Observation is the first step towards scientific discovery. With the WildLab iPhone application and associated inquiry-based curriculum, students learn the basics of scientific fieldwork, while using other STEM-related skills. Through observations, questions, and analysis, students come to know the important role they can play in gathering data about birds and their habitat, using mobile technology as a scientific tool. Most importantly, they experience the thrill of scientific discovery!
Over the course of five sessions, students become field scientists, precisely recording their wildlife observations on an iPhone. The WildLabs process-of-elimination method helps students identify bird species. While in the field, students learn about habitat, species identification, and ecological issues that effect the environment both they and the birds share.
Back in the classroom, students and teachers access their sightings from the Web. Students reflect on what they saw, ask questions, and develop their own lines of inquiry. Each sighting contains data on weather, distance, altitude, and time that can be used in the context of the curriculum and analyzed by students. Students submit their sightings to Cornells eBird database for use in real scientific studies. When available, students talk to scientists about what they discovered. Students and facilitators address both the challenges facing species, potential solutions, and ways they can help. Classrooms may also choose to share their data with other classrooms to compare where and when species appear.
For more information on the curriculum, contact us! We look forward to hearing from you.