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Extension > Driven to Discover Citizen Science > August 2012

Monday, August 27, 2012

Driven to Discover: Year three reflection

Driven-to-Discover-youth-participant.jpgHere on the St. Paul campus, we see the first days of the state fair in full swing and we're finding very few monarch eggs and larvae on our milkweed plants. Summer must be coming to a close and this means that many of you have wrapped up your work with research teams in the Driven to Discover project. We do know that a few teams are going to continue to meet and we hope all of you are thinking about participating in whatever way possible in the December Insect Fair. We can't wait to hear about your findings!

It's been fun to watch monarch data come into our website from D2D teams, and hear from you as you and your teams learned great things. We know that your data are valuable to people interested in monarch and bird population dynamics, and hope that the process of data collection and research were valuable to you as well!

The Driven to Discover project has evolved in great ways this year. We had a perfect combination of new and old teams, and we really appreciate the experience, dedication to supporting youth research, and excitement about monarchs and birds that you all bring to the project. While most teams had less input from our staff scientists, you did a great job running the research teams on your own. For the few groups that did have regular visits from a staff scientist, we thank you for your willingness to let us share the experience in a way that let us see the nitty-gritty details of what did and didn't work with the curriculum.

Karen Oberhauser

University of Minnesota Monarch Lab

Evaluation tips: Closing thoughts and important next steps

  • Adult leader planning and reporting forms

    Thank you so much for all your contributions to the evaluation process so far. We realize that programs like this require a little more effort for evaluation purposes and we really appreciate your cooperation. We are working on ways to make the adult leader planning and reporting form a little easier next year and would like to talk to some of the adult leaders about my ideas to get their feedback. If you would like to be contacted to offer your views, please email Kim at She will then contact you directly to discuss your experience and views with the form.

  • Parent's comments and feedback link

    Adult Leaders,

    I hope you have enjoyed your Driven to Discover program this summer. We often get random notes from parents about how the program has impacted their youth. We thought we would try being a little more proactive this year in getting feedback. We have created a short form that parents can access through a link to provide comments or stories about what their youth did within or outside the program. You can email them the link along with the text so they can provide us with any feedback about the program. Feel free to check the link out yourself before sending it. While sending the link is not mandatory, we hope that you will participate in the process. Thank you!

    The link below allows you to share anything you wish regarding the Driven to Discover program's impact on your youth or other feedback about the program. We encourage you to share your experiences or stories of how the Driven to Discover program has affected your youth's interest in studying the natural world.

    There is a checkbox at the end of the form for you to choose how confidential you wish to keep your information.

    Thank you! We appreciate your help keeping track of the larger impacts of Driven to Discover!

Send curriculum ideas

Several club leaders have mentioned in passing that they've found or developed curriculum ideas and/or resources. We want to see these so we can possibly add them to future editions of the curriculum! If you haven't already sent them to us, please e-mail to Andrea at Thank you!

Upcoming events

  • Mark your calendar: Fall conference call

    Let's have one more conference call later this fall to check in about plans for the Insect Fair. Mark your calendar for Oct. 25 at 6 p.m. Call in details will be the same as always: Dial 424-203-8075, access code 795878#. Talk to you then!

    Read the summary of our Aug. 21 conference call here.
  • Driven to Discover Research Summit: Dec. 7 - 8, 2012

    The 2012 Discover to Discover Research Summit will overlap with our annual Ecology/Insect Fair on Dec. 8, 2012. We will have a special Driven to Discover event on Dec. 7; this will start at approximately 5:00 p.m. and will include a dinner and a program that will include activities appropriate for the ages of all of your youth. We will put teams from outside the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro-area up in a local hotel, and will cover meals starting with Friday supper and ending with Saturday lunch. We realize that travel will be complicated for teams that are coming from a long way; we would love to have a research report from your teams as a Powerpoint, movie, or written report if you can't travel. However, we can pay airfare for up to four people from each of our Ohio and Virginia teams, and will provide reimbursement for gas for our Wisconsin and outstate Minnesota teams; we do hope that you can come to this event, and perhaps explore the Twin Cities with your research teams! If it is hard to get students out of school and leaders would like to come without youth, that is fine too.

    We are looking at possible venues for the dinner and program Friday night, and hope to use a local nature center so that we can do at least some outdoor activities (we Minnesotans love our winters).

    The Fair will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. At the Fair, your team will have an opportunity to share their findings with scientists and their peers, and attend fun, science-related activities. Again, these activities will provide options for all ages.

    You will receive a lot more information about the Research Summit. For now, you should save the dates, and communicate to parents that the event is taking place on the U of M campus and a nearby nature center. We'll be asking for RSVPs soon!

Research team updates

This space is FOR YOU! We will publish exciting news from your research team here. Send any stories or pictures you'd like published to Grant at

Monday, August 13, 2012

Wrap up resources

Driven-to-Discover-youth-pic.jpgHi everyone! In finishing up my monarch club a few weeks ago, I developed a few reflection resources you might find useful.

Doing science is like...

I cut these pages up so one illustration is on each playing card. The kids each get one card, and are instructed to explain how doing science is like the picture that's on their card. For example, one said "Doing science is like a puzzle piece because when you learn new things everything else makes sense when you see them all together."

Scavenger hunts

I had intended to use this outdoor exploration game at my first club meeting but we ran out of time. Using it as a fun reward after our paperwork at the last meeting turned out to be a really great synthesis of all we learned and a chance for the young scientists to apply their new knowledge. There is a monarch version and a bird version.

Also, don't forget to have the kids complete the "Sum It Up" pages at the very end of their Investigator's Field Journals! (I instructed the kids who finished the post-assessment early to work on the Sum It Up pages while waiting for others to complete their assessments.)

Andrea Lorek Strauss

Extension educator, Environmental science education
University of Minnesota Extension, Rochester, Minnesota

Evaluation tips

Attendance forms

After your final meeting, please remember to send attendance forms in with your post-assessments to Siri (contact info below).

Phone: 612-624-7999
Address: Attn: Siri Scott
Center for Youth Development
1420 Eckles Avenue, Suite 475
St. Paul, MN 55108

Upcoming events

Driven to Discover adult leader/project team conference call

Our next Driven to Discover Citizen Science conference call will take place on Tues., Aug. 21 at 2:00 p.m. central time. Join the call by dialing 1-424-203-8075 and entering the passcode 795878#. During this call we'll talk about preparing kids and projects for the Insect Fair. We'll also be open to any questions or ideas you are thinking about. The entire summer schedule of conference calls is listed on the last page in the "Management" section of your binders.

Research team updates

This space is FOR YOU! We will publish exciting news from your research team here. Send any stories or pictures you'd like published to Grant at

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