I ran into an interesting site on collaborative data collection at the The Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education.
The site is a series of data collection activities which students in a school can do such as timing and temperature for boiling water (varies w/ altitude), collecting and analyzing local water samples, etc. I like these because the activities are simple, but students participate in actual research because they can submit results to a global database.
It’s also a good example of how we can use non-specialists to gather valuable scientific data. I know of programs where people report which bird visit their feeders (to Cornell) and local weather observations (to the local TV station). What can we do to harness this kind of interest so that more people can become “weather experts” (like one of our writers).