Each Thursday at Pittsburgh’s Hill District Achievement Center, Citizen Science Lab staff meet with scholars and teach hands-on science lessons. Citizen Science Lab is Pittsburgh’s first and only community life sciences laboratory.
We invite the citizens of Pittsburgh to observe, experiment, and analyze through discovery-based learning and STEAM [Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math] education.
Every week, a team of Citizen Scientists visit U-Prep/Milliones K-12 in the Hill District. Up to twelve students, dressed in lab coats and protective goggles, listen attentively as their lab instructors give them directions for the day’s experiment. During the first lab of this semester, scholars studied the chemistry of gas expansion by testing vinegar and baking soda rockets. They explore a different area of science each week.
Klacie Martinez, a student at Duquesne University, interns at Citizen Science Lab. She loves how the kids get hands-on experience with science. “It is important for people to be science literate,” she says. “And the younger they are exposed to it the better.” The Lab nurtures interest in STEM fields, particularly in schools that may be unable to provide strong science programs.
The next lesson is biology. Scholars dampen cotton swabs in water, take samples from doors, shoes, and sinks, and then paint the mixture onto a medium in petri dishes to see what will grow.
Fifth grader LaTonya enjoys the lab time. Her favorite experience was when a vinegar rocket soared to the ceiling and got stuck!