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21st Century Learner/Shift happens

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This lesson will introduce students to the idea of Citizen Science, as well as address the issues of the changing workforce; focusing on the shift in global super powers, and the nature of scientific research. Students will explore data analysis techniques and begin to think about how to draw conclusions from large data sets. And lastly, students will consider employment opportunities that would utilize these skills.

Materials, Resources and Preparation

LCD Projector Computer w/ internet access Smart board (Not essential) Computer lab/ laptop cart (computer for each student)

May want to download the "Shift Happens" slideshow in advance. http://www.teachertube.com/viewVideo.php?video_id=1785

Additional Notes

Additional Notes


This lesson will introduce students to the changing nature of science in the 21st century and illustrate how skills of data analysis, drawing conclusions, and making sense of large data sets apply to the changing job market. Students will learn the idea of ‘citizen science’ and how they can connect and contribute to the most current cutting edge research.

Duration of Lesson: 3-5 class periods (46min/each)


By the end of this activity, students should understand:

  • Students will learn what will may be expected of them by their employer , or college professors, no matter what occupation they may choose.
  • The value of employing the society to aid in our understanding of the world we live in.

Students will demonstrate their understanding by:

  • Contributing to a student generated list of possible jobs that could utilize the above mentioned skills and pros of citizen science.
  • Students will write a one page summary of how they feel globalization of information will impact their future.

STATE GOAL 13: Understand the relationships among science, technology and society in historical and contemporary contexts.

  • 13.A.4c Describe how scientific knowledge, explanations and technological designs may change with new information over time.

  • 13.A.4d Explain how peer review helps to assure the accurate use of data and improves the scientific process.

  • 13.B.4b Analyze a particular occupation to identify decisions that may be influenced by a knowledge of science.

Student Prerequisites
  • Students need an email address and must be familiar with using a computer.

  • Students should have a general knowledge of the scientific method.

  • General knowledge of the history of science.

Teacher Prerequisites
  • Scientific method and how theories have been developed in the past.

  • Should be familiar with the Zooniverse website.

Student Misconceptions
  • The U.S. is leading the world in scientific developments, or leading the world period

  • That an individual can not have an impact in cutting edge science or that they are so far removed from scientific research.


The hands on aspect of this lesson should appeal to special populations.
Support may be given to aid in the reflection paper. The lesson is rich with variation in instruction, which should touch all types of learners. Differentiation has been built into the lesson itself.



Watch Shift Happens: 67 slides (8 min) * The lesson will begin by watching the “shift happens” slide show which will introduce information the students may not be aware of and should raise questions about what this globalization of information means to their lives.

Discussion: “Our changing world” * The class will write down ideas and Questions that re brought up during the discussion. These lists will remain posted in the room through the duration of the lesson.


Introduce Citizen Science- Discuss the fact that scientists now are obtaining enormous data sets that are too large to be analyzed by individual scientists. Therefore computer programs have been developed to allow average everyday citizens who are interested to assist in the organization of this data. Discuss the potential impact that one individual could have (i.e. Hanny’s voorwerp or green knots)

Intro to Zooniverse * Galaxy Zoo * The milky Way Project * Create logins and join class groups Classify Galaxies * Student will spend some time classifying galaxies a minimum of 10 each. (These will be used later in time and will lead to a follow up lesson)

Main Lesson


Discussion: Students will talk in small groups about their experience will Galaxy Zoo and draw two group conclusions to share with the class. Intro to Interactive (will lead to LP #2) * Explore as a class the importance or value in their taking part in the classification of galaxies. Look at some sample graphs generated from class data and think and discuss how actual scientists may use this graph.


  • Students will generate a list of employment opportunities that utilize these data analysis skills.
  • Students will discuss the pros and cons of citizen science.
  • Students will revisit initial ideas and questions to see if any ideas have changed, any questions have been answered, or any new questions have emerged.


Student will write a one page reflection on how they feel the globalization of information will impact their lives.

This lesson does not have any resources.
This lesson is not part of any units.