A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this website.
Kids can learn about ecology, conservation, and animal behavior. Project Squirrel lets kids be part of an actual research project in their own backyards. Unfortunately, unless you are part of the Greater Chicago Area, your data isn't included in the research team’s conclusions. Though the site isn't visually appealing, kids could still get wrapped up in collecting data for real research.
Kids are empowered to take part in research in their own backyards.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Project Squirrel is a way for kids to do research on local squirrels. Collecting data is simple: Walk down a street and record the number and type of squirrels at regular intervals. If your streets are set up like a grid kids can just collect data at every intersection. Once kids collect the data, they enter it into the website by filling out a form that asks for their zip code and email address. Users can choose not to include their email address and their data will still be accepted. Involvement can range from entering data one time to volunteering to collect data regularly as part of a service project.
Is It Any Good?
Project Squirrel may not be as visually appealing as the more popular citizen science site, Project Noah, but it does provide kids with opportunities that move beyond simply counting and locating squirrels. Kids can follow detailed instructions for setting up data gathering stations to observe squirrel behavior in food gathering. Site reports on data from thousands of users presents interesting conclusions. It would be nice if kids could see the raw data from all users and watch how it grows in real time. This would give kids the opportunity to form their own conclusions from the data.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Our Editors Recommend
STEM: Apps, TV, and More for Science, Tech, Engineering, and Math
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate