These DIY Science Projects Let You Help Real-World Research

At-home science projects can teach you how to build the research tools to participate in citizen science and solve problems.

Citizen Science Salon iconCitizen Science Salon
By Bob Hirshon
Jun 28, 2020 8:00 PMJul 9, 2020 7:12 PM
Green Vigil Foundation - EarthEcho International
Volunteers from the Green Vigil Foundation performing water quality testing. (Credit: Courtesy, EarthEcho International)


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You’re a doer. Nothing can stop you. Not even a lack of access to the specialized, low-cost tools needed to fully engage in citizen science. Below, we present ways you can build the tools and kits to help scientists answer pressing questions.

So roll up those sleeves to take on these DIY challenges at home — everything from inkjet printers MacGyvered into bio-printers, to bowls of flour and water transformed into yummy loaves of sourdough bread to help study microbes.

Take Part: Get Involved in Citizen Science Projects at

(Credit: CC BY-SA BioCurious)

BioPrint Your Own Living Things

BioPrinting is like 3-D printing, but with squishier ingredients! Our friends at BioCurious will show you how to build your own bio-printer with parts from old inkjet printers and CD players and get you started with some simple projects and experiments. Get started BioPrinting with BioCurious.

CanAirIO is a low-cost air pollution monitor designed to empower citizen scientists to track air quality in their community. (Credit: CanAirIO)

Build a DIY Air Pollution Monitor

CanAirIO provides a step-by-step guide to build your own inexpensive air quality monitor.

Learn more, watch the tutorial (in English and Spanish!), and then access materials using SciStarter’s new tools database. Get started with CanAirIO.

Honey bees are one of nature's most prized pollinators. (Credit: Ivan Marjanovic/Shutterstock)

Help Study Bee Health

As if bees don’t already have enough to worry about, parasitic fly infections are turning them into nocturnal, light-seeking “zombees.” Help scientists study this problem by building and deploying your own ZomBee Watch Kit. Get started with ZomBee Watch.

(Credit: mycteria/Shutterstock)

Monitor Insect-Borne Diseases

The Mosquito Habitat Mapper app, supported by NASA, features a DIY mosquito eradication kit. Follow in-app instructions and use household materials to remove small pockets of standing water where invasive, Zika-carrying mosquitoes breed. Get started with Mosquito Habitat Mapper.

Volunteers from the Green Vigil Foundation performing water quality testing. (Credit: Courtesy, EarthEcho International)

DIY Water Quality Monitoring

Join the international EarthEcho Water Challenge to monitor and help protect our valuable water resources. An inexpensive kit provides everything you need to get started. Get started with the EarthEcho Water Challenge.

The SciStarter Tools Database

Some citizen science projects require specialized tools to make an observation, record data, and more. The SciStarter Tools database will help you discover and access low-cost tools, providing information about how you can build, borrow, or buy them. Makers and manufacturers can add tools, too. Get started with the SciStarter Tools database.

(Credit: SciStarter)

More Citizen Science Tools

Still looking for more opportunities to exercise your creative impulses? Participating libraries have the science project kits you need! Check ’em out!

And if your local library doesn’t have kits yet, ask the librarian to contact us at so we can help bring citizen science to them.

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