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HackLabs: Data in Difficult Places

A collaboration between the Adler Planetarium and Shedd Aquarium

Lead Organization:
The Adler Planetarium

Partner Organizations:
John G. Shedd Aquarium

Project Goal:
Citizen Science HackLabs seek to increase teen involvement with science by:

Engaging teens in citizen science through data collection, data analysis, and designing solutions for real world challenges;
Building students’ skills in utilizing digital tools and resources to foster personal interests in citizen science; and
Increasing participant awareness of programming opportunities for teens at both institutions, specifically reaching youth that are non-traditional participants.

Project Tags:
2014 Round 2 RFP

Project Portfolio

  • media

    HackLab Litterati Project

    During this session, teens used Instagram to document trash around museum campus for a project called Litterati. In this project, any citizen can document litter that they see anywhere in the world. Before recycling or throwing it away, citizens upload their picture of the trash to Instagram with #litterati. You can view a map of the litter on their website.

    HackLabs strives to expose teens to a variety of citizen science projects, from both the data collection and data analysis perspectives. Litterati is just one type of project that they experience during the sequence.

  • documentation

    Presentation: Citizen Science Association Conference

    This past February, Adler staff presented on the format and preliminary results of the HackLabs project to the Citizen Science Association at its first annual conference.

  • sample works

    Culminating Hackathon

    During the Hackathon, teens came together to develop solutions for a variety of citizen science projects:

    The Chimp & See project team were charged with improving the user experience for a new Zooniverse project. The goal of the day was to design ways to encourage users to come back so they could observe repeated interactions of the same chimps. One group of students developed a video as a prototype of an online tutorial to using the project. Another group developed a Keynote presentation detailing their improvements.

    Another set of teams mentored by Adler scientists worked to hack point-and-shoot cameras and design an astrophotography citizen science project. One team focused on figuring out how to hack the camera, another developed a video to promote the project, and a third created a website to tie together all the resources.

    In another room, a number of teens designed and built improved containers to hold Arduinos while under water. Their final products needed to keep the contents dry for an extended period of time. Participants built a website to share out what what they created.

    One challenge brought to the Hackathon participants was raising awareness of #Litterati and jumpstarting it in the Chicagoland area. Multiple teams attacked the marketing aspect of this project by designing flyers, filming a video, and creating a Prezi to educate others. Students also created three posters:

    Poster 1
    Poster 2
    Poster 3

    A Shedd researcher pitched the challenge of catching a range of mudpuppy specimens with traps. Participants in this group were challenged to design and build improved mudpuppy traps.

    Additional mudpuppy trap photos.

  • documentation

    Reflection On Transportation Options

    Adler staff prepared a summary on how the various transportation options to reach Museum Campus played out during the HackLabs, including key findings and potential next steps for those interested in the Transportation Moonshot.

  • tools