Citizen Science Ambassadors: The Best Summer Experience Ever

If I were asked what I remember the most about the summer of 2015, I would easily say all of the hard work I’ve done this summer. Now, I have two reasons for working hard, but the one that stands out the most is the work I’ve done as a Citizen Science Ambassador. I had the opportunity to make new friends, discover a world I have never known and explore the Adler Planetarium like I have not done before. While any other teenager’s summer vacation would be dedicated to being lazy, my partner and I’s were dedicated to a project that we are very proud of and would love to have the opportunity to do it again.

This summer I had the opportunity to analyze a project from Zooniverse, a website that filled with projects that scientist do not have the time to go through and analyze themselves, so they leave it up to citizens all over the world to do this for them. The Zooniverse project I had the experience of analyzing this summer was Snapshot Serengeti. My main reason of choosing this project is because I love to learn about wildlife animals, and while the other Zooniverse projects- The Milky Way Project and Galaxy Zoo- were interesting, Snapshot Serengeti captured my interest more. I liked the fact that with Snapshot Serengeti I was able to basically track animals and that just from pictures, scientist all over are able to track the eating habits and migration habits of each animal that is captured on camera. They are able to see how frequently each animal visit the spot, during what times of the year and how many goes to that certain spot at a time. In the end I also chose this project because the questions that I came up with for this zooniverse project seemed more interesting to look into than the questions I came up with for the other two projects.

In order to answer my research question I needed to learn new skills, and these skills will be able to help me with any other experience I have that will be similar to this one. First I had to learn how to code, which I used Code Academy to help with that. My experience with Code Academy is better than any other tool I have used to answer my question. By using Code Academy I was able to learn how to code different functions, list, plots and dictionaries that helped me preform the actions I needed to take to create the plot for my question. I also had to learn how to use iPython Notebook. I did not like learning how to use this program very much, only because it was a lot harder to learn this program than Code Academy. I am, however, proud of how much I learned using this program. When I stated using this program I felt insecure about my abilities to code, but after I created the plot for my research question, I felt confident with my coding abilities.

Code

An example of code we used

While working on this project I have made many exciting discoveries. Throughout this project I had learned a lot about the migration patterns of the lions and zebras. I was able to learn about the how often each animal moved and what each animal ate. This allowed me to be able to figure out if these two animals will be in the same place at the same time and if their migration patterns are affected by what they eat. It was fun discovering different codes for functions that were able to help me create plots and other charts in order to answer my research question. It was also fun discovering, after the plot was made, that the animals were in the same location.

Plot

Some questions I still have after all of this is: Were the zebras and lions there at the same exact date or were they just captured there on the same camera? And are there any other plots we could make that would express our answer to the question? If I were able to expand my project I would create more charts that go in depth of each month and location of the animals and if any of them were in the exact same place at the exact same time.

Here’s a link to the website my partner and I have made: Snapshot Serengeti Project

 

Keyaira

My name is Keyaira Taylor and I like to play softball, listen to music, read, eat, write and sleep. I like to watch tv in my free time. I want to go to Ball State University or University of Illinois to study early childhood education.

 

 

Citizen Science Ambassador Report – Snapshot Serengeti

As a whole, my experience at the Adler Planetarium was a good one. I was able to explore the museum like I had never done before. I had only been to the museum a few times in the past, so having this internship here was amazing. I saw new parts of the museum that I had never seen, and explored new relationships that I never thought I would make. Being able to look and spend so much time here at the museum this summer has opened my eyes to new things and appreciate other museums a lot more than I have ever done before.

During the course of this summer, a lot of things have motivated me to choose the Snapshot Serengeti project. I was mainly motivated to choose this project, because I wanted to experience something different and explore a topic that I had heard nothing about. I wanted to look into a different topic that I knew would be interesting and appealing to me. I was also motivated to pick this project because I saw a common interest within my peers to choose this project so it only felt right to go along with it.

My partner and I had to learn a lot of new things to be able to complete our project. We had to learn how to do the python coding, analyze a graph that was made on theiPython journal, and learn how to actually make the graphs on the iPython journal. All of these things were important for us to learn in order to finish our project. These tools helped us and will continue to help us in the future. During the course of finding answers for our research project, my partner and I found small things that interested us and motivated to look further into it. Some thing’ such as why the month of May had so many lions, or why in the warmer seasons some animals had a low count, as apposed to the colder months having a higher count.

Rainfall and Migration

If I could make any improvements to the program the only thing I would change would be the way we were taught how to do the iPython programming. I believe that some of the students would have benefited from it and would have done better in the program. It was just a little harder to work in the program because I was just given something to do and wasn’t shown exactly how to do it. I know that I was given help when I needed it but I wouldn’t have needed as much if I was showed how to do it in the first place. But, not being given the demonstration made us more independent and learning for ourselves which we will have to do in the near future as adults.

To conclude this post, I would say that my experience here at the Adler was a good one. I learned so much, built relationships, and learned things about myself, and others I would have never learned by myself. Yes the program had flaws but we can always learn from them and do even better.

http://depeck9.wix.com/snapshotserengeti

My name is Danielle P. and I am currently a senior at The Ogden International School of Chicago. I am in the Citizen Science Ambassadors program here at the Adler Planetarium.

Danielle

 

The Wonders of Being an Astro-Journalist!!!

Being able to become a scientific journalist was pretty cool. I wish I had some more time to explore on Snapshot Serengeti, I would definitely do it. I saw that my question was not as easy to answer as I thought it would be.

The topic that I chose was very interesting to me and it was great to be able to explore it in a scientific manner.  It was a great experience. I would definitely recommend someone else participate in this program and if I had a chance, I would definitely do it again. I hope that one day I get to explore more about the project I worked on and this website. The thing that motivated me to choose this project was my love for animals and the fact that I’m not very much into astronomy. I learn how to make a plot using iPython and I learned the virtue of patience. I thought that the fact that lions can sleep up to 20 hours a day was very interesting. However, since I was not able to fully answer my question I was not able to learn anything very exciting about my topic.

Plot

I learn that zebras migrate and I learned that lions sleep a very long period of time, like domestic cats but even longer than them. Most importantly, I learned how to code on iPython. I wondered if I could have actually answer my question. Then, I would change the animals around to see if that would change anything. Also, I could change the way the plot is set up and make the x-axis the date each picture of the animals were taken and the y-axis be the actual location that the animal was seen.

Animals

My experience with presenting the website in class was very helpful. I got some feedback on how we could look at our research and how to make our plot look more presentable. Also, Keyaira and I got a lot of good comments about the design of our website and the titles and pictures we used for our caption. I thought I explained everything very well and had a projected voice. I wished that I could have had more time with the data analysis and making the plot looking good.

Like I said before, this was a very rewarding experience. I wish I could do it again but I will definitely recommend this to someone else, especially some one who likes computer science and/or astronomy. I will never forget the friends I meet and the things I did during this time. That’s all I have to say so, peace out peoples. -Drops the microphone, walks off the stage-

Snapshot Serengeti Project Website

Kendall

My name is Kendall and I love playing sports (I play 3 of them). I also love to read, eat, and sleep!!!