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National Eclipse Weather Experiment use and evaluation of a citizen science tool for schools outreach

Portas, A. M., Barnard, L., Scott, C. and Harrison, R. G. (2016) National Eclipse Weather Experiment use and evaluation of a citizen science tool for schools outreach. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 374 (2077). 20150223. ISSN 1364-503X (Themed issue: Atmospheric effects of solar eclipses stimulated by the 2015 UK eclipse)

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1098/rsta.2015.0223

Abstract/Summary

The National Eclipse Weather Experiment (NEWEx) was a citizen science project for atmospheric data collection from the partial solar eclipse of 20th March 2015. Its role as a tool for schools’ outreach is discussed here, in seeking to bridge the gap between self-identification with the role of a scientist and engagement with science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects. (The science data generated has had other uses beyond this, explored elsewhere.) We describe the design of webforms for weather data collection, and the use of several external partners for the dissemination of the project nationwide. We estimate that up to 3500 pupils and teachers took part in this experiment, through the 127 schools’ postcodes identified in the data submission. Further analysis revealed that 43.3% of the schools were primary schools and 35.4% secondary. 96.3% of participants reported themselves as “captivated” or “inspired” by NEWEx. We also found that 60% of schools who took part in the experiment lie within the highest quintiles of engagement with higher education, which emphasises the need for the scientific community to be creative when using citizen science to target minority audiences.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:66204
Additional Information:Theme issue ‘Atmospheric effects of solar eclipses stimulated by the 2015 UK eclipse’ compiled and edited by R. Giles Harrison and Edward Hanna
Publisher:The Royal Society Publishing

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