Have you heard about the Zooniverse?

There are lots of opportunities to help out on real research projects these days, everything from teaching Mars rovers how to classify Martian terrain to helping astronomers locate and identify supermassive black holes and starforming galaxies. Other offerings include searching the realm beyond Neptune for new brown dwarfs and planets

If biology is more your thing, you can help biologists classify animals seen on trail cams through projects like Tranquil Seaidentify waterfowl from drone imagesidentify and count killer whales, or study bio-activity in the deep sea.

Interested in dentistry or medicine? You can learn to read and find dental diseases in radiographs, thus helping to develop automated disease detection. There is also a project that will help children with a blinding eye disorder, uveitis.

If you are more history-minded, you can help preserve science history through projects like assisting Adler Planetarium to tag their collections to expand how they catalogue their objects and how their users can find them or helping the Wolbach Library at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics to transcribe the groundbreaking work of early women astronomers. (Adler’s project finished in March 2022, but the Wolbach Library project is still ongoing.) There’s a project to transcribe the stories of all New Zealand service men and women from World War I, or you can help describe and categorize rare photographs depicting life in early 20th-century Michigan, or even annotate & transcribe burial records from 18th-19th century London.

There are over 90 projects available as of this update, but they change regularly so if you don’t see something you like right now, check back regularly. The projects cover a wide range of topics that include art, literature, and history in addition to the various sciences. 

If you homeschool, this would make a nice addition to your science curriculum. In fact, even if you don’t homeschool, this could be a fun summer project for teens that will expose them to various careers.

Have you tried it out? Let me know in the comments below!

Note: This was originally posted in 2021. I updated the “posted” date to reflect the extensive updating of links to new research projects and editing. Plus I accidentally deleted the main body of it while editing and had to redo it. Oops. 😳🤦‍♀️ 🙂

Image Credits: I took the took the picture of the Chicago skyline behind Adler Planetarium’s big sundial 23 Nov 2019. Copyright © Jennifer Yuen. All rights reserved.