Area Students Become Citizen Scientists

Students help in collegiate camera-trap study
Science 1029385 1280

Children all over the world learn about science by collecting data and participating in classroom experiments. But what if the data they collect can also be used to help scientists? Researchers at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and North Carolina State University have launched a large-scale, camera-trap study called eMammal, and recently enlisted the help of K-12 students from 28 schools and four countries: the U.S., India, Mexico and Kenya. 

Over the past four years, teachers helped students as young as third-graders set up motion-activated cameras on or near their school grounds to capture images of various animals, upload resulting photos into the eMammal software, and identify the species that were photographed. Scientists found that children performed as well as adult citizen scientists in setting up and monitoring camera traps. 

Teachers reported that eMammal motivated their students and provoked their curiosity, and that the students were more willing to participate in the eMammal project than other classroom activities. Teachers observed that the project gave classroom activities meaning and purpose, resulting in higher student engagement. Learn more at emammal.si.edu/ncsu.

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