I Dig Science

Using Virtual Classrooms to Engage Youth in Science and Global Citizenship

I Dig Science is a partnership between BioSynC, the Geology and Education Departments at the Field Museum of Natural History and Global Kids.

I Dig Science is a series of intensive programs where high school teens from Chicago and New York City learn science, conservation, and culture directly from scientists and local people. The I Dig Science series has run as I Dig Tanzania in the summer of 2008, I Dig Zambia in the summer of 2009, and I Dig Brazil in the autumn of 2010.

In the program, teens use creative and participatory 3D environments to collaborate from disparate locations. They conduct activities that mimicked those of scientists and local community groups, such as hunting for fossils, discussing and interpreting their discoveries, encountering native flora and fauna, and learning about local cultures and politics.

An international team of scientists demonstrates techniques and teaches from remote areas in real time using satellite terminals, digital video cameras, and laptop computers. The scientists demonstrate paleontological field techniques and provide daily interviews about their research on the P/T boundary extinction event, ancient climates, and vertebrate fossil discoveries.

Virtual and digital experiences are supplemented by real-world activities like behind the scenes museum tours where students encountered real fossils and experienced local culture first hand.

Teens are evaluated by authoring daily blog posts, creating descriptive and summative artwork and projects, and building virtual museum exhibits showcasing their research. Teens leave I Dig Science with content knowledge in geography, conservation biology, paleontology, local culture, and regional policy and current events. They gain experience in the scientific method, including formulating and testing hypotheses. Most importantly, they develop an appreciation for the real work of scientists through their participation, which made science engaging and interactive.

The “I Dig Science” program continued in the summer of 2012 as “I Dig Tanzania” (IDT). IDT was be a three week summer program for American teens in which they collaborate with a multi-national team of experts to learn about paleontology, conservation, climate change, evolution, extinction, and economic inequality. For more information on how to participate in IDT 2012 please visit the I Dig Science blog.

News, Presentations & Publications from the I Dig Science Programs
IDZ Poster

Read the student blogs from past I Dig Science Programs.

I Dig Zambia - a digital learning summer camp

I Dig Zambia - the research behind the educational program

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I_Dig_Brazil_Flier.pdf429.22 KB
I Dig Zambia Flier.pdf423.97 KB