A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Journey North helps kids record and share observations about seasonal change. These observations vary from the length of a day, to a flower blooming, or the presence of a butterfly. The site can be used by any nature lover but is best for elementary or middle school kids who are curious about ecosystems, life cycles, or the seasons. To share a "sighting," kids register using their email and upload a digital picture. Parents should also know that observations include location because kids are asked to enter the latitude and longitude of where they took the picture.
What's it about?
JOURNEY NORTH lets citizen scientists from all over North America share their observations of migrations and other signs of the seasons. Anyone who wants to submit an observation has to register on the site. Resources are available to help kids figure out their longitude and latitude so they can include it with their observations, which appear on a map of sightings. Over time, you can see the progression of the seasons as flowers bloom and animals migrate. Journey North compiles this data and provides resources for kids to use it in research.
Is it any good?
At first glance Journey North may seem like any other citizen science website. However, if you dig deeper, there are a lot of great additional research resources. Other citizen science sites are limited to simply uploading pictures and locations of observations. Journey North has tools to help kids to ask their own questions and gather the evidence to answer them. Unfortunately, the site is hard for kids to navigate. Here's a tip: Send kids straight to the "Journey North for Kids" section. It has a kid-friendly video that shows them how they can get involved and actually do science.
Journey North also lets kids watch animals like polar bears and puffins in real time on web cams. Unfortunately, the video feed only shows the animals live during certain times of the year so it doesn't really help kids learn about animals changing with the seasons.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can explore their own backyard as the seasons change. How do the animals and plants behave as it gets warmer or colder?
Families can also talk about the dangers of people they don't know finding them. How can we prevent strangers from finding us?
Families who are interested in limiting their digital trail should check out our article on GPS Tracking.
For kids who love science and nature
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