Citizen Scientists: Researchers in the Wild

This morning someone shared an article about kids as citizen scientist researchers–observing and documenting ladybugs in their place, and learning about research and data in the process. I love engaging students in real work as part of the learning process…and teaching them that all of us, as part of our daily lives, can and should continue to learn every day.

On our rain hike in Yellowstone the other day I got to look closely at the environment around me, noticing details and appreciating the beauty.  Our destination was this natural bridge, a work of nature that I’m sure informed the first people who saw it.

natural bridge

And as we walked away from the bridge back toward the car, I noticed bubbles in the puddles as we passed.  I was sure I was noticing something in the bubbles…and stopped to watch.  It seemed that with the rain drops, a bubble would form with a white insect in it–magnifying the image of the bug–and then pop after it floated a ways.

insect drops

I had to look closer…what were these creatures?  And why do they form these bubbles?  Do they only come out in the rain?  Are they native to this forested area in Yellowstone?

insect bubble

I haven’t yet found out what these insects (I think they are insects) are…but I am curious to know more about them.  I’m hoping that someone will know something more and lead me to some research to answer my questions.  Here is a close up view…

insect bubble close up

There are so many interesting things to learn about when you take the time to notice.  As I start to prepare for the beginning of school, I’m thinking about ways to support and encourage my students to pay attention the world around them and then to document and further research the questions that interest them.  I’ll also be on the lookout for citizen scientist projects in my area (and would love any information you might have)…what a great way to engage students as researchers!

And if you happen to know anything about these bugs in the bubbles…I’d love some leads!

 

 

One thought on “Citizen Scientists: Researchers in the Wild

  1. margaretsmn

    Way off in the far recesses in my brain I think there is something about this insect, but I can’t retrieve it now. I have a student who will remember and will see him today at orientation. Now just to remember to ask!
    I bought the Private Eye kit with jeweler loops for my students to observe things close up in nature. We only used them once on a field trip, but the kids thought they were cool.

    Reply

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