Transforming science education through research-driven innovation


Why is citizen science important? Not only does it allow communities to play a role in advancing scientific knowledge, it empowers individuals of all ages to make meaningful observations and learn about their natural environments. BSCS Science Learning’s interactive platform called FieldScope is transforming the way educators, community members, and organizations engage in citizen science.

With FieldScope, teachers and students can participate in a variety of projects ranging from supporting amphibian conservation by reporting on calls of local frogs and toads to monitoring plants in their own school gardens. Participants conveniently upload to a shared project database the measurements, observations, and media they gather outdoors. Project organizers and community participants can then leverage sophisticated graphing and mapping visualization tools to gain broader perspectives on the environment.

FieldScope is freely available to educators, students, and community members who wish to participate in existing projects or launch new ones.

This resource is funded in part by Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DRL-1503005. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

My school has shut down due to the coronavirus. What do I do now?

BSCS Science Learning is here to help teachers during these unsure times. We have consolidated our online resources below to help you easily find programs, units, and more!

For Preservice Teacher Educators

Resources that offer interactive, online learning experiences for preservice science teachers.

  • BSCS Science Teaching Video Library – This library includes some of BSCS’s best K-12 videos available for free streaming. In this collection, you’ll find 19 videos featuring elementary physics and Earth science, along with transcripts, lesson plans, and other supporting documents. Learn more.
  • ViSTA – This online resource is designed for university preservice methods courses and inservice professional learning programs. ViSTA features five elementary science modules on Plants, Electricity, Water Cycle, Force and Motion, and Inquiry. The resource includes a range of K-8 classroom videos, assignments, and guided in-class exercises. This fall, ViSTA is free for instructors and students while supplies last. Learn more.
  • ViSTA Plus – This is a full-semester online course designed to enhance preservice elementary teachers’ science content knowledge and instructional practices. The course focuses on two content areas, food webs and water cycle, and provides access to videos, assignments, and assessments. This fall, ViSTA Plus is free for instructors and students while supplies last. Learn more.

For Secondary Science Teachers

Resources that offer interactive, online learning experiences for middle and high school students.

  • Do-At-Home Inquiry Activities with Data – This resource includes seven new citizen science lessons that middle and high school students can do independently, or as a class when technology allows. Each lesson includes do-at-home inquiry activities using data from citizen science projects hosted on FieldScope. Learn more.
  • Understanding Ebola – This is a free resource to educate the public about Ebola. The website includes an interactive model that allows teachers, students, and community members to actively explore the factors that influence a disease’s spread and mortality rate. Learn more.

Free Classroom Resources

Materials designed for the classroom that are available for free download.

  • A Medical Mystery – A free middle school science program that supports teachers in the effective instruction of an NGSS-aligned, EQuIP-reviewed body systems curriculum unit. Learn more.
  • OpenSciEd: Forces at a Distance – This free 8th grade unit launches with a slow motion video of a speaker vibrating. After developing a model of sound in the previous unit, students now have the chance to explore the cause of a speaker’s vibration as opposed to the effect. Learn more.
  • OpenSciEd: Matter Cycling & Photosynthesis – This free 7th grade unit on matter cycling and photosynthesis begins with students reflecting on what they ate for breakfast. Questions about where their food comes from lead them to consider which breakfast items might be from plants. Learn more.
  • OpenSciEd: Metabolic Reactions – In this free 7th grade unit, students build an understanding of how body systems interact to process food and use the energy stored within it. They work on the practices of developing models, interpreting data, and arguing from evidence. Learn more.
  • OpenSciEd: Soundwaves – In this free 8th grade unit, students investigate how sounds can cause objects at a distance to move. Motivated by a video of windows shaking when a truck outside plays loud music, students investigate what happens when an object makes sound. Learn more.
  • OpenSciEd: Thermal Energy – This free 6th grade unit on thermal energy engages students in a design challenge to create a cup that keeps drinks cold longer. They identify the features that make some cups better at keeping drinks cold, and they construct their own models to explain how those features prevent the transfer of thermal energy. Learn more.
  • OpenSciEd: Weather, Climate & Water Cycling – This free 6th grade unit is broken into four separate lesson sets. In the first two lesson sets, students explain small-scale storms. In the third and fourth lesson sets, students explain mesoscale weather systems and climate-level patterns of precipitation. Each of these two parts of the unit is grounded in a different anchoring phenomenon. Learn more.
  • Allergies and Scientific Inquiry – This is a free curriculum supplement developed to help middle school educators more effectively teach about food allergies. Lessons are aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards. Learn more.
  • Drug Abuse, Addiction, and the Adolescent Brain – This is a free curriculum unit that teaches middle school science students about drug abuse and addiction in relevant contexts. Learn more.

Citizen Science

Indoor and outdoor opportunities to engage in citizen science learning.

  • FieldScope – This is a free interactive platform where organizers of field studies can leverage sophisticated graphing and mapping visualization tools and resources to enhance their existing and future citizen science projects. Learn more.
  • Do-At-Home Inquiry Activities with Data – This resource includes seven new citizen science lessons that middle and high school students can do independently, or as a class when technology allows. Each lesson includes do-at-home inquiry activities using data from citizen science projects hosted on FieldScope. Learn more


Take care of yourself during these tough times and always.

  • Nature Connection – This is a resource to help students, parents, and teachers get away from technology and formal learning and spend some time connecting with nature. Learn why it’s important to spend time in nature and try out several individual practices and exercises. Access now.

Do you teach geography, environmental science, or similar classes?

Try these free resources in your classroom today!

OpenSciEd Middle School

Freely available units on plate tectonics, natural hazards, ecosystems and biodiversity, climate change, and more. Learn more.

Invitations to Inquiry with FieldScope

These 2-4 day lessons, using citizen and community science data sets and the FieldScope platform, aim to support middle and high school students in working with real-world data. Topics include invasive species, species range, light pollution, plastic pollution, plant phenology, water quality, and healthy streams and rivers. Learn more.

Other programs you may like:

FieldScope and Citizen Science

The FieldScope platform allows for interactive mapping and graphing citizen and community science data (upper elementary to high school). Learn more.

COVID-19 and Health Equity

These units focus on the social and scientific aspects of the COVID-19 virus (all levels). Learn more.

Engineering in the Garden

This is a garden-based engineering unit in which students design trellises to support pea plants. Students consider how to design and build trellises that will stay stable and support peas as they climb (elementary). Learn more.

Media & Health Literacy

The goal of these materials is to help students learn strategies that they can use to evaluate the health-related information that they see or hear in the media. Learn more.