Citizen science projects can serve as constructivist learning environments for programming focused on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) for youth. Attributes of rich environments for active learning (REALs) provide a framework for design of Extension STEM learning environments. Guiding principles and design strategies for the University of Minnesota Extension's Driven to Discover: Enabling Authentic Inquiry through Citizen Science project demonstrate how education and investigations grounded in real-world citizen science projects can capitalize on REAL environments to generate meaningful STEM learning. Positive evaluation results support the efficacy of the design for enhancing youth science identity and practice.
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Meyer, N. J., Scott, S., Strauss, A. L., & Nippolt, P. L. (2014). Citizen Science as a REAL Environment for Authentic Scientific Inquiry. The Journal of Extension, 52(4), Article 13. https://tigerprints.clemson.edu/joe/vol52/iss4/13