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Zooniverse

App review by
Christy Matte, Common Sense Media
Zooniverse App Poster Image
Crowd-sourced research engages kids in science exploration.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about real-world research projects, participate in the scientific process, and begin to see themselves as researchers and scientists. 

Ease of Play

Simple navigation. Some projects may have directions that kids find hard to follow.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Zooniverse is a crowd-based platform that allows kids (and adults) to engage in ongoing research projects in a variety of fields. Kids must be 16 to register on their own, but parents can register kids of any age. Since the projects tend to have specific instructions, it's best for kids who are able to listen to and follow directions. For younger kids, parents will want to participate together, particularly when using the discussion forums. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

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What's it about?

ZOONIVERSE is a research tool that invites volunteers to get involved in the process. You might help identify burial mounds in satellite images or track the bird population at a particular body of water. You may be looking into space. Volunteers don't need any special skills and each research project has clear directions to follow. The projects change as one is completed and another begins. When registering for the site, volunteers may optionally include their name to for acknowledgements in any published studies.

Is it any good?

If you're looking for ways to engage kids in the wonders of research and discovery, look no further. Zooniverse is a great way to introduce kids to academic research, scientific inquiry, and even social studies. With a range of projects available, there's a good chance you'll find something of interest. And Zooniverse encourages everyone to get involved with the understanding that there's no need to be perfect if you're doing your best. That's an important message for kids to hear. Because it is actual research, kids should know that it's not always full of action. For example, searching for birds in a series of pictures for 10 minutes yielded no fowl at all. But for kids who are excited to learn new things and enjoy the feeling of contributing to a larger project, Zooniverse is a wonderful place to start.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about research in the Zooniverse app and outside of it. What does it mean? Why do people do it?

  • Talk about crowd-sourcing. Why would researchers want large numbers of people to help with their projects? What sorts of activities around your house would be easier with a lot of people?

  • Families can talk about learning with apps. Do you think this is a good app for learning? Why or why not? What can you learn?

App details

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For kids who love science and STEM

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