Meanings teachers make of teaching science outdoors as they EXPLORE citizen science

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Aerin Workman Benavides (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Catherine Matthews

Abstract: This descriptive case study examined the meanings public elementary school teachers (N = 13) made of learning to enact citizen science projects in their schoolyards in partnership with a local Arboretum. Utilizing Engeström’s (2001) framework of cultural-historical activity theory (CHAT), the Arboretum’s outreach program for area Title 1 schools was viewed as an activity system composed of and acting in partnership with the teachers. The major finding was that teachers designed and mastered new ways of teaching (expansive learning) and transformed their citizen science activity to facilitate student engagement and learning. I highlight four important themes in teachers’ expansive learning: (a) discussion, (b) inclusion, (c) integration, and (d) collaboration. Teacher learning communities formed when colleagues shared responsibilities, formed mentor/mentee relationships, and included student teachers and interns in the activity. This program could serve as a model for elementary school citizen science education, as well as a model for professional development for teachers to learn to teach science and Environmental Education outdoors.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2016
Citizen science, Elementary education, Environmental Education, Outdoor learning, Outdoors, Science education
Environmental sciences $x Study and teaching (Elementary)
Science $x Study and teaching (Elementary)
Science $x Citizen participation
Environmental education
Outdoor education

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