6.10. Impacts of CS Crowdsourcing with Citizen Science Apps

This lesson explores a computing innovation, citizen science apps, which use crowdsourcing to solve science problems. This lesson also gives students an opportunity to practice analyzing a computing innovation for its purpose, the data it uses and produces, and potential beneficial and harmful effects.

Professional Development

The Student Lesson: Complete the activities for Mobile CSP Unit 6: Lesson 6.10 Impacts of CS: Crowdsourcing with Citizen Science Apps.


  • Projection system to show PBS video on citizen science apps

6.10.1. Learning Activities

Estimated Length: 90 minutes

  • Hook/Motivation: (5 minutes): Ask students if anyone can explain how projects are funded through Kickstarter or other crowdfunding apps. Explain that crowdfunding is a type of crowdsourcing where many people contribute to fund a project. In computing, crowdsourcing relies on the many people collaborating to help solve a problem, contribute resources (such as computer processing time), or disseminate results. Citizen science apps are one example of using the power of crowdsourcing to solve science problems using mobile apps.
  • Experiences and Exploration (15-60 minutes): Watch Episode 1 of The Crowd and the Cloud. If you do not have time to watch the entire hour-long episode, then focus on the OpenStreetMap [16:55-28:30] and EyesOnALZ [28:30-41:57] segments.
  • Experiences and Exploration (30 minutes): Students can work individually or in pairs to select an app from the Join a Project page and answer the questions on purpose, data, and effects. Students should discuss the answers to their questions with another student or pair of students.
  • Reflect and Revise (5 minutes): Ask students to record their answers in their portfolios.

AP Classroom

The College Board's AP Classroom provides a question bank and Topic Questions. You may create a formative assessment quiz in AP Classroom, assign the quiz (a set of questions), and then review the results in class to identify and address any student misunderstandings.The following are suggested topic questions that you could assign once students have completed this lesson.

Suggested Topic Questions:

Assessment Opportunities and Solutions

Solutions Note: Solutions are only available to verified educators who have joined the Teaching Mobile CSP Google group/forum in Unit 1.

Teaching Tips: Connections to Current News

  • You may wish to look for contemporary news articles on encryption and cryptography. A collection of articles related to Mobile CSP is available at diigo.com/user/mobilecsp
  • You may wish to have students find information about encryption and cryptography to share with the class.

6.10.2. Professional Development Reflection

Discuss the following questions with other teachers in your professional development program.

  • How does this lesson help prepare students for the scenario-based questions about computing innovations in the exam?
    I am confident I can teach this lesson to my students.
  • 1. Strongly Agree
  • 2. Agree
  • 3. Neutral
  • 4. Disagree
  • 5. Strongly Disagree