When I was in the classroom one of my goals–unattained but always guiding my work–was to have my students co-author a paper in a peer-reviewed journal. We worked on some projects, especially with the
that contributed in some way to work that led to papers but not in a way that warranted authorship. Nevertheless, this goal kept our eye on the prize of creating and doing authentic science for all students in my classroom. There are a number of examples of recent and authentic work done by citizen or amateur scientists. In fact, KABT and I sponsored an entire meeting featuring local amateur scientists who all had peer-reviewed articles to their credit. Well here’s another example, published in Science:
Note that the “amateur” scientists in this report collected long term data about the local fungi. Long term data collection is one of the areas that provide an exceptional opportunity for amateur or classroom exploration. While some have managed to do so, most of us “older” biology teachers wish we had collected and recorded accurate, longterm environmental data from our classroom experiences.