Author: Daniela Leone
Resources and tools
The learning goals were to classify animals and represent data with charts, get informed about environmental research projects. The age of students: 11-12 years old.
Engaging as many students as possible is more challenging in remote activities. Collaboration in groups is also weaker due to distance, different devices and time organization. The goal of this activity was to encourage everyone to give their contribution starting from a simple task.
We started presenting the Zooniverse website, inviting volunteers to help a research project by processing part of the data. We chose the Wild Mont-Blanc program, that studies animals’ distribution by analyzing the images made by a camera trap. Pictures can be checked in a simple way by users, following a guide to recognize the species and provide some related details. For this trial, students did not need to register on the website, but if they got interested, they could create an account later on and keep collaborating to research projects.
The first task given to students was to browse a number of pictures and recognize the animals using the guide; they had to indicate their observations in a Google Sheet file by adding the number of animals found for each species.
In the next web meeting, all data collected by students were grouped and presented to the class in order to discuss the second task: classifying the found animals by species, according to systematic taxonomy. Students also prepared graphs with the number of animals for each species.
For the classification the class was split into 4 groups, sharing 4 different Google Jamboard files. Each group had to share the animal species found in the previous search. All students had instructions on how to classify the animals using the Wikispecies website.
This activity has encouraged cooperation among students. The first task was interesting and could involve all the students, since they did not need previous knowledge, and all their data was needed for the second task with the groups. In the second task, they could easily collaborate editing files using Google Jamboard from any device: laptop, tablet or smartphone.
Here are some examples of the files completed by the students in groups.