Local Citizen Science Projects for High School Students – LA Makerspace

Photo courtesy of LA Makerspace Facebook page.
Photo courtesy of LA Makerspace Facebook page.

Is there someone in your life who likes to tinker, invent, conduct science experiments or make things from other things? LA Makerspace is a  non-profit, member driven community space for them to create and collaborate.

For the last two years LA Makerspace has facilitated citizen science projects, giving high school students the opportunity to learn science by actually doing science.  Mainly operating out of informal sites on the Westside, students have conducted research projects on everything from urban biodiversity, artificial photosynthesis, air quality and environmental sensor development.  Now thanks to a new collaboration with the LA Public Library system, LA Makerspace will also be facilitating citizen science projects regularly out of a new space at the Pio Pico library branch in Koreatown.

Starting this Tuesday September 2nd, LA Makerspace will be available to high school students free of charge at the Pio Pico Library on Oxford Avenue every weekday afternoon:  on Mondays through Thursdays from 3-7 pm and from 3- 5:30 pm on Fridays.

Ariel-Levi-Simons
Ariel Levi Simons will lead the LA Makerspace program in Koreatown, just east of Western in the Pio Pico Library.

The exact direction of the Pio Pico program this Fall will depend on the interests and numbers of the students who sign up, but it is certain to give participants a concentrated experience in scientific methodology and technical documentation of research findings.  Possible projects may be  E-CLAW (“Ecology and the Chemistry of the Los Angeles Watershed”) wherein students will sample and test L.A. River water at various points to help inform the current and upcoming river revitalization projects, or the Solar Hydrogen Activation Research Kit, organized by the NSF and focusing on the splitting of water with sunlight.

High school students interested in participating at the Pio Pico Library location should contact Ariel Levi Simons, LA Makerspace Co-Founder, to see how they can be involved.  Daily attendance is not required, with projects coordinated around students’ personal schedules.

LA Makerspace began in Culver City and has branched out to also support Citizen Science in general.  The mission of LA Makerspace is to lower the barriers to innovation for Angelenos by providing interest-driven, hands-on experiences related to technology, arts and sciences, with access to specialized equipment.  Citizen Science is the general term used to describe a growing number of regional, national and international scientific investigations relying on crowd-sourcing, or contributions of data from a wide population of non-professionals.

LAPL’s partnership with LA Makerspace reflects the City’s support of state and federal STEM initiatives (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).  In June, Makerspace’s Co-Founder Tara Tiger Brown attended the national “Makers Faire” sponsored by the Obama administration.

“The White House has recognized that we need to ‘make’ things here in the US and that in order to do so they need to provide resources for people to bring their ideas to reality,” Brown blogged from the D.C. fair. “They need the support of grassroots organizations like LA Makerspace to scale. I think we’ll see making emphasized again in the classrooms and it will become a more integral part of libraries, museums and even garages.” Brown was interviewed earlier by the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy during LA Makerspace’s Kickstarter campaign and later gave the Office ideas for the White House’s Maker Faire.

Ariel Levi Simons, who will be leading the Pio Pico program,  has served as a Science Teacher at Wildwood School, consultant at Cal Tech, and a STEM Project Coordinator at an environmental charter school.

LA Makerspace
LAPL Pio Pico branch library
694 S. Oxford St.,  LA, 2ndfloor.
Mon-Thurs, 3-7pm
Friday, 3-5:30pm
Contact Levi Simons in advance to discuss your participation.
 
LA-Makerspace
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About Renee Montgomery

Renee Montgomery began researching historic men's waistcoats at LACMA in 1979 as an intern, and is still at the museum as an Assistant Director in administration. She's written for various local media and museum publications, focusing on 'small town pockets' in urban L.A. She resides in Lafayette Square and has one daughter, a professional ballet dancer. Having never lost her zeal for her 'aggie' San Gabriel Valley/Riverside upbringing, Renee currently sells citrus and homegrown produce to support dog rescue efforts.

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