Public Lab Wiki documentation


7 | 57 | | #5957


On this page you will find programming, activities, and resources related to formal and informal education. From here, you can:
  • Join the conversation
  • Learn how to integrate community science practices into your classroom
  • Browse community science lesson plans from the Public Lab team
  • Find activities for your classroom from the community
  • Ask a question, answer a question, or follow future questions on education

  • What Does Community Science Look Like in Your Classroom?

    Public Lab defines community science as community-led scientific exploration and investigation to address community-defined questions, allowing for engagement in the entirety of the scientific process. Unlike traditional citizen science, Public Lab’s approach emphasizes local and traditional knowledge, community ownership of research, and working together in scalable networks to encourage collaborative learning and civic engagement.


    Classroom community science projects are youth-led with an approach that emphasizes participant and community ownership of research, from question identification through analysis, and working together to encourage collaborative learning and civic engagement. After identifying their interests, students conduct research as they join the efforts of people and organizations already working on these issues and take the lead in aspects of study design, data collection, and analysis. The data collected from these student-designed projects supports community action and civic engagement.

    Read more about integrating community science methodologies into your classroom here.

    How Can You Get Involved?

    We're looking to build a strong community of practice where educators of all experiences can share resources, knowledge, and lend a hand. Here are some ways that you can help build Public Lab's educational community

    Join the Conversation

    Get notified about new #education posts by subscribing to related tags. Click the button below, and subscribe to tags like "education", "classroom", "lesson", as well as other topics that you're interested in.


    Try These Lessons in Your Classroom and Share Your Experience

    After using one of these activities in person, let us know how it goes in the comments. We appreciate your feedback and encourage you to share how you modify the lesson to better fit your classroom.

    • Classroom Community Science: An adaptable curricula for bringing student-led environmental projects into your classroom.
    • Messages from the Mississippi: A 6-part series investigating microplastics in local bodies of water culminating in student artwork and advocacy.
    • Wetlands Remote Sensing & Management: Hands on lesson plans to introduce students in grades 8-12 to oil spill cleanup, monitoring wetlands, and managing natural resources.
    • Air Quality Class: An 8-week program in which students work with air quality sensors to monitor indoor air pollutants. Participants catalog and analyze the environmental air pollutant hazards that affect neighborhood homes and will share their findings with other community members


    Here are some different activities particularly suited for use in the classroom:

    Purpose Category Status Author Time Difficulty Replications
    Flame testing metal salts observe - @kgradow1 3h medium 0 replications: Try it »
    Assembling the Public Lab Lego Spectrometer - - @warren - - 1 replications: Try it »
    DIY Science Lesson with the Coqui - - @pdhixenbaugh - - 0 replications: Try it »
    Tracking Plant Health Using Visible and Infrared Light -- Initial Experiences at an Arts High School - - @Travis - - 0 replications: Try it »
    Building miniature kites at a family science night build - @SuziT9 - - 0 replications: Try it »
    Prototyping a kite for kids build - @oscarbrett 3h easy 0 replications: Try it »
    Using the Spectroscope for Analysis of Concentration (Beer's Law) test-limits - @straylight 3h medium 0 replications: Try it »
    Scan and compare different gases (in discharge tubes, like neon) using a DIY spectrometer - - @warren - - 27 replications: Try it »
    How to measure the pH of a solution with a purple cabbage? Its relation to water quality - - @alejobonifacio - - 0 replications: Try it »
    Bean Cam observe - @cfastie 1d medium 0 replications: Try it »
    Lycopene - - @cfastie - - 0 replications: Try it »
    Aerial Mapping Projects in Environmental Science at The Thacher School - - @thacherenvisci - - 0 replications: Try it »
    Water Quality Testing At Turkey Creek - - @Delaney - - 0 replications: Try it »
    Hand-crank powered flashlights - - @pazb - - 0 replications: Try it »
    Spectrometer with Test Tube Holder (Grade 7 Science Fair) - - @RoRo - - 0 replications: Try it »
    Building Miniature Kites - - @mimiss - - 0 replications: Try it »
    Workshop VIII: What will we do to conduct our study? - - @mimiss - - 0 replications: Try it »
    See the Fraunhofer absorption lines in sunlight verify draft @warren 1h easy 4 replications: Try it »
    Introduction to Spectrometry (& Building a Spectrometer!) Lesson - - @mimiss - - 0 replications: Try it »
    How do communities respond to environmental problems? (Lesson Plan) - - @mimiss - - 0 replications: Try it »
    Workshop III: How Have Other Communities Tackled This Problem? - - @mimiss - - 0 replications: Try it »
    Workshop V: How do we study an environmental issue? - - @mimiss - - 0 replications: Try it »
    Workshop VII: How will we study our environmental problem? - - @mimiss - - 0 replications: Try it »
    Creating a Box Plot to Identify Potential Outliers Using CODAP - - @mimiss - - 0 replications: Try it »
    Workshop XI: How can we affect change? - - @mimiss - - 0 replications: Try it »
    Choosing an Environmental Monitoring Method - - @stevie - - 0 replications: Try it »
    BabyLegs in the classroom - - @maxliboiron - - 0 replications: Try it »
    Workshop II: What Factors Influence Our Environmental Problem? - - @mimiss - - 0 replications: Try it »
    Testing Different Types of Water for Microplastics - - @badgirlsclub - - 0 replications: Try it »
    Workshop IV: What do we know, and what do we want to learn? - - @mimiss - - 0 replications: Try it »
    Testing The PH of Soil using different liquids - - @Nature_babes - - 0 replications: Try it »
    Workshop VI: How can an environmental study effect change? - - @mimiss - - 0 replications: Try it »

    Activities should include a materials list, costs and a step-by-step guide to construction with photos. Learn what makes a good activity here.



    To learn more about the methods, successes, and challenges in developing these programs, check out our reports and evaluations from these funded projects:

    2021 National Academy of Sciences Project Evaluation: Community Science in the Classroom

    2022 EPA Impact Report: Messages from the Mississippi

    2022 EPA Environmental Education Evaluation: Messages from the Mississippi

    For more information on funding resources for educators, click here