The Dragonfly Detectives citizen science project forms the bulk of the scientific work that students participating in the Dragonfly Detectives program will complete. It examines the relationship between weather patterns and flight activity in the Common Whitetail dragonfly. Weather is known to dramatically influence flight activity in dragonflies, but the exact weather parameters that lead to changes in behavior of most dragonflies remain poorly understood. We are sending students out into the field with scientific weather monitoring kits and having them record the weather while simultaneously observing and counting the number of flights made by Common Whitetails at a body of water.
1) Give student participants a chance to get involved in a real scientific research study where they will collect and submit the bulk of the data gathered;
2) Show that students grades 4-8 are accurate and effective citizen scientists;
3) Show that citizen scientists can accurately and effectively collect animal behavioral data in the field; and
4) Learn about the relationship between weather and flight activity in dragonflies by generating hypotheses, gathering data to test the hypotheses, doing some simple data analyses, and presenting their findings publicly.
Through the Dragonfly Detectives citizen science project, we hope to give North Carolina’s students an opportunity to participate in real science and learn about the natural world through hands-on experience.