inquiry or blank copy of the scavenger hunt? Drop an e-mail to Andrea (astrauss@umn.edu) or Lis (young142@umn.edu) and we can quickly get you what you need.

D2D conference call summary

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Our second conference call of the season brought about a lively discussion of how things are going among clubs. One group is doing some dip-netting and some fishing, as voted on by the group. This is a bird group that can't resist checking the milkweed plants for monarchs! They're also hoping to do some wildlife tracking, too. However, these activities don't happen until the group has completed the data collection for their citizen science project. It sounds like a great way to keep everyone motivated and on task!

Another adult leader has found some really great resources on the University of Wisconsin Extension website with information about wetland monitoring. Here is the link if anyone is interested: http://wetlandmonitoring.uwex.edu/. Big Belching Bog, a children's book by Phyllis Root, was another resource mentioned. The adult leader used this book as a "warm-up" but it generated 30 minutes of discussion. Fortunately there was time for this unexpected discussion because this group meets from 9:00-2:00. She scheduled fewer, but longer meetings as compared to last year, and has found it to be effective. There's less rushing around and more time for observing, exploring, and discussion. Each group in this project is unique, and it isn't always possible, but it seems like longer meetings make for a more relaxing experience for both the youth and the adult leader.

The next conference call will take place on Tues., July 23 at 9:30 a.m. central time. We would love to hear how things are going in your club, and share ideas or brainstorm if you're having any issues or concerns. The call in number is 1-424-203-8400 and the passcode is 645698#.

Grant Bowers

Driven to Discover project team member

No Monarchs?

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no-monarchs200.jpgMLMP volunteers all over the U.S. and Canada are seeing very few, if any, monarch adults, eggs, or caterpillars this summer. We knew that the numbers would be low because the overwintering population last winter was so small, but it's very discouraging to monitor when you aren't finding monarchs.

We hope that you're still seeing interesting things in your milkweed patches, and that you realize how valuable your data are. We need to document this very small population so that we can understand how monarchs rebuild their numbers, and what we can do to support them. Please be sure to report your data!

Karen Oberhauser
University of Minnesota Monarch Lab

Photo: In a good monarch year, you'll see many fifth instar monarchs feeding in your milkweed patch. Photo by MLMP volunteer Denny Brooks.

Send curriculum ideas

Several club leaders have mentioned in passing that they've found or developed curriculum ideas and/or resources. We want to see these so we can possibly add them to future editions of the curriculum! If you haven't already sent them to us, please e-mail to Andrea at astrauss@umn.edu. Thank you!

Nuts and bolts

  • 30-minute (or more!) inquiry

    During our conference call on July 12, a few of you had the great suggestion that it would be useful to have the blank 30-minute Inquiry in electronic format so that you could easily distribute it to your group. Here it is. If you have access to the microsoft program Publisher, you should use the .pub file if you'd like to modify it for your purposes. Otherwise, you can use the .pdf file. Thanks for a good idea that will help other leaders!

    Mini inquiry Publisher file
    Mini inquiry PDF file

  • Bi-monthly phone calls
    Thanks to everyone who has joined one or more of our adult leader phone calls. We've learned a lot from you during these calls, and hope that they've been useful to you. So far, we've discussed these questions: "What are you doing to get your clubs started off on the right foot?", "What are you doing to train the youth on the citizen science protocols (and to ensure data quality)?", and "What experiences have helped your youth prepare for designing an investigation?" If there are topics you'd like to cover in a call, please let us know! Look for e-mails from Grant with upcoming call details.

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