Citizen Science Project
I spent a few hours on the Wildwatch Kenya project through Zooniverse. It seemed simple enough. The site presented you with a picture and you said whether or not an animal was present and they had parameters you used to identify the animal present. Then you said how many there were, what they were doing, and if there were any young animals present. For the most part, the pictures were of empty skies and brush. It was really exciting when an animal popped up in the next picture. Then the hard part began: correctly identifying the animals. I worry that I may have classified the deer-like animals incorrectly. I looked for distinct marking and identifiers, but some were just too far away or out of focus for me to name with confidence. It was really cool to see animals I never knew existed, like the Guinea Fowl or the Zorilla. And the pictures of Zebras up close were stunning. I really enjoyed looking for the animals in the images; it was such an easy way to contribute to scientific research.
Citizen Science Project
Space has always been a big interest of mine, which is why I chose Gravity Spy as my citizen science project, which I found on Zooniverse. This particular project interested me because gravity waves are still a fairly new discovery in the field of science and there is still a lot of research going on regarding gravity waves. LIGO is the most sensitive and complicated gravitational experiment ever built, and with the data it collects there are often many glitches. The project I was tasked with was to identify glitches the gravity wave detectors have picked up as either a ‘blip’ or ‘whistle’. The blips simply looked like blips that popped up on the chart, and whistles showed up as thin lines that stretched across the graph. If there was a blip, I’d sort it into the blip category, and if a thin line was stretching across the graph, I’d classify it as a whistle. It was very fascinating to find out just how these sensitive detectors pick up the gravitational waves emitted from the two distant black holes a few hundred lightyears away combining two create one supermassive black hole. In all, this was a very interesting project that taught me more about the concept of gravity waves. I was able to help categorize information gathered by detectors like LIGO to help advance future research regarding gravity waves.
As my citizen science project, I entered the site zooniverse.org to find a project I was interested in. After some deciding, I chose to do the WildCam Darien project. This was a task where citizens could analyze images taken from forests and classify animals that were visible within the pictures. I completed about a dozen of these pictures, classifying over twenty animals. Some of them were quite difficult, as I could not identify any animals inside at the moment, and yet with close observation, I was able to discover them. This project is very useful to scientists because sometimes, scientists collect way too much data and they are unable to analyze it all. And so, they call upon citizens of science to help them.
Citizen Science Project
I chose to do Radio Galaxy Zoo’s In Search Of Erupting Black Holes activity on Zooniverse. This activity involved looking at radio wave and infrared pictures of the same area of space and identify whether the picture contains a supermassive black hole. This helps the scientific community by giving scientists more information about supermassive black holes in all of their stages of life. This way they can learn more about how these black holes work and how they are formed. I picked this activity because I find space to be very interesting and black holes are fascinating because of their mysteriousness.
Westpark Curriculum Night
I participated in the curriculum night held at Westpark Elementary to educate students about science with fun activities. Some of the other students ran a demonstration on burning different elements and showing the elementary school students how they burn in different colors. The station I helped in was about food coloring and shaving cream. We showed the students how shaving cream and food coloring don’t mix well, so you can swirl it into fun patterns and designs. Then, because paper absorbs the dye easily, laying a paper over it and then removing the cream results in a cool card that they could then use as a bookmark. The experience of teaching kids a little bit about science and having a fun activity was really cool. My favorite part was seeing kids’ reactions to seeing their paper for the first time. I participated in this curriculum night because it is always fun to teach younger kids and take part in a fun activity. I think this was an important event to be a part of because it’s a great way to get younger kids interested in learning about science in fun ways, and I had a good time.
For my community outreach I worked with Tyler and Jocelyn at the Club Rush event during lunch for our school. Our main goal was to try and get other students interested in taking chemistry, and joining the SNHS, and to help we were demonstrating the Elephant toothpaste experiment. The main issue with it was that, since our teach wasn’t there we weren’t allowed to use a high enough concentration of Hydrogen peroxide leading to not much happening in the experiment. We hopped to increase the rate of the reaction by covering the top and shaking the flask, which turned out not to be the best idea. The pressure built from the reaction blew out the top and sprayed the solution on the ground resulting in some pretty funny reactions.
Elementary school Outreach Project
I attended the West Park Curriculum night. The whole thing seemed science themed. I was able to work with the shaving cream and food coloring stamping experiment. We sprayed come food coloring into a tray and added a few drops of food coloring. After that we swirled the coloring to make a design and carefully laid an index card into it. Then you scrape the excess away, the pattern of the food coloring is shown on the card, like a stamp. It was really cute to see the kids look confused at first and then see their face light up when we scraped the shaving cream away and they saw the colors on the page. It was also cool to go back to my elementary school as a high school senior and see how things have changed and talk to some of my old teachers. I really enjoyed the experience.