The Role of Volunteers in Schoolyard SITES

Schoolyard SITES offers an important role for Extension science volunteers to work with teachers to develop meaningful science experiences for elementary students. The following activities are examples of the varied roles volunteers play in Schoolyard SITES partnerships with teachers throughout year-long projects:

Project Planning Activities (Summer/Fall)

  • Volunteer researches citizen science programs
  • Volunteer develops or refines testable question
  • Volunteer helps install equipment (feeders, gauges. etc.) outside of class time
  • Volunteer develops protocol, including integration of citizen science program protocols
  • Volunteer researches teaching supplies (books, equipment)
  • Volunteer scouts/surveys schoolyard
  • Volunteers develop instruments or tools to use in the classroom (site maps, schematics, data sheets, etc.)
  • Volunteer conducts/pilots data collection from alternative location (home, work, etc.) to compare schoolyard data\

Project Implementation Activities (Fall/Winter/Spring)

  • Volunteer teaches science content (e.g. insect identification) on a periodic or regular basis in the classroom (in small groups or whole class)
  • Volunteer participates in field work with students, serving as a co-leader in the field
  • Volunteer develops expertise in technology (e.g. iNaturalist) to share with teacher(s) and/or students.
  • Volunteers and teachers talk to students about collaboration, experience in science, shares their story as a scientist/role model
  • Volunteer attends online trainings with teachers
  • Volunteer leads/organizes documentation (photography, documentation of student work)
  • Volunteers facilitate sharing/collaboration among student groups

Post-Project Activities (Spring)

  • Volunteer helps teacher develop an opportunity for students to share and celebrate their projects/results/experience with a larger community (families, school, neighborhood, etc.)
  • Volunteer compiles and/or uploads data to citizen science platform
  • Volunteer helps students analyze data and/or data displays
  • Volunteer develops display materials for Showcase

Apply to Schoolyard SITES