Civic Science: Inquiry to Action
Spark Curiosity, Inspire Change
CELF’s Civic Science: Inquiry to Action program engages students in hands-on learning to identify, analyze, and solve real-world environmental issues that impact their schools, neighborhoods, and beyond.
By navigating the connection between science, society, and policy, children are empowered to make a positive impact on our world. Led by classroom teachers trained and supported by CELF, students are transformed into vital global citizens, ready to face tomorrow’s challenges head-on.
Why Civic Science Matters
Civic Science: Inquiry to Action is what every student, teacher, and community needs now. Environmental and social justice issues affect everyone—whether we live in big cities or small towns. It’s vital for students to understand the impact of environmental degradation and the importance of clean air, soil, waterways, parks, and playgrounds. As biodiversity loss threatens human survival, future generations are critical stewards of the globe.
Student-led Research Examines…
The impact of idling buses, indoor cleaning products, and expressways on air quality
How precipitation affects pollution
What air quality does to wetlands
Expired school air filters and what they mean for indoor quality
How the community benefits from school gardens
Issues of equity, environmental justice, and more!
How It Works
CELF Civic Science: Inquiry to Action is an exciting semester- or year-long program that engages students in project- and place-based STEM learning outside the classroom. Students will conduct environmental research in their communities with field-expert guidance. They’ll collect, analyze, share their data, and collaborate to determine causes and design solutions. Finally, students will present their findings to an audience of peers and policymakers, inspiring innovation, and action!
Finding Solutions, Together
Civic Science: Inquiry to Action connects students and teachers with local leaders, community partners, and experts to identify and solve our communities’ environmental challenges. CELF partners with top healthcare facilities, higher-education, and government agencies to bring expertise to student-led projects. Civil Science: Inquiry to Action builds community and empowers students to find their voices to affect change.
Meet Our Partners! CELF’s New York partners include the Mount Sinai Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit, Habitat Map, NYC DOE Department of Health, and CUNY School of Law.
Who benefits? You! Find out more:
Teachers will Implement a project-based STEM learning experience and:
Participate in professional learning workshops paired with on-site educator support;
Train to use monitoring technology combined with crowd-sourced data-sharing platforms;
Learn pedagogical principles that apply to a range of civic science subject areas, including air and water quality, biodiversity, and soils/garden;
Engage with local concerns;
Prepare students for a (virtual or in-person) symposium with schools across the country
Students will explore the science and math of environmental issues and:
Learn strategies of scientific data collection and analysis;
Examine the intersections of environment, society, and policy;
Investigate the relationship between environmental degradation and social issues, such as air pollution and poverty;
Collaborate with other students;
Acquire skills in data presentation, public speaking, Research Poster design;
Connect with their communities;
Experience true project- and place-based education in their neighborhoods
Field Experts will:
Provide material and expertise to enhance content knowledge;
Provide technology to monitor/measure pollution and support ongoing use of related apps;
Support the CELF Civic Science Program
Local Leaders will:
Introduce students to the legislative process;
Offer insight into how innovative ideas can become policy;
Engage with students and teachers by attending the culminating Student Symposium
Join us this School Year!
CELF’s Civic Science: Inquiry to Action Program for the 2023-24 school year will provide educators with professional development, resources, and a community of practice to support you in guiding your students in community projects, with opportunities for students to present their research findings and share their action plans with community stakeholders and decision-makers.
Participating teachers will have access to:
• Microgrants to support student field trips and/or project resources.
• Digital resources for various pathways of study.
• CELF’s Student Symposium events in Spring 2024
• Teacher stipends upon program completion.
Learn more about our upcoming sessions below, and register today!
Civic Science USA: Engaging Students in Community
Date: October 12, 2023
Time: 7 PM- 8 PM ET / 6 PM – 7 PM CT / 4 PM- 5 PM PT
We invite educators of grades 5-12 to join us in networking with fellow sustainability-minded educators, and learning how to engage your students in place-based inquiry and action projects to explore local sustainability and environmental justice challenges. Discover resources and opportunities that will be available to you and your students during the upcoming school year.
Funded through the generosity of CELF supporters
Civic Science NY: Engaging Students in Climate Action
Location: SLC Center for the Urban River at Beczak, Yonkers, NY
Date: August 16-17, 2023
Time: 10am-3pm ET
During this two-day event, alongside the beautiful banks of the Hudson River, teachers of grades 5-12 will explore how our region is being impacted by climate change, and how CELF’s Inquiry to Action framework can be applied to guide students in place- and project-based inquiry to investigate potential solutions for climate action and community resilience.
Funded through the generosity of CELF supporters
Summer Institute Houston: Leveraging Community Resources for Student Projects
Location: Lone Star College, Kingwood, TX
Date: August 1-3, 2023
Time: 9:00am – 3:00pm CT
This three-day Summer Institute presents Education for Sustainability as a lens for learning and explores community resources to enrich student experiences. Educators will create Student Action Projects to address community concerns and will integrate sustainability concepts into teaching practices using CELF’s Big Ideas of Sustainability framework.
Civic Science: Summer Institute at University of Houston Clear Lake
Location: Unversity of Houston Clear Lake
Date: June 5-7, 2023
Time: 9:00am – 1:00pm CT
UHCL and CELF are collaborating on a STEM4ALL Summer Institute. This three-day Civic Science program is open UHCL’s preservice STEM4ALL students, as well as to inservice teachers from surrounding districts.
Are grant/stipend opportunities available?
Grant and stipend opportunities may be available during the school year. We will do our best to match you to the most suitable cohort and available scholarship/stipend opportunities. Based on your responses, we will notify you of acceptance and program details on a rolling basis as applications come in.
What are the program costs?
This is a fee-for-service program with grant-funded opportunities offered throughout the year.
What issues have students researched?
Students have already investigated pollution stemming from idling buses, indoor cleaning products, a local industrial park, and a nearby expressway. They’ve explored the influence of precipitation on pollution, how air quality affects wetlands, and the impact of expired air filters on a school’s indoor air. They’ve examined issues of equity, environmental justice, how a school garden benefits a community, and much more!
How/when do students share their research?
Programs culminate with a Student Symposium in the spring. CELF has hosted both regional Student Symposiums in-person and Virtual Student Symposiums. This interactive experience allowed students and teachers to present their semester-long work to each other, the CELF staff, and scholars and educators from other participating schools. Utilizing a place-based approach, students tackled a variety of STEAM-related topics, including urban greenspaces, air quality, and environmental justice.
What resources, support, or materials are provided?
CELF’s professional learning workshops train teachers of grades 5-12 to develop and implement a Civic Science project unit tailored to their schools’ existing grade level scope and sequences. CELF educators provide teachers with on-site support, technology troubleshooting, and project implementation services. The Civic Science framework is adaptable to hybrid classrooms, with both online and in-person learning.
Are there professional development opportunities?
CELF’s professional learning workshops will train teachers of grades 5-12 to develop and implement a Civic Science project unit tailored to their schools’ existing grade level scope and sequences. CELF educators provide teachers with on-site support, technology troubleshooting, and project implementation services. The Civic Science framework is adaptable to hybrid classrooms, with both online and in-person learning.
Does this program connect to other curriculum areas?
This program offers a seamless connection to Next Gen Science Standards and opportunities for an interdisciplinary crossover with Language and Literature, Social Studies, Math, Art and even Music!