Citizen Coyote Science Comes to Fruition

In December, I recorded my answer to the One Big Question “What’s the most important benefit technology can bring to the educational experience?” My answer to this question focuses on students’ abilities to create new knowledge with technology rather than only access and learn already-created knowledge. In my response below, I gave an example of children conducting a citizen science project that tracks coyote sightings in a neighborhood, examines ecological and biological reasons for the clash between the animals and people, and creates a report for a city council. I created this example from issues that were occurring in my own neighborhood where coyotes have been sighted quite often. Neighbors on the listserv swing widely from wanting to track down and kill the coyotes (who have been accused of killing pets) to protecting the coyotes as they are native to this area and honestly were here first.

Excitingly, a few weeks ago a neighbor mom posted on the listserv that an alternative to the dreaded “volcano experiment,” she suggested to her daughter to conduct a study on the coyotes. I quickly emailed her a link to my video (below) and encouraged her to pursue this avenue. I introduced her to the concept of citizen science. They then created a website and invited neighbors to post their sightings and comments. Did I mention that a 7-year old was conducting this research project? You can find her report of the problem, hypothesis and results here: This student attends Zilker Elementary School in the Austin Independent School District.