Young Researchers Collaborative
Supporting Inquiry-Based Science in the Classroom
Young Researchers Collaborative is a nine-month program that takes place during the school year to support educators in making inquiry-based science a key component of classroom curriculum. The program focuses on animal behavior and ecology studies. It is conducted both at schools and on zoo grounds in an effort to teach students research skills. These include making observations, collecting and analyzing data, drawing conclusions and communicating results. Teachers may participate in the program with up to five class sections of middle-school students.
We’re Looking for Partners!
The application period for the 2013-2014 school year has passed. Applications for the 2014-2015 school year will become available in May 2014.
- Support teachers in conducting inquiry-based science activities aligned with classroom curriculum
- Support teachers in making connections between curriculum and research at Lincoln Park Zoo
- Support students in the development of independent research skills
- Provide students with inquiry-based, data collection experiences aligned with the work of zoo researchers
Young Researchers Collaborative consists of five components, resulting in teachers leading their students through the process of an independent research project focused on animal behavior.
Component 1: Educator Professional Development
Conducted at Lincoln Park Zoo, teachers participate in two workshops to prepare them for helping students conduct research.
Component 2: School Site Visits
A zoo educator visits each class three times to work with students.
Component 3: Zoo Field Trips
All students visit the zoo twice in order to conduct behavior research on an animal of their choice or to conduct an ecological survey of the area near the zoo’s Nature Boardwalk.
Component 4: Ongoing Student Research
Primarily conducted at school, all students complete a research project focusing on the behavior or ecology of local wildlife.
Component 5: Science Celebration
The culminating event, Science Celebration is held at Lincoln Park Zoo and is a showcase for projects completed by students.
We’ve learned that technology is really the way to engage students, who can use our iPads while collecting data at the zoo. The zoo offers two specially created iPad applications that can be used by students to collect data on animals during zoo field trips, classroom visits and ongoing research at school. This technology allows students to share their work with peers and compare collected data in ways similar to those of professional field researchers.
Creating Young Researchers iPad App
Zoo educators created the Creating Young Researchers iPad application to facilitate ecological data collection and analysis. Available for free, the app provides animal descriptions and audio samples of vocalizations to help students identify species throughout the Chicago area. When data collection is finished, the app produces a summary that can be sent to a provided email for use in the classroom or at home. The app’s design was based on tools and technology used by researchers at Lincoln Park Zoo.
Observe to Learn iPad App
Students also use the zoo’s Observe to Learn iPad application for behavioral data collection and analysis. Learn more about this app developed by the zoo’s Hurvis Center for Learning Innovation and Collaboration.
For more information on the Young Researchers Collaborative, contact us at 312-742-7806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This program is made possible through the generous support of Polk Bros. Foundation and Bank of America Foundation.