The Schoolyard BioBlitz is a framework for place-based learning that engages students in hands-on, collaborative inquiry which supports the Michigan science standards. Developed in partnership with both K-12 teacher and informal educators, this resource is meant to be used as building block for teachers to create a memorable educational experience for their students. While focused primarily on science standards, many activities incorporate cross-curricular learning.
A typical Schoolyard BioBlitz involves one or two lessons of preparation: developing observation skills and expanding their knowledge of ecosystems and biodiversity. The actual "BioBlitz" is usually a one day event which can be executed in partnership with local environmental and conservation experts.
During a BioBlitz, citizen scientists (aka students) work together within a particular geographic area to inventory as many species as they can. This can be done with pencil and paper, maps, journals or using the iNaturalist app. The iNaturalist app allows students to map, compare and share data. This app also draws on the resources of the naturalist community to help students classify observations. Students using the app are able to have their work contribute to that of "real" scientists who use this data to study a variety of topics on biodiversity and land use. Many of these scientist are happy to share their progress and results with students throughout the year.
Following the one-day event, there are several follow-up options which give the Bio-Blitz a meaningful place within the traditional curriculum. These activities can, and should, be adapted to meet the interests and academics of a variety of ages and abilities. Teachers and students use these activities as building blocks for students to develop deeper learning projects which can then be submitted to the annual student learning competition at each of our hub BioBlitz events.
Place-based learning, such as a school yard BioBlitz, serves to equip students in understanding how humans affect and are affected by the natural environment. By using multiple disciplines as well as hands on learning students are offered an adaptable and flexible opportunity to meet numerous standards in one unified activity. This often results in mutually beneficial school-community partnerships which deliver meaningful benefits to students, schools, and the community.
Additional support can be provided including teacher training, iNaturalist technical support, participation certificates, and supplemental activities. We hope you will consider answering the call to explore nature with us! For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org