Tracking Climate in Your Backyard sought to engage youth in real science through the collection, recording, and understanding of precipitation data in the forms of rain, hail, and snow. The project is completed, but educational materials are still available on our website.
The purpose of this project was to encourage youth, specifically ages 8-12, to better understand the scientific process by engaging them in the collection of meaningful meteorological data in their community. In this way, youth developed an understanding of scientific methods and standardization, and by recording and sharing their data through a citizen science project, they recognized the importance of accurate data collection. The citizen science portion of the project, the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS), collects precipitation data for scientific analysis and for use by the National Weather Service, the USDA, emergency managers, insurance adjusters, teachers and students, engineers, and others. We believe that when youth know they are contributing data to real, scientific cause, their engagement levels rise.
This National Science Foundation-funded project was a collaboration between the Paleontological Research Institution, which has experience in professional development and informal education, New York State 4-H, which provides an excellent outreach base and fosters hands-on, experiential learning for youth, and the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network, which runs a citizen science project to record precipitation measurements in an online database.