Parents' Guide to


By Jeff Knutson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Citizen-science database has clunky search, info concerns.

SciStarter Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this website.

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Citizen-science projects are an authentic avenue for kids of all ages to truly engage in scientific practices. SciStarter is a massive database of new and ongoing projects, many of which will be exciting, interesting, and relevant. That means learning everything from measuring rainfall to analyzing cancer cells -- all of which can help contribute to real research projects around the world. The largest hang-up for families, and the biggest detriment to the site, is having to find kid- and age-appropriate projects that you can join. The site doesn't provide a search option for age, doesn't list what could be learned by contributing to a project, and does very little in trying to explain the pros or cons of a project. Not only does the site have a poorly executed search function, it also doesn't appear to check every project carefully. As a result, though SciStarter provides a good service in giving kids and families who are interested in science a way to contribute to research projects, it's definitely a resource to be used with parental oversight.

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