International Observe the Moon Night: Providing Opportunities for the Public to Engage in Lunar Observation
International Observe the Moon Night (InOMN) is designed to engage lunar science and education communities, our partner networks, amateur astronomers, space enthusiasts, and the general public in annual lunar observation campaigns that share the excitement of lunar science and exploration. InOMN enables the public to maintain its curiosity about the Moon and gain a better understanding of the Moon's formation, its evolution, and its place in the sky. For 2010, members of the public were encouraged to host their own InOMN events. InOMN hosts such as astronomy clubs, museums, schools, or other groups could find helpful resources and share information about InOMN events they organized on the InOMN website (http://observethemoonnight.org). Images, feedback, and lessons learned from the 2010 InOMN event will be shared in order to encourage increased planning and hosting of InOMN events in 2011. From various interpretations of the lunar “face,” early pictograms of the Moon’s phases, or to the use of the lunar cycle for festivals or harvests, the Moon has an undeniable influence on human civilization. We have chosen the 2011 InOMN theme to provide an opportunity for individuals to share their personal or cultural connections to the Moon. For 2011, the InOMN website will include a ‘lunar bulletin board’ where InOMN participants can post pictures and share stories of what the Moon means to them. The 2011 InOMN contest will encourage people to submit their works of art, poems, short stories, or music about the Moon all centered around the theme “What does the Moon mean to you?” As with the winners of previous contests, winning entries will be incorporated into the following year’s InOMN advertisements and events.
The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Professional Development Workshop Series: Example of an Excellent Mechanism of Scientific Dissemination
The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) Lunar Institute for Educators pilot workshop was held at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD in July of 2010. At this workshop, educators of grades 6-12 learned about lunar science, exploration, and how our understanding of the Moon has changed since the Apollo missions. The workshop exposed teachers to science results from recent lunar missions, particularly LRO, through presentations and discussions with lunar scientists. It allowed them to explore real LRO data, participate in hands-on lunar science activities, and learn how to incorporate these data and activities into their classrooms. Other workshop activities focused on mitigating student, and teacher, misconceptions about the Moon. As a result of the workshop, educators reported feeling a renewed excitement about the Moon, and more confidence in teaching lunar science to their students. Quarterly follow-up professional development sessions will monitor the progress of the workshop participants throughout the year, and provide additional support to the teachers, as needed. Evaluations from the 2010 pilot program are being used to improve LRO workshops as they expand contextually and geographically in the coming years. Ten workshops will be held across the United States in 2011 and 2012. Areas that have been underserved, with respect to NASA workshops, will be specifically targeted. Educator professional development workshops such as this one are an excellent mechanism for scientists to disseminate the latest discoveries from their missions and research to educators across the country and to get real data in the hands of students, further strengthening the students’ interest and understanding of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) content and careers.
Making a model: educators construct topographic maps of Play-Doh volcanoes.
MINI-RF EDUCATION AND OUTREACH AND THE LUNAR SCIENCE INSTITUTE - THE NEXT LEAP IN LUNAR EXPLORATION AND EDUCATION
Many decades ago, the idea of lunar exploration inspired generations of Americans and provided the foundation for generating excitement for the STEM disciplines, especially as they related to space sciences and aeronautics. Today, this excitement has waned as memories of landing on the moon become more and more distant. However, there are many lunar-related programs that are focused on re-generating this excitement and inspiring future generations of Moon explorers. The Education and Public Outreach (E/PO) office in The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) Space Department provides numerous education and outreach activities with a focus on engaging and inspiring the next generation of Moon explorers. The Miniature Radio Frequency (Mini-RF), onboard both the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and Chandrayaan-1, is tasked with studying the moon to provide information on possible locations for future lunar exploration and human lunar missions. This information has the potential to again inspire and excite generations of Americans as the space science community prepares to consider more human lunar missions. APL organizes education and outreach activities focusing on Mini-RF science through teacher workshops, and museum and planetarium exhibits. APL also hosts the new Lunar Science Institute (LSI), which studies the lunar polar environment, attempts to characterize the surface, and hypothesizes on the possibility and requirements of having a manned research outpost on the Moon. LSI will focus on education through teacher workshops, summer camps, and a space academy for middle school students. Outreach components will include an interactive website promoting lunar science, podcasts and a partnership with the Museum Alliance.
MoonKAM - Education and Public Outreach for NASA's GRAIL Mission
In September 2011, NASA's Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission will launch twin spacecraft in tandem orbits around the Moon to measure its gravity in unprecedented detail. The mission will answer key questions about the Moon's internal structure and give scientists a better understanding of how our solar system formed. The spacecraft will send back information during a three-month “science phase” of the mission from March through May of 2012. As the GRAIL satellites orbit the Moon gathering scientific data, they will also be taking images of the lunar surface. Each satellite will carry four cameras dedicated to MoonKAM (Moon Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students), GRAIL’s signature Education and Public Outreach (E/PO) program. Middle-school students across the country will be able to request and analyze photos of craters, highlands, maria and other lunar features. The MoonKAM images and supporting educational materials will be available for public access on the MoonKAM website, www.GRAILMoonKAM.com. During the MoonKAM mission, we estimate that approximately 4000 middle schools nationwide will take over 20,000 lunar images. An essential part of the MoonKAM E/PO effort is Student Collaboration. Over the course of our E/PO effort, from FY 2009 through 2013, the Student Collaboration Team, UCSD undergraduate students will work directly with GRAIL scientists and engineers to build and operate the system that links middle school classrooms nationwide to the MoonKAM cameras on the GRAIL satellites. We estimate GRAIL MoonKAM will engage approximately 100 undergraduates students over the duration of this effort, giving them direct hands-on experience with a NASA mission and thereby contributing to the development of the STEM workforce.
Next Generation Lunar Scientists and Engineers Group: EPO for the NextGen
With the recent lunar missions and increase in funding opportunities for lunar science, the number of early career lunar scientists and engineers has grown substantially in the last few years. With plans for future US and international orbital and landed spacecraft, the Moon will continue to be a place of intense scientific scrutiny. The Next Generation Lunar Scientists and Engineers (NGLSE) is a grass-roots effort at fostering the growing community of early career lunar scientists and engineers. We are fortunate to be in a position to develop the next generation of lunar enthusiasts with the support of the first generation of lunar scientists and engineers, ensuring continuity of a base of lunar knowledge. The need to foster the next generation of lunar scientists is recognized within NASA and the international community (e.g., International Lunar Exploration Working Group, Lunar Explorers Society, and the Canadian Lunar Research Network). A primary goal of the NASA Lunar Science Institute is to support “...the development of the lunar science community and training the next generation of lunar science researchers.” Additionally, NASA’s Optimizing Science and Exploration Working Group, which is comprised of representatives from several NASA Directorates and Centers, is tasked with the integration of science and engineering for the successful exploration of the Moon. In much the same way, the NGLSE aims to bring early career scientists and engineers together in order to create and support a network of next generation lunar scientists and engineers who will be able to work effectively together. Currently with over 150 members from academia, industry, and NASA, the NGLSE is building a representative cross-section of the lunar science and engineering communities. The NGLSE has received NASA funding to host workshops in association with major lunar conferences, most recently the 2010 NLSI Lunar Science Forum. At this workshop, participants worked with science educators on how to effectively craft presentations for students and how to effectively communicate our exciting science and engineering endeavors to the public. The workshop also provided opportunities for participants to network, to communicate their science and engineering to each other, and to interact with NASA leaders and established members of the science and engineering communities. Building a community of active participants who are not only dedicated to becoming productive members of the lunar science and engineering communities but also trained in effective science communication to their peers and the public, writing winning proposals, and leading effective education and public outreach efforts is fundamentally important in building a sustainable, long-lived, and publicly supported lunar science and exploration program. We will report on the progress of the NGLSE group and our workshops, including the needs and interests of this community as identified through our efforts.
Moon Zoo: Educating side-by-side with Doing Science (Invited)
The Moon Zoo citizen science project (http://www.moonzoo.org) engages individuals - primarily members of the public - in identifying geological (and sometimes technological) features on the lunar surface. Using a flash-based interface that runs in a web browser, users can mark craters, linear features, and even left-behind lunar landers on Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter images. These science tools are embedded in an environment designed to encourage learning and collaboration. On the main Moon Zoo site users can explore educational content, including video tutorials, articles, glossary terms, and flash interactive activities. Additionally, there is a blog and a forum to encourage collaboration and social learning, and a twitter feed for general communications. Through this suite of software Moon Zoo users can contribute to science while learning about the Moon and geology. The Moon Zoo educational content is designed with one purpose in mind: To make sure that a curious user can find information quickly, easily, and on (or within 1-click of) the Moon Zoo site. The Internet is filled with many excellent lunar educational products, and many high-quality digital products exist in offline archives. Finding desired resources, however, can sometimes be a challenge even for professional educators. In order to make finding content easier, we developed a glossary list and a basic concept map for our website that addresses geology, lunar exploration, observing, and the moon in history and culture, and then we populated these terms and concepts with already available materials. We also do things in a way that encourages both doing science tasks and learning at the same time! Specifically, we use pop-out audio and video players that allow users to listen, learn, and classify the lunar surface all at once. To try and understand our users better we are conducting both learning and motivations studies while also monitoring site usage. Our learning assessments use an assessment tool designed by Sebastien Cormier and Ed Prather. At the time of this writing, data collection is still in progress. We are asking users with a variety of different experience levels within Moon Zoo to answer concept questions to assess if we can measure a higher conceptual knowledge in people who have spent more time in Moon Zoo and see change over time in individual users. We are also doing interview-based grounded theory investigations into what motivates people to come to Moon Zoo and to continue using the site. Preliminary results of the investigations will be presented, along with user behaviors, and other website statistics-based research. This work is funded through NASA ROSES grant NNX09AD34G and NSF grant DRL-0917608.
The Lunar Science Education Vision: Bringing the Moon to All of Us! (Invited)
The Lunar Science Education Vision effort seeks to gauge the current state of practice of lunar education and develop a 5-year roadmap that increases the quality and reach of lunar education. As part of this current effort, educators from the NASA Lunar Science Institute have identified current efforts and gaps for all audiences, efforts that would help coordinate and extend current efforts, and a broad group of stakeholders that need to be involved to insure wide reach and impact of the Vision document. This talk updates the status of the Vision and raises a call to the community to participate in the Vision’s development.
The NASA Lunar Science Institute Education and Pubic Outreach Program
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has a clear set of goals and objectives related to education and public outreach. These goals follow directly from NASA's mission "to inspire the next generation of Scientists and Explorers." The NASA lunar Science Institute (NLSI) has adopted these goals as a backbone of our education program and made Education and Outreach major pillars in its foundation and Mission Statements. In this talk we will look at how the NLSI Education and Public Outreach (EPO) program has been a major element in preparing the next generation of scientists and in sharing with the public the excitement of discoveries we make when we explore the Moon.
Lunar Quest in Second Life, Lunar Exploration Island, Phase II
Linden Lab’s Second Life is a virtual 3D metaverse created by users. At any one time there may be 40,000-50,000 users on line. Users develop a persona and are seen on screen as a human figure or avatar. Avatars move through Second Life by walking, flying, or teleporting. Users form communities or groups of mutual interest such as music, computer graphics, and education. These groups communicate via e-mail, voice, and text within Second Life. Information on downloading the Second Life browser and joining can be found on the Second Life website: www.secondlife.com. This poster details Phase II in the development of Lunar Exploration Island (LEI) located in Second Life. Phase I LEI highlighted NASA’s LRO/LCROSS mission. Avatars enter LEI via teleportation arriving at a hall of flight housing interactive exhibits on the LRO/ LCROSS missions including full size models of the two spacecraft and launch vehicle. Storyboards with information about the missions interpret the exhibits while links to external websites provide further information on the mission, both spacecraft’s instrument suites, and related EPO. Other lunar related activities such as My Moon and NLSI EPO programs. A special exhibit was designed for International Observe the Moon Night activities with links to websites for further information. The sim includes several sites for meetings, a conference stage to host talks, and a screen for viewing NASATV coverage of mission and other televised events. In Phase II exhibits are updated to reflect on-going lunar exploration highlights, discoveries, and future missions. A new section of LEI has been developed to showcase NASA’s Lunar Quest program. A new exhibit hall with Lunar Quest information has been designed and is being populated with Lunar Quest information, spacecraft models (LADEE is in place) and kiosks. A two stage interactive demonstration illustrates lunar phases with static and 3-D stations. As NASA’s Lunar Quest program matures further exhibits are planned. One proposal is to develop a teacher-training program to acquaint teachers with the Lunar Quest program and to provide resources.
Educating the Next Generation of Lunar Scientists
The Center for Lunar Science and Exploration (CLSE), a collaboration between the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) and NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC), is one of seven member teams of the NASA Lunar Science Institute (NLSI). In addition to research and exploration activities, the CLSE team is deeply invested in education and outreach. In support of NASA’s and NLSI’s objective to train the next generation of scientists, CLSE’s High School Lunar Research Project is a conduit through which high school students can actively participate in lunar science and learn about pathways into scientific careers. The High School Lunar Research Project engages teams of high school students in authentic lunar research that envelopes them in the process of science and supports the science goals of the CLSE. Most high school students’ lack of scientific research experience leaves them without an understanding of science as a process. Because of this, each team is paired with a lunar scientist mentor responsible for guiding students through the process of conducting a scientific investigation. Before beginning their research, students undertake “Moon 101,” designed to familiarize them with lunar geology and exploration. Students read articles covering various lunar geology topics and analyze images from past and current lunar missions to become familiar with available lunar data sets. At the end of “Moon 101”, students present a characterization of the geology and chronology of features surrounding the Apollo 11 landing site. To begin their research, teams choose a research subject from a pool of topics compiled by the CLSE staff. After choosing a topic, student teams ask their own research questions, within the context of the larger question, and design their own research approach to direct their investigation. At the conclusion of their research, teams present their results and, after receiving feedback, create and present a conference style poster to a panel of lunar scientists. This panel judges the presentations and selects one team to present their research at the annual NLSI Forum. In addition to research, teams interact with lunar scientists during monthly webcasts in which scientists present information on lunar science and careers. Working with school guidance counselors, the CLSE staff assists interested students in making connections with lunar science faculty across the country. Evaluation data from the pilot program revealed that the program influenced some students to consider a career in science or helped to strengthen their current desire to pursue a career in science. The most common feedback from both teachers and mentors was that they would like more direction from CLSE staff. In light of these findings, a few questions arise when looking ahead. How do we meet the needs of our participants without compromising the program’s open inquiry philosophy? Are our expectations simply not clear? How do we keep students excited once the program ends? Is it feasible, as a community, to support them from the moment the program ends until they enter college? Finally, do we have a responsibility as a community to work together to connect students with university faculty?
Examining the Motivation and Learning Strategies Use of Different Populations in Introductory Geosciences
The GARNET (Geoscience Affective Research Network) project examines the connection between student affect (attitudes, motivation, values, and regulation of learning) and geoscience learning outcomes. We investigated demographic groups participating in similar introductory geoscience courses. The Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ; Pintrich et al., 1993) was used to measure student affect early and late in the semester with students from 7 institutions representing a range from community college to PhD granting universities. We analyzed differences in students on the basis of gender (539 males vs. 607 females) in 14 classes. We also examined contrasts on the basis of ethnicity for students enrolled in 4 classes where underrepresented ethnic groups made up 20% or more of the class. All of the data are from the 2009/2010 academic year. A MANOVA analysis of gender data indicate that female students enter the introductory geoscience classroom with significantly lower self-efficacy (confidence in their ability to succeed) than their male counterparts. Female students also reported employing a greater range of learning strategies. Both female and male students received similar final grades (no statistical difference between the populations), however, female students report that they are less likely to take another geology class relative to males. Wilcoxen analyses indicate that many of the factors that affect Caucasian students also affect students from underrepresented ethnic groups. However, both populations begin the course as distinctly different statistical groups. A decline in self-efficacy over the semester is noted for different demographic groups. Minority students begin the semester with a lower average self-efficacy (4.9/7) than the Caucasian students (5.2/7). The amount of effort that students anticipate putting into a class displays a similar trend; minority students enter with lower scores 4.8/7 vs. 5.1/7. Both populations have a similar level of interest in science as they enter the classroom, but minority students’ interest in science at the end of the semester significantly declines relative to that of Caucasians. These findings have implications for student success in the course and their decisions to enroll in future geoscience classes. If we hope to recruit students into competitive research programs, changes need to occur at the introductory level in order to address these affective experiences for our students that present an obstacle to their participation in future coursework.
Community-Based Science: A Response to UCSD's Ongoing Racism Crisis
In February, 2010, the University of California - San Diego's long simmering racism crisis erupted in response to a series of racist provocations, including a fraternity party titled "The Compton Cookout" and a noose discovered in the main library. Student groups led by the Black Student Union organized a series of protests, occupations and discussions highlighting the situation at UCSD (including the low fraction of African American students: 1.3%), and pressuring the university to take action. Extensive interviews (March-May, 2010) with participants in the protests indicate that most felt the UCSD senior administration's response was inadequate and failed to address the underlying causes of the crisis. In an attempt to contribute to a more welcoming university that connects to working class communities of color, we have developed an educational program directed towards students in the environmental- and geo-sciences that seeks to establish genuine, two-way links between students and working people, with a focus on City Heights, a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual diverse immigrant community 20 miles from UCSD. Elements of the program include: --critiquing research universities and their connection to working class communities --learning about and discussing issues affecting City Heights, including community, environmental racism, health and traditional knowledge; --interviewing organizers and activists to find out about the stories and struggles of the community; --working on joint projects affecting environmental quality in City Heights with high school students; --partnering with individual high school students to develop a proposal for a joint science project of mutual interest; --developing a proposal for how UCSD could change to better interface with City Heights. An assessment of the impact of the program on individual community members and UCSD students and on developing enduring links between City Heights and UCSD will be presented followed by a preliminary evaluation of the potential of the program to contribute to changing the environment at UCSD in the long term.
Every Student Counts: Broadening Participation in the Geosciences through a Multiyear Internship Program
The number of Ph.D.s from underrepresented populations graduating each year in the geosciences lags behind all other sciences including physics. This results in a dearth of minorities acting as role models in higher education. Overall, African Americans, Native Americans, and Hispanics comprised a total of 6% of the Ph.D. graduates in 2005 compared to about 27% of the general population. African Americans were the most poorly represented relative to their proportion in the U.S. population, comprising only 1% of Ph.D.s in the geosciences compared to 12% of the population. Only one African American woman Ph.D. graduated in the geosciences in the U.S. in each of 2004 and 2005, while proportionally one would expect 28 to obtain a Ph.D. each year. Our multiyear internship program, RESESS helps to carry students from underrepresented minority populations through to graduate programs by preparing them for graduate school. Our interns experience an authentic summer research experience at a university, the USGS, or UNAVCO, while doing an intensive writing course and working closely with a science and writing mentor. We continue mentoring during the academic year, as students apply for graduate school and scholarships, and present their research results at professional conferences. RESESS focuses on the Earth sciences and partners with SOARS, which focuses on atmospheric and related sciences. Our future goals include developing more RESESS pods elsewhere in the country, making it possible for students to do community-driven research, and increasing the diversity of support for the program through new and stronger partnerships with organizations such as the U.S.G.S., the National Parks Service, and other universities. In this paper, we will present current statistics on diversity in higher education in the geoscience, details of our program, and conclusions about effective means of supporting minority students in the bridge to graduate school. When the numbers are this low, every student counts.
Diana Prado Garzon at work in summer of 2010.
Outreach to Inspire Girls in Geology: A Recipe for Success (Invited)
Geology and engineering careers can seem very abstract to a young girl, especially to a girl who has no role model in technical fields. Many girls want to make the world a better place but don’t see how their interests connect with geology or engineering. Role models and field trips to worksites are instrumental in encouraging girls to consider careers in geoscience and engineering. The opportunities to see real-world applications of technology and meet with role models who work in technical fields are extremely impactful and can have a strong influence on a girl’s career path. Together we need to do a better job of communicating what geoscience and engineering have to offer girls and what girls have to offer these fields. This presentation will provide practical tips to help combat stereotypes, 2) share resources for outreach at one-day special events, summer camps, visits to the classroom and field trips to corporate sites and college campuses, and 3) highlight strategies for groups to work collaboratively in outreach. This presentation will help those currently involved in outreach who want to improve on existing efforts, along with those who have never done outreach and are interested in getting started. Techbridge will share a “recipe for success” for planning and hosting role model visits to the classroom and field trips. A case study of outreach by Chevron with Techbridge girls will be shared including the pre-event planning that made this event a success. Activities that make geology fun and friendly to girls and tips for dispelling stereotypes about careers in geology and engineering will also be shared. Participants will be invited to ask questions and share on topics of interest, such as “Challenges with outreach,” “How to get involved without burning out,” and “How to show your manager or organization that outreach is worth the effort.” We will also promote a candid discussion of the challenges that can arise along with way and how to overcome them. Participants will receive a copy of our role model outreach guide and CD toolkit, Get Involved. Make a Difference, developed by the Techbridge team. This guide includes practical tips and suggestions as well as successful case studies in outreach to K-12. These materials include sample icebreakers and hands-on activities, biographies of students and role models, questions to facilitate conversations between role models and students, scavenger hunts for tours, suggested schedule and timeline, evaluations, tips for success, and more.
ED31B-0630 Poster [WITHDRAWN]
Embracing "Soft Skill" Diversity in the Workplace (Invited)
Embracing "Soft Skill" Diversity in the Workplace Terri Thomas, Sr. Director Global Customer Support ShoreTel INRODUCTION Truly successful diversity programs go beyond gender, age, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation and spiritual practice. They include diversity of thought, style, leadership and communication styles, the so called “soft skills”. The increasing need for global workforces is stronger than ever and high performance teams have fully embraced, successfully harnessed and put into practice robust diversity programs than include a “soft skill” focus. Managing diversity presents significant organizational challenges, and is not an easy task, particularly in organizations that are heavily weighted with highly technical professionals such as engineers, accountants etc.. The focus of this presentation is on leveraging the “Soft Skills” diversity in technical work environments to create high performance and highly productive teams. WHY DIVERSITY and WHY NOW? Due to increasing changes in the U.S. population, in order to stay competitive, companies need to focus on diversity and look for ways to become inclusive organizations because diversity has the potential of yielding greater productivity and competitive advantages . Managing and valuing diversity is a key component of effective people management, which can improve workplace productivity (Black Enterprise, 2001). Changing demographics, from organizational restructuring, women in the workplace, equal opportunity legislation and other legal issues, are forcing organizations to become more aggressive in implementing robust diversity practices. However, YOU do not need to wait for your organization to introduce a formal “Diversity” program. There are steps you can take to introduce diversity into your own workgroups. There is no “one single answer” to solve this issue, however this discussion will provide thought provoking ideas, examples of success and failure and a starting point for you to implement “soft skill” diversity practices in your work environment. Most workplaces are made up of many aspects of diversity already so why not embrace it and use it to your competitive advantage.
The Ocean Carbon and Biogeochemistry (OCB) Program
The Ocean Carbon and Biogeochemistry (OCB) Program and its Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) were created by NSF, NASA, and NOAA in 2006 to promote, plan, and coordinate collaborative, multidisciplinary research opportunities on marine biogeochemical cycling and ecosystem processes within the U.S. and with international partners. OCB focuses on the ocean’s role as a component of the global Earth system, bringing together research in biology, chemistry, and physics to advance our understanding of marine ecosystems and biogeochemical cycling. The OCB Project Office, which is based at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), provides an important service to the scientific community by organizing timely and strategic community workshops and activities; developing and communicating OCB and OCB-relevant products and activities; interfacing with and providing direct input to national and international carbon cycle science programs and activities; and developing education and outreach activities and products with the goal of promoting ocean carbon science to broader audiences. The scope of OCB-related activities encompasses a hierarchy from single and multi-investigator research projects to larger, coordinated efforts currently in the planning stages. Here we will provide an overview of OCB, including its programmatic structure and current scientific foci, and report on key outcomes and challenges of recent OCB activities.
Learning About Energy Resources Through Student Created Video Documentaries in the University Science Classroom
Students enrolled in an undergraduate non-science majors’ Energy Perspectives course created 10-15 minute video documentaries on topics related to Energy Resources and the Environment. Video project topics included wave, biodiesel, clean coal, hydro, solar and “off-the-grid” energy technologies. No student had any prior experience with creating video projects. Students had Liberal Arts academic backgrounds that included Anthropology, Theater Arts, International Studies, English and Early Childhood Education. Students were required to: 1) select a topic, 2) conduct research, 3) write a narrative, 4) construct a project storyboard, 5) shoot or acquire video and photos (from legal sources), 6) record the narrative, and 7) construct the video documentary. This study describes the instructional approach of using student created video documentaries as projects in an undergraduate non-science majors’ science course. Two knowledge survey instruments were used for assessment purposes. Each instrument was administered Pre-, Mid- and Post course. One survey focused on the skills necessary to research and produce video documentaries. Results showed students acquired enhanced technology skills especially with regard to research techniques, writing skills and video editing. The second survey assessed students’ content knowledge acquired from each documentary. Results indicated students’ increased their content knowledge of energy resource topics. Students reported very favorable evaluations concerning their experience with creating “Ken Burns” video project documentaries.
Earthquake Precursors in Thermal Infrared Data
As part of an agreement between NASA and the Arab Youth Venture Foundation (AYVF), three engineering students from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) participated in a 10-week experiential learning program this summer. This educational program is managed by the NASA Ames Research Center Office of Education and Public Outreach and is administered by the Education Associates Program (EAP). One of the research projects under this program tested the hypothesis that signals emitted by the Earth’s surface prior to the occurrence of an earthquake, including thermal infrared (TIR) emissions, can be detected through appropriate analysis of data collected by the Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) satellite sensors. After applying a set of preprocessing algorithms to the satellite data, we analyzed MODIS images showing the TIR emitted by a ground area in the days prior to an eventual earthquake. We used computing tools and software, such as MATLAB and ENVI, to isolate these pre-seismic signals from the background noise. The development of a technique to monitor pre-seismic signals holds promise in finding a method to predict earthquakes.
Korean Elementary School Students’ Perceptions of Earth Scientists
In this study, we investigated the elementary school students' perceptions of earth-scientists while a number of previous studies focused on elementary school students’ perceptions of general scientists. A modified DAST and DAST-C were administered to 138 fourth graders (68 boys and 70 girls) from an elementary school in Northern Gyeonggi province, Korea. Four students were selected for each of four categories of the DAST-C items, and semi-structured interviews were conducted with a total of 16 students. Significant differences in the students’ perceptions of earth-scientists and general scientists were found concerning lab coats (.254), study symbols (.116), secret marks (.007), and indoor studies (.333). Moreover, while in previous studies only 9% of students indicated that scientists worked together, 29.7% of elementary school students believed that earth scientists worked in groups. The interviews with four students revealed details of their perceptions. First, the students thought that the objects of earth scientific research developed for a long time period and that the research was usually carried out outdoors because earth scientists studied strata and fossils. Second, the students considered ‘observing’ and ‘reporting’ (meaning describing) the main skills in earth science. Their perceptions of research questions in earth science were also limited to, for example, the formation and the types of fossils and strata. Third, the students believed that earth scientists were mostly young because they had to travel around the world to find something. Fourth and lastly, although the students viewed earth science as dangerous, they described earth scientists with incomplete safety equipment. It is concluded that Korean elementary school students have perceptions of earth scientists which reflect some aspects of the nature of earth science and that it is necessary in elementary school science to consider these perceptions.
Dual US-Europe Graduate Degrees in Volcanology
Michigan Tech, Buffalo, Universite Blaise Pascal and University of Milan Bicocca have formed an educational consortium to offer dual MS degrees in volcanology and geotechniques. Students in the program spend half of their MS in Europe and half in the US and have graduate advisory committees that bridge the Atlantic. The new program combines the expertise of four campuses and give students a broader choice of study options than any one campus can offer, while building an international professional experience. The initiative is funded jointly by the US Department of Education and the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) of the European Community. Volcanology and geotechniques are global concerns: the volcanological community is fully globalized, while international consortia now deal with major geotechnical problems. Importantly, both fields require clear appreciation of specific local cultural, social and economical conditions. The new generation of researchers and professionals require international vision, but also the ability to understand local conditions. This masters specifically answers this need. This program will give students a language and cultural training in American English, French and Italian, as well as a wide course choice to meet each individual’s professional requirements. Students benefit from both research and professional approaches, acquiring a sound multidisciplinary profile for an excellent start to their careers. The trained INVOGE masters students will: meet a clear need for professionals/researchers with broad volcanology/geotechniques skills, and provide a workforce with international vision, but capable of addressing local projects. The project is innovative, combining international experience, strong multidisciplinary grounding and a broad subject range: students can choose among many possible advanced coursework and research combinations, and can have a broad choice of graduate advisors, field sites and professional placements. Also, we combine actual mobility with complementary virtual mobility to generate a lasting, coherent joint masters strategy. In the longer term, this exchange of a fraction of our students in both of our strongest research/graduate study areas is expected to add stronger global awareness to all partners, and contribute to improved student preparation, in academic excellence, professional learning and in linguistic/cultural aspects. The goals are to encourage students to consider international universities for PhD work and to increase cross-border professional mobility. This is the first such program in graduate geosciences.
Retention of Information as a Function of Lesson Design for Middle School Studies of Wetlands in New Jersey
Considering the breadth of innovative teaching strategies available, it is helpful to identify which will be best suited for a particular subject. With students that have a variety of interests, it is important to engage as many as possible in the lab activity, especially those who might not identify science as their preferred interest. Here we test the retention of information by middle school students after a problem-based learning (PBL) style lesson compared with an investigation where the students were given no role-playing problem. Both lessons were designed around wetlands in New Jersey: the first being a pond-edge ecosystem in a park near the middle school in Newark, NJ that the students are familiar with and the second being small, isolated peat bogs in the Pinelands of southern New Jersey that are the subject of ongoing scientific research. Days after both hands-on lessons, the students were given short, carefully designed multiple choice quizzes that tested the retention of knowledge about each of the learning objectives set forth. Results of the quizzes are nearly normally distributed, indicating a similar average performance. A higher number of students preformed better on the problem-based learning post-quiz suggesting the inclusion of a role playing scenario is useful for engaging the most students in hands-on wetlands laboratory experiments. Future work should test the retention of this type of information over time and explore other teaching strategies. We also present new ideas for an inexpensive hands-on lesson as implemented for the peat bog wetlands example that introduces basic soil science concepts to middle school and high school students.
The Capitol College Space Operations Institute: A Partnership with NASA
This presentation describes the Capitol College Space Operations Institute (SOI) partnership with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and the real-world learning experiences provided to college students. The education and public outreach (EPO) partnership works to directly encourage and support students to enter careers in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines and advance the cause of improving science literacy. The Capitol College SOI serves as a back-up control center for two NASA missions. The first is the Tropical Rainforest Measurement Mission (TRMM), which is a research satellite designed to help our understanding of the water cycle in the current climate system. By covering the tropical and semi-tropical regions of the Earth, TRMM provides much needed data on rainfall and the heat release associated with rainfall. The second is the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission that is providing a vast storehouse of knowledge about the solar system, the Milky Way, and the Universe. The session provides both an update regarding the SOI and provides new information regarding the SOI work with the two NASA missions. Emerging best practices from the learning experiences the SOI provides college students in serving as a real-life back-up control center will also be shared.
Introducing Pre-Service Teachers to Google Earth, Internet-Accessible Data, and Photochemical Smog
Pre-service elementary and middle level science teachers can and should be introduced to the power and appeal of Google Earth™ for exploring the natural environment with specific geosciences-related datasets. Google Earth™ is an easy-to-use virtual globe that enables teachers and students alike to explore the physical features of our planet, and may also be used for the examination of layered data. Future science teachers need to be trained to use this tool and introduced to the data-importing capabilities that allow it to be utilized for more in-depth purposes. Several classes of pre-service science teachers were introduced to the Earth Exploration Toolbook (EET) chapter Exploring Air Quality in Aura NO2 Data (Urban, Bojkov, Carter, Dogancay, & Fermann, 2008) and asked to evaluate its practicality and usefulness for training future teachers about the tool, data analyses, and the topic of photochemical smog through a survey consisting of Likert scale ratings and open-ended questions. Participants in the study were also asked if they would use Google Earth™ in their future classrooms as either elementary or middle school teachers. Overall trends in the data tended toward pre-service teachers supporting the use of Google Earth™ in their future classrooms, favoring the EET chapter for learning about how to use Google Earth™, enhancement of an understanding of photochemical smog through completion of the activity, and the value of using and teaching with technology in elementary and middle level classrooms.
Clouds, weather, climate, and modeling for K-12 and public audiences from the Center for Multi-scale Modeling of Atmospheric Processes
The need for improving the representation of cloud processes in climate models has been one of the most important limitations of the reliability of climate-change simulations. Now in its fifth year, the National Science Foundation-funded Center for Multi-scale Modeling of Atmospheric Processes (CMMAP) at Colorado State University (CSU) is addressing this problem through a revolutionary new approach to representing cloud processes on their native scales, including the cloud-scale interaction processes that are active in cloud systems. CMMAP has set ambitious education and human-resource goals to share basic information about the atmosphere, clouds, weather, climate, and modeling with diverse K-12 and public audiences. This is accomplished through collaborations in resource development and dissemination between CMMAP scientists, CSU’s Little Shop of Physics (LSOP) program, and the Windows to the Universe (W2U) program at University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR). Little Shop of Physics develops new hands on science activities demonstrating basic science concepts fundamental to understanding atmospheric characteristics, weather, and climate. Videos capture demonstrations of children completing these activities which are broadcast to school districts and public television programs. CMMAP and LSOP educators and scientists partner in teaching a summer professional development workshops for teachers at CSU with a semester's worth of college-level content on the basic physics of the atmosphere, weather, climate, climate modeling, and climate change, as well as dozens of LSOP inquiry-based activities suitable for use in classrooms. The W2U project complements these efforts by developing and broadly disseminating new CMMAP-related online content pages, animations, interactives, image galleries, scientists’ biographies, and LSOP videos to K-12 and public audiences. Reaching nearly 20 million users annually, W2U is highly valued as a curriculum enhancement resource, because its content is written at three levels in English and Spanish. Links between science topics and literature, art, and mythology enable teachers of English Language Learners, literacy, and the arts to integrate science into their classrooms. In summary, the CMMAP NSF-funded Science and Technology Center has established a highly effective and productive partnership of scientists and educators focused on enhancing public science literacy about weather, climate, and global change. All CMMAP, LSOP, and W2U resources can be accessed online at no cost by the entire atmospheric science K-12 and informal science education community.
www.cmmap.org http://littleshop.physics.colostate.edu www.windows2universe.org
Importance of Technical Writing in Engineering Education
It is important to recognize technical writing as a creative vehicle to communicate with the audience. It is indeed possible to motivate a reluctant learner by encouraging student writing combined with reading and research. John Kosakowski is of the opinion that writing assignments actually help to strengthen the self-confidence of a lethargic learner (Kosakowski, 1998). Researchers in the area of cognitive science and educational psychology are also of the opinion that encouraging students to writing actually helps the learners cultivate a positive attitude toward the subject matter in question. One must also recognize the fact that the students are indeed very reluctant to devote time and effort that requiress descriptive long writing assignments. One has to be more creative towards assignments that utilize problem-solving pedagogy (Saxe, 1988; Senge, 1990; Sims, 1995; Young & Young, 1999). Education World writer Gloria Chaika (Chaika, 2000) states that “Talent is important, but practice creates the solid base that allows that unique talent to soar. Like athletes, writers learn by doing. Good writing requires the same kind of dedicated practice that athletes put in. Young writers often lack the support they need to practice writing and develop their talent to the fullest, though.” Writing assignments have several key elements and the author has outlined below, some ideas for conducting assessment. 1. Identification of a purpose. 2. Focusing on the subject matter. 3. Attracting the attention of audience. 4. Format, flow and familiarity of the structure. 5. Observation of formality, voice and tone. 6. Promotion of critical thinking. 7. Importance of Logic and evidence-based reasoning. 8. Follows a realistic time line. 9. Process and procedure are properly outlined. References: Barr, R. B., & Tagg, J. (1995, November/December). From teaching to learning: A new paradigm for undergraduate education. Change: The Magazine of Higher Education, 13-24. Cox, M. D., Grasha, A., & Richlin, L. (1997, March). Town meeting. Between teaching model and learning model: Adapting and adopting bit by bit. Paper presented at the ninth annual Lilly Conference on College and University Teaching - West, Lake Arrowhead, CA. Narayanan, Mysore (2009). Assessment Based on the principles of Theodore Marchese. ASEE 116th Annual Conference and Exposition, Austin, TX. June 14-17, 2009. Paper # AC 2009-1532. Saxe, S. (1990, June). Peer influence and learning. Training and Development Journal, 42 (6), 50-53. Senge, P. M. (1990). The fifth discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization. New York: Currency Doubleday. Sims, R. R. (1992, Fall). Developing the learning climate in public sector training programs. Public Personnel Management, 21 (3), 335-346. Kosakowski, John, (1998). The Benefits of Information Technology. ERIC Digests; Technology Integration; Technology Role, ED0-IR-98-04 Chaika, Gloria (2000), Encourage Student Writing: Published on the Web, Education World http://www.education-world.com/a_tech/tech042.shtml
Virtual Workshop Experiences for Faculty: Lessons Learned from On the Cutting Edge
The On the Cutting Edge professional development program for geoscience faculty has begun offering online workshops as a supplement to its face-to-face workshop series. Following a few initial forays since 2005, Cutting Edge launched a suite of four virtual workshops in 2010: Teaching Geoscience with Service Learning, Understanding the Deep Earth, Designing Effective and Innovative Courses in the Geosciences, and Teaching Geoscience Online. Each workshop was presented over 1-2 weeks and included pre-workshop web postings, synchronous whole-group presentations, live small-group discussions, asynchronous input via threaded discussions or editable web pages, and personal time for reflection and writing. Synchronous sessions were facilitated through the Elluminate software platform which includes tools for viewing presentations, screen sharing, real-time participant response, and an ongoing chat-room discussion. Audio was provided through a separate telephone conference service. In addition, many asynchronous conversations on workshop topics were held via a threaded discussion board on the Cutting Edge website and in Wiki-like, editable web pages designed to support collaborative work. A number of challenges to running online workshops exist, primarily involving participants’ time management. It is difficult for participants to set aside enough time to complete workshop activities when they are still enmeshed in their everyday lives. It also requires new skills for speakers, participants and support staff to prepare web-based materials and navigate the technology required for the online presentations. But there are also a number of opportunities presented by these experiences. With no travel needed, an online workshop is less expensive for participants, which allows Cutting Edge to extend its commitment to providing workshop materials to a wider audience of interested faculty. Also, synchronous sessions can be recorded and posted on the website for broader community access. In terms of best practices, the most important lesson learned is the need to make the experience as “real” as possible so that participants stay engaged and feel connected to the workshop experience. This can be accomplished by making the presentations interactive, continued leader participation in threaded discussions and break out groups, and providing multiple channels for contribution and participation. Despite some initial hesitation in jumping into a virtual environment, participants gained experience and became more comfortable with collaboration via online technologies. Participants had access to their own scientific and instructional materials at their home offices, and as a result could design and complete new teaching resources more effectively during the workshop. Peer review of new instructional resources was also completed during the workshop, and virtual networks were established to support continuing work. Online workshops can be used to effectively minimize costs, extend participation, build and sustain community networks, and develop thematic collections of instructional resources and activities. Based on the success of the 2010 workshops, more online workshops are planned for the coming years.
Tuned in to the Earth from the classroom with ‘O3E’ european project
In lines with diverse initiatives regarding scientific culture and education, the ‘O3E’ experience (http://O3E.geoazur.eu) has set up a permanent educational network of schools in the Alpine and Mediterranean areas, building an exchange of knowledge on natural risks prevention. The “O3E” innovative project (European Educational Observatory for Environment) is established after 12 years (1996-2008) of regional and national original programs for education (“Seismometers at School” in France and Swiss, “Edurisk” in Italy and “ClimAtscope” in Switzerland). The project is born to promote a responsible behavior of citizens in front of the evolution of a society where scientific information is promptly available. Since 2008, a school network in the Alpine and Mediterranean areas has been equipped with environmental sensors of an educational vocation. The data on the ground motion (seismometers), the temperatures and precipitations (weather stations), the flows of rivers (hydrogeology) recorded in the schools and processed by the students are collected on dedicated servers and then made available through internet to the entire community. This network “O3E”, once installed, is the starting point of activities for students. Indeed, various general objectives are pursued: - To promote the applied sciences and new technologies. - To put in network the actors of Education and formative teaching. - To develop the sense of the autonomy and the responsibility in the young people. - To reinforce and develop relationships with regional partners of the educational and university fields. - To support a rational awakening for the prevention of the natural risks Teachers from this network can share experiences and produce new didactic tools for the classroom. This collaborative work could illustrate the conjugated efforts of researchers and teachers for a better education and awareness of the risk culture especially in young populations. Some student’s and teacher’s productions will be shown to appreciate this essential effort.
The C-MORE Scholars Program: Engaging minority students in STEM through undergraduate research
There have been several studies that show how undergraduate research experiences (REU) have a positive impact on a student’s academic studies and career path, including being a positive influence toward improving the student's lab skills and ability to work independently. Moreover, minority students appear to relate to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) concepts better when they are linked with (1) a service learning component, and (2) STEM courses that include a cultural and social aspect that engages the student in a way that does not distract from the student’s technical learning. It is also known that a “place-based” approach that incorporates traditional (indigenous) knowledge can help engage underrepresented minority groups in STEM disciplines and increase science literacy. Based on the methods and best practices used by other minority serving programs and described in the literature, the Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education (C-MORE) has successfully developed an academic-year REU to engage and train the next generation of scientists. The C-MORE Scholars Program provides undergraduate students majoring in an ocean or earth science-related field, especially underrepresented students such as Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders, the opportunity to participate in unique and cutting edge hands-on research experiences. The program appoints awardees at one of three levels based on previous research and academic experience, and students can progress through the various tiers as their skills and STEM content knowledge develop. All awardees receive guidance on a research project from a mentor who is a scientist at the university and/or industry. A key component of the program is the inclusion of professional development activities to help the student continue towards post graduation education or prepare for career opportunities after they receive their undergraduate STEM degree.
Reasoning About Nature: Graduate students and teachers integrating historic and modern science in high school math and science classes
Graduate students and faculty at East Carolina University are working with area high schools to address the common science and mathematics deficiencies of many high school students. Project RaN (Reasoning about Nature), an interdisciplinary science/math/education research project, addresses these deficiencies by focusing on the history of science and the relationship between that history and modern scientific thought and practice. The geological sciences portion of project RaN has three specific goals: (1) to elucidate the relationships among the history of scientific discovery, the geological sciences, and modern scientific thought; (2) to develop, and utilize in the classroom, instructional modules that are relevant to the modern geological sciences curriculum and that relate fundamental scientific discoveries and principles to multiple disciplines and to modern societal issues; and (3) to use these activity-based modules to heighten students’ interest in science disciplines and to generate enthusiasm for doing science in both students and instructors. The educational modules that result from this linkage of modern and historical scientific thought are activity-based, directly related to the National Science Standards for the high school sciences curriculum, and adaptable to fit each state’s standard course of study for the sciences and math. They integrate historic sciences and mathematics with modern science, contain relevant background information on both the concept(s) and scientist(s) involved, present questions that compel students to think more deeply (both qualitatively and quantitatively) about the subject matter, and include threads that branch off to related topics. Modules on topics ranging from the density to cladistics to Kepler’s laws of planetary motion have been developed and tested. Pre- and post-module data suggest that both students and teachers benefit from these interdisciplinary historically based classroom experiences.
Teaching Sustainability and Resource Management Using NOAA’s Voices Of The Bay Community Fisheries Education Curriculum
This presentation highlights the implementation of the NOAA VOICES OF THE BAY education curriculum at a two-year college. The VOICES OF THE BAY curriculum provides students with an understanding of the marine ecology, economy, and culture of fisheries through three interdisciplinary modules that use hands-on activities while meeting a wide range of science, math, social science, and communications standards. In the BALANCE IN THE BAY module, students use critical-thinking skills and apply principles of ecosystem-based management to analyze data, debate and discuss their findings, and make decisions that recognize the complex dynamics associated with maintaining a balance in fisheries. Through role-playing, teamwork, and a little fate, the FROM OCEAN TO TABLE module provides students with an opportunity to get an insider’s view of what it takes to be an active stakeholder in a commercial fishery. In the CAPTURING THE VOICES OF THE BAY module, students research, plan, and conduct personal interviews with citizens of the local fishing community and explore the multiple dimensions of fisheries and how they inter-connect through the lives of those who live and work in the region. The VOICES OF THE BAY modules were introduced into the curriculum at Los Angeles Valley College during the Fall 2009 semester and are currently being used in the introductory Oceanography lecture, introductory Oceanography laboratory, and Environmental Science laboratory courses. Examples of curriculum materials being used (power point presentations, module worksheets and simulated fishing activities) will be presented. In addition, samples of completed student worksheets for the three interdisciplinary modules are provided. Students commented that their overall awareness and knowledge of the issues involved in sustainable fishing and managing fishery resources increased following completion of the VOICES OF THE BAY education curriculum. Students enrolled in the laboratory sections commented that the lab was more enjoyable than the typical lab exercises and the hands-on nature of the activity made the concept of sustainable fishing more real to them. The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary sponsor professional development workshops to selected faculty to introduce the VOICES OF THE BAY fisheries education curriculum and assist with implementation in the classroom. Classroom materials are also available on the website http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/education/voicesofthebay.html or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sustainable Development of Research Capacity in West Africa
In West Africa, the management and efficient use of natural resources is becoming ever more important. This is largely due to steeply increasing demand through population growth and economic development, and through the effects of greater uncertainty due to climate and environmental change. Developing research capacity in these countries is an essential step in enabling them to assess their natural resources independently, and to develop national strategies and policies to manage their natural resources in the light of growing demand and increasing climatic uncertainty. The project “Sustainable Development of Research Capacity in West Africa based on the GLOWA Volta Project” (SDRC) is an 18 month project, funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research, to strengthen the research capacity in West Africa. The SDRC is based on three columns: I. knowledge transfer and strengthening of human capacity; II. strengthening of infrastructural research capacity; and III. strengthening the institutional capacity. The SDRC makes use of the wide range of research results and decision support tools developed in the GLOWA Volta Project (GVP), a nine-year, interdisciplinary research project (2000-2009) with a regional focus on the Volta Basin. The tools and models that have been transferred and trained in the framework of GVP and SDRC cover a range of topics, such as modeling the onset of the rainy season, hydrological, economic, hydro-economic modeling, GIS and Remote Sensing, and the training of database managers, to name a few. Infrastructural capacity is developed by the transfer of a micro-meteorological research network to the Meteorological Service of Burkina Faso, joint operation of a tele-transmitted hydrological gauging network with the Hydrological Service of Ghana, and the provision of hard- and software capacity to use the trained models. At the center of the SDRC effort is the strengthening of the Volta Basin Authority, a newly established river basin authority with a transnational mandate, by strengthening its supporting scientific network and through the transfer of a publicly accessible online Geoportal for the dissemination of geospatial data and research results. The Geoportal is an effort to overcome the data scarcity previously observed in the Volta Basin, and represents the first comprehensive, publicly accessible data- and meta-database for the Volta Basin. The Geoportal can be used to search for data, for interactive mapping or the download of ready-made maps, and to publish and share new data. Local institutions are actively involved in acquiring data for the Geoportal, and trained in its operation. For the contributing institutions, the protection of data ownership and the ability to manage data access and use rights are of great importance. It allows participating institutions to publish the existence of their data and facilitate access to it without sacrificing their ownership rights. The Geoportal can be accessed at http://220.127.116.11/Geoportal
A Sense of Scale: Expanding Effective and Flexible Implementations of The Math You Need
The Math You Need, When You Need It (TMYN) began as a project to build online modular student tutorials that 1) reduce the amount of time spent in the introductory geoscience classroom remediating math and 2) increase students’ quantitative abilities in general education classrooms. Successful pilots at University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and Highline Community College suggested that these asynchronous online tutorials were effective when used in conjunction with introductory college geoscience courses. Results from the pilots and a survey of instructors provided the impetus for a second study to support widespread use of the tutorials and investigate the effectiveness of asynchronous quantitative modules in a variety of introductory geoscience classrooms. We present our model for a three-phase expansion from two pilot institutions with faculty familiar with TMYN resources to the training of several dozen instructors at a range of institutions across the US over the next 3-4 years. During the completed Phase 1 of the expansion, we identified and individually trained four first round implementers (FRIs) - faculty from diverse institutions who indicated interest in remediating students’ quantitative skills - to integrate TMYN into their courses in Spring 2010. Data collected during these and previous implementations of TMYN were used to inform development of Phase 2 by identifying best practices, recognizing needed support for instructors, and demonstrating that these resources are flexible enough to use in a variety of collegiate settings. Phase 2 - expansion of TMYN to a larger group of up to 35 new institutions - involved revising our protocol for collecting quantitative data, designing a new survey mechanisms for gathering essential qualitative institutional data, and developing workshops focused on training a larger number of implementers in best practices and technologies used for TMYN. Phase 2, currently underway, involves three essential community-building activities: the incorporation of successful implementers as leaders in effective design of implementations at workshops, participation of interested instructors in training workshops and a set of new implementation pages with designs and discussions of best practices on the TMYN website. Phase 2 workshops will aid in the development of our planned Phase 3 - an online workshop to train many more faculty to effectively implement these resources. Ultimately, expansion of the project will result in accumulation of both qualitative and quantitative data about effectiveness and flexibility of TMYN, provide professional development opportunities for faculty to support the design of unique and effective implementations, and build a community of educators committed to increasing the quantitative content of introductory geoscience courses.
How Global Science has yet to Bridge Global Differences - A Status Report of the IUGS Taskforce on Global Geoscience Workforce
The International Union of Geological Sciences, with endorsement by UNESCO, has established a taskforce on global geosciences workforce and has tasked the American Geological Institute to take a lead. Springing from a session on global geosciences at the IGC33 in Oslo, Norway, the taskforce is to address three issues on a global scale: define the geosciences, determine the producers and consumers of geoscientists, and frame the understandings to propose pathways towards improved global capacity building in the geosciences. With the combination of rapid retirements in the developed world, and rapid economic expansion and impact of resource and hazard issues in the developing world, the next 25 years will be a dynamic time for the geosciences. However, to date there has been little more than a cursory sense of who and what the geosciences are globally and whether we will be able to address the varied needs and issues in the developed and the developing worlds. Based on prior IUGS estimates, about 50% of all working geoscientists reside in the Unites States, and the US was also producing about 50% of all new geosciences graduate degrees globally. Work from the first year of the taskforce has elucidated the immense complexity of the issue of defining the geosciences, as it bring is enormous cultural and political frameworks, but also shed light on the status of the geosciences in each country. Likewise, this leads to issues of who is actually producing and consuming geoscience talent, and whether countries are meeting domestic demand, and if not, is external talent available to import. Many US-based assumptions about the role of various countries in the geosciences’ global community of people, namely China and India, appear to have been misplaced. In addition, the migration of geoscientists between countries raised enormous questions about what is nationality and if there is an ideal ‘global geoscientist.’ But more than anything, the taskforce is revealing clear global trends in geosciences education, both at the pre-college and university level and frame the state of health of geosciences education in the United States in a totally new light. But indicators are present that the developing world will likely overtake the developed world in the near future in the production of geoscientists, but a key question is will that fundamentally change the nature of the science given the social, cultural, and educational frameworks that the next global generation brings with them.
The European Geoscience Union (EGU) Geoscience Information For Teachers (GIFT) Workshops
GIFT workshops are a two-and-a-half-day teacher enhancement workshops organized by the EGU Committee on Education and held in conjunction with the EGU annual General Assembly. The program of each workshop focuses on a different general theme each year. Past themes have included, for example, “The Polar Regions”, “The Carbon Cycle” and “The Earth From Space”. These workshops combine scientific presentations on current research in the Earth and Space Sciences, given by prominent scientists attending EGU General Assemblies, with hands-on, inquiry-based activities that can be used by the teachers in their classrooms to explain related scientific principles or topics. Participating teachers are also invited to present their own classroom activities to their colleagues, even when not directly related to the current program. The main objective of these workshops is to spread first-hand scientific information to teachers in primary and secondary schools, significantly shortening the time between discovery and textbook. The GIFT workshop provides the teachers with materials that can be directly incorporated into their classroom, as well as those of their colleagues at home institutions. In addition, the full immersion of science teachers in a truly scientific context (EGU General Assemblies) and the direct contact with leading geoscientists stimulates curiosity towards research that the teachers can transmit to their pupils. In addition to their scientific content, the GIFT workshops are of high societal value. The value of bringing teachers from many nations together includes the potential for networking and collaborations, the sharing of experiences and an awareness of science education as it is presented in other countries. Since 2003, the EGU GIFT workshops have brought together more than 500 teachers from more than 20 nations. At all previous EGU GIFT workshops teachers mingled with others from outside their own country, informally interacted with the scientists, providing a venue for rich dialogue for all participants. The dialogues often included ideas about learning, presentation of science content and curriculum. Programs and presentations of past GIFT workshops, with some available with Web streaming, are available.
Good Morning from Barrow, Alaska! Helping K-12 students understand the importance of research
This presentation focuses on how an educator experiences scientific research and how those experiences can help foster K-12 students’ understanding of research being conducted in Barrow, Alaska. According to Zhang and Fulford (1994), real-time electronic field trips help to provide a sense of closeness and relevance. In combination with experts in the field, the electronic experience can help students to better understand the phenomenon being studied, thus strengthening the student’s conceptual knowledge (Zhang & Fulford, 1994). During a seven day research trip to study the arctic sea ice, five rural Virginia teachers and their students participated in Skype sessions with the participating educator and other members of the Radford University research team. The students were able to view the current conditions in Barrow, listen to members of the research team describe what their contributions were to the research, and ask questions about the research and Alaska in general. Collaborations between students and scientist can have long lasting benefits for both educators and students in promoting an understanding of the research process and understanding why our world is changing. By using multimedia venues such as Skype students are able to interact with researchers both visually and verbally, forming the basis for students’ interest in science. A learner’s level of engagement is affected by the use of multimedia, especially the level of cognitive processing. Visual images alone do no promote the development of good problem solving skills. However, the students are able to develop better problem solving skills when both visual images and verbal interactions are used together. As students form higher confidence levels by improving their ability to problem solve, their interest in science also increases. It is possible that this interest could turn into a passion for science, which could result in more students wanting to become scientists or science teachers.
Unlocking Resources: Self-Guided Student Explorations of Science Museum and Aquarium Exhibits
Remarkably few undergraduate programs take full advantage of the rich resources provided by science museums, aquariums and other informal science education institutions. This is not surprising considering the logistical hurdles of class trips, but an even more fundamental barrier is that these institutions’ exhibit text seldom explicitly convey their information at a level suitable for undergraduate curriculum. Traditionally, this left the burden of interpretation on individual instructors, who rarely have the time to undertake it. To overcome these hurdles, the University of Minnesota has partnered with the Science Museum of Minnesota and Underwater Adventures Aquarium to test the efficacy of self-guided student explorations in revealing the rich data encoded in museum and aquarium exhibits. An initial module at the Science Museum of Minnesota focused on interpreting animal designs, specifically exploring how differences in dinosaur skeletal features reflected variations in the animals’ lifestyles. Students learn to interpret diet and lifestyle not only from characteristics of the skull and teeth, but also from variations in vertebrae and rib design or the relative proportion of limb elements. A follow-up module, based on exhibits at Underwater Adventures Aquarium focuses on interpreting energy flow through ecosystems from the behavior of living organisms. Students explore the information on lifestyle and diet that is encoded in a sturgeon’s ceaseless glide or a muskellunge’s poised stillness. These modules proved to be immensely popular with students. In classes with up to 500 students, half to two-thirds of the students volunteered to complete the modules, despite the additional expense and distances of up to 13 miles between the University and partner institutions. More importantly, quantitative assessment with pre-instruction and post-instruction surveys demonstrate that these ungraded, self-guided explorations match or exceed the efficacy of traditional graded lab instruction and completely eclipse the range of gains normally achieved by traditional lecture instruction. In addition, the modules accomplish the remarkable goal of integrating undergraduate earth science instruction into students’ social life. Over three-fourths of the students complete the explorations with friends or family who were not enrolled in the class, expanding the course to include a broader, more diverse, audience. A third module, currently in development, will use a walking tour of Saint Anthony Falls to highlight the impact of geological processes on human society. Students will explore the waterfalls’ evolution, its early interpretation by 18th and 19th century Dakota and Euro-America societies, as well as its subsequent social and economic impacts on human history. The outdoor nature of this self-guided exploration is a first step towards expanding the modules’ concept to integrate self-guided field trips into undergraduate earth science curriculums.
Enhancing the Teaching of Digital Processing of Remote Sensing Image Course through Geospatial Web Processing Services
Remote sensing (RS) is an essential method to collect data for Earth science research. Huge amount of remote sensing data, most of them in the image form, have been acquired. Almost all geography departments in the world offer courses in digital processing of remote sensing images. Such courses place emphasis on how to digitally process large amount of multi-source images for solving real world problems. However, due to the diversity and complexity of RS images and the shortcomings of current data and processing infrastructure, obstacles for effectively teaching such courses still remain. The major obstacles include 1) difficulties in finding, accessing, integrating and using massive RS images by students and educators, and 2) inadequate processing functions and computing facilities for students to freely explore the massive data. Recent development in geospatial Web processing service systems, which make massive data, computing powers, and processing capabilities to average Internet users anywhere in the world, promises the removal of the obstacles. The GeoBrain system developed by CSISS is an example of such systems. All functions available in GRASS Open Source GIS have been implemented as Web services in GeoBrain. Petabytes of remote sensing images in NASA data centers, the USGS Landsat data archive, and NOAA CLASS are accessible transparently and processable through GeoBrain. The GeoBrain system is operated on a high performance cluster server with large disk storage and fast Internet connection. All GeoBrain capabilities can be accessed by any Internet-connected Web browser. Dozens of universities have used GeoBrain as an ideal platform to support data-intensive remote sensing education. This presentation gives a specific example of using GeoBrain geoprocessing services to enhance the teaching of GGS 588, Digital Remote Sensing taught at the Department of Geography and Geoinformation Science, George Mason University. The course uses the textbook "Introductory Digital Image Processing, A Remote Sensing Perspective" authored by John Jensen. The textbook is widely adopted in the geography departments around the world for training students on digital processing of remote sensing images. In the traditional teaching setting for the course, the instructor prepares a set of sample remote sensing images to be used for the course. Commercial desktop remote sensing software, such as ERDAS, is used for students to do the lab exercises. The students have to do the excurses in the lab and can only use the simple images. For this specific course at GMU, we developed GeoBrain-based lab excurses for the course. With GeoBrain, students now can explore petabytes of remote sensing images in the NASA, NOAA, and USGS data archives instead of dealing only with sample images. Students have a much more powerful computing facility available for their lab excurses. They can explore the data and do the excurses any time at any place they want as long as they can access the Internet through the Web Browser. The feedbacks from students are all very positive about the learning experience on the digital image processing with the help of GeoBrain web processing services. The teaching/lab materials and GeoBrain services are freely available to anyone at http://www.laits.gmu.edu.
An Initial Inquiry into Meteorological Data Assimilation and Numerical Modeling Skills Within the Federal Government
The American Meteorological Society defines data assimilation as “the combining of diverse data, possibly sampled at different times and intervals and different locations, into a unified and consistent description of a physical system, such as the state of the atmosphere” (2000, p. 200). This unified and consistent description of the atmosphere serves as the initial conditions needed to run numerical weather prediction (NWP) models. Therefore, data assimilation is the methodology used as a forcing factor in cycles of forward NWP models. Data assimilation and numerical modeling play a key role in the Federal government’s end-to-end operational atmospheric prediction cycle. Operational meteorological centers such as the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center, the DOD Air Force Weather Agency, and the U.S. Department of Commerce/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/National Centers for Environmental Prediction rely on data assimilation and numerical modeling techniques to initialize and run their models which ultimately result in the generation of forecast products and services, which are primarily driven by model output (e.g., predicted fields of such atmospheric variables as temperature and pressure). “Over the last two decades, there has been a noticeable improvement in numerical modeling and the forecasts which these models produce. For example, the 72-h [500 h-Pa] forecasts of today are as accurate as the 36-h forecasts were 10-20 years ago. This doubling (or better) of skill in the forecasts is observed for other forecast variables, such as precipitation” (Kalnay 2003, p. 2). According to Vukicevic et al., “the major progress made over the last two decades in numerical weather prediction (NWP) … can be attributed to advances in three areas: [numerical] modeling, observing methods, and, very importantly, the improved utilization of observations, a new discipline known as data assimilation” (2004, p. 48). Improvements in data assimilation and numerical modeling underpin improvements in forecast products and services. Not only is there a link between data assimilation/numerical modeling and operational forecast products and services, but there is also a direct link between improvements in data assimilation/numerical modeling and improvements in the forecast products and services provided to end users. The focus of this paper is on data assimilation and numerical modeling skills. This paper will show through anecdotal evidence, that there appears to be a: ● Loss of skills in data assimilation and numerical modeling in the Federal government’s meteorological community, ● Growing need for scientists working in data assimilation and related activities, and ● Need to improve academic training for data assimilation and numerical modeling to (1) meet the growing demands for data assimilation and numerical modeling skilled professionals and (2) further advance data assimilation and numerical modeling methodologies. The paper will also provide some proposed actions for addressing these skill losses.
SedWorks: A 3-D visualisation software package to help students link surface processes with depositional product
Helping students to develop a cognitive and intuitive feel for the different temporal and spatial scales of processes through which the rock record is assembled is a primary goal of geoscience teaching. SedWorks is a 3-D virtual geoscience world that integrates both quantitative modelling and field-based studies into one interactive package. The program aims to help students acquire scientific content, cultivate critical thinking skills, and hone their problem solving ability, while also providing them with the opportunity to practice the activities undertaken by professional earth scientists. SedWorks is built upon a game development platform used for constructing interactive 3-D applications. Initially the software has been developed for teaching the sedimentology component of a Geoscience degree and consists of a series of continents or land masses each possessing sedimentary environments which the students visit on virtual field trips. The students are able to interact with the software to collect virtual field data from both the modern environment and the stratigraphic record, and to formulate hypotheses based on their observations which they can test through virtual physical experimentation within the program. The program is modular in design in order to enhance its adaptability and to allow scientific content to be updated so that the knowledge and skills acquired are at the cutting edge. We will present an example module in which students undertake a virtual field study of a 2-km long stretch of a river to observe how sediment is transported and deposited. On entering the field area students are able to observe different bedforms in different parts of the river as they move up- and down-stream, as well as in and out of the river. As they explore, students discover ‘hot spots’ at which particular tools become available to them. This includes tools for measuring the physical parameters of the flow and sediment bed (e.g. velocity, depth, grain size, bed slope), a zoom-in/zoom-out function (to increase or decrease the resolution of the observations, e.g. zoom-in to observe the motion of individual grains on the bed) and a sectioning tool (to allow students to cut a cross-section through a bedform to observe the sedimentary structure being created). Students are encouraged to make notes of their observations in a field notebook, as they would in the real world. Based on their observations, students form hypotheses about the relationship between the physical attributes of the flow and the way in which sediment is transported, bedforms produced and sedimentary structures created. They are able to test these hypotheses using a virtual flume in an experimental field station, conveniently located within the field area. Concepts investigated by the students during the virtual field study include controls on bedload sediment transport, bedform phase diagrams, flow structure within channels (and its effect on sediment erosion and deposition), fluvial facies models and controls on facies architecture, and landscape evolution over different temporal and spatial scales.
The First Bachelor of Science Degree in Wind Energy in the US at Texas Tech University Authors: A. Ruiz Columbié, K. Rozsavolgyi, P. Hughes, D. Farris, A. Swift, R. Walker and M. Baker
This paper presents a new Bachelor of Science Degree in Wind Energy proposal at Texas Tech University (TTU) beginning the spring 2011. It is designed to prepare the students for admission into a graduate program in wind energy, and/or employment as a professional in wind energy. The program integrates the environmental, social, economic, ethical, technical, scientific principles and practical skills the graduates will need in order to success as professionals in their field of expertise. This degree will provide a multidisciplinary education in the wind energy field through the study of subjects as wind meteorology, wind power generation, wind resource assessment, sustainable energy systems, utility systems operations, and fiscal and operational oversight. Students will be prepared to contribute in areas that include planning, development, operations, analysis and supervision of wind energy systems and projects, as well as to continue in graduate studies. Following the Texas Tech Uniform Undergraduate Degree Requirement Act, the major in Wind Energy will include 47 hours of general education courses from the TTU academic core, 18 hours of junior/senior level electives, and 55 hours of coursework in wind energy topics. A minor of 18 hours is also provided at TTU for those students with a different major who might decide to get a higher education in wind energy.
Visualizing Space Plasmas and Particles: Extraordinary Matter
A recent survey of museum visitors documented some startling misconceptions at a very basic level. Even in this "science attentive" group, one quarter of the respondents believed that an atom would explode if it lost an electron, one sixth said it would become a new atom or element, and one fifth said they had no idea what would happen. Only one fourth of the respondents indicated they were familiar with plasma as a state of matter. Current resources on these topics are few in number and/or are difficult to locate, and they rarely provide suitable context at a level understandable to high school students and educators or to the interested public. In response to this and other evidence of common misunderstandings of simple particle and plasma science, our team of space scientists and education specialists has embarked upon the development of "Extraordinary Matter: Visualizing Space Plasmas and Particles", an online NASA multimedia library. It is designed to assist formal and informal educators and scientists with explaining concepts that cannot be easily demonstrated in the everyday world. The newly released site, with a target audience equivalent to grades 9-14, includes both existing products, reviewed by our team for quality, and new products we have developed. Addition of products to our site is in large part determined by the results of our front-end evaluation to determine the specific needs, gaps, and priorities of potential audiences. Each ready-to-use product is accompanied by a supporting explanation at a reading level matching the educational level of the concept, along with educational standards addressed, and links to other associated resources. Some will include related educational activities. Products are intended to stand alone, making them adaptable to the widest range of uses, either individually or as a custom-selected group. Uses may include, for example, scientist presentations, museum displays, teacher professional development, and classroom applications. Visitors will be able to view the site with our first major development products, and they can sign up to receive periodic email updates.
Enhancing Environmental Higher Education in Eastern Europe
Higher Education plays a central role in the development of both human beings and modern societies as it enhances social, cultural and economic development, active citizenship, ethical values and expertises for a sustainable growth. Different initiatives are taking place at world level to guarantee accessibility and right to higher education. The sustainability of human development has, as relevant key factors, environment protection and natural resources enhancement. Environment is therefore becoming more and more important at global level. The Environmental policy is object of discussions, in different prime minister summits and conferences, and constitutes a priority of policy in an increasing number of countries. The European Higher Education institutions, to achieve the objectives above, and to encourage cooperation between countries, may take part in a wide range of European Commission funded programmes, such as TEMPUS, which supports the modernisation of higher education and creates an area of co-operation in countries surrounding the EU. Some important projects run by the University of Florence are the TEMPUS DEREC-Development of Environmental and Resources Engineering Curriculum (2005-2008) and its spin-off called DEREL-Development of Environment and Resources Engineering Learning (2010-2013), recently recommended for funding by the European Commission. Through the co-operation of all project consortium members (Universities in Austria, Germany, Greece, FYR Macedonia, Albania and Serbia) they are aimed at the development and introduction of first and second level curricula in “Environmental and Resources Engineering” at the Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje (FYR Macedonia). In the DEREC Project the conditions for offering a joint degree title in the field of Environmental Engineering between the University of Florence and the Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje were fulfilled and a shared educational programme leading to the mutual recognition of degree titles was defined. The DEREL Project, as logical continuation of DEREC, is aimed to introduce a new, up-to-date, postgraduate two-year curriculum in Environment and Resources Engineering at some Universities in FYR Macedonia, Serbia and Albania following the criteria and conditions for setting up a Joint Postgraduate Degree. The modernisation of higher education implies new educational requirements that, stimulated by the innovative telecommunication technologies together with novel educational materials and methodologies, lead to the development of distance learning environments. In order to provide the basis for the development of a distance learning environment based on video conferencing systems and develop a blended learning courses methodology, the TEMPUS Project VICES Videoconferencing Educational Services (2009-2012) was launched in 2009. The project is being carried out by the University of Florence and the Ss Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje with the co-operation and expertise of consortium members in Europe and Western Balkans and it foresees the implementation of videoconferencing educational modules in the frame of the DEREC Curriculum. In all above projects, the technical and methodological aspects related to environment protection and natural resources enhancement is highlighted.
The City University of New York / NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies Center for Global Climate Research - NSF REU
This NSF REU site is a collaboration between the City University of New York (CUNY) and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS). The Center for Global Climate Research (CGCR) is supporting undergraduate students in research teams anchored by NASA scientists and CUNY faculty mentors. Research investigations on climate change & impacts include: Solar Weather and Tropical Cyclone Activity, Decadal Changes in Aerosol and Asthma, Tropospheric and Stratospheric Ozone, Urban Heat Island, Sea Surface Temperature and Precipitation, Salinity and River Discharge in the Hudson River Estuary, Aerosol Optical Depth via MFRSR, Ocean turbulence: Vertical Mixing Scheme, and our projects in other areas are NMR Investigation of MnO2 Infused Carbon Nanofoams and Stratospheric Aerosols in the Jovian Atmosphere. We describe student research, significant results and enrichment activities during the Summer and Fall of 2010. The CGCR partners with the New York City Research Initiative (NYCRI) at GISS. The center is supported by NSF ATM-0851932 and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).
GSA/ExxonMobil Bighorn Basin Field Award - getting students into the field each summer
Field schools have long been a mainstay for geoscience education. They offer an intensive hands-on experience while using classroom and laboratory knowledge to solve geological problems in the field. Their importance to practicing geologists is unquestionable; however, the opportunities to experience field geology are dwindling. GSA, in cooperation with ExxonMobil, are currently offering 20 undergraduate and 5 faculty members a one week field course where they can learn practical, multi-disciplinary integrated basin exploration. In this annual, all expenses paid course, students and professors are placed into five teams through which mentoring is encouraged, activities are completed, and a final group presentation is prepared. This program provides an example of how a non-profit and industry can work together for the benefit of undergraduate students.
Climate Change at the Poles: Research Immersion Experience at Bellingshausen, Antarctica
We brought a party of 15 scientists, graduate students, and educators to King George Island, the largest of the South Shetland Islands, just off the Antarctic Peninsula, for an international workshop on Antarctica and global climate change in January 2010. Participants included professors, young scientists and graduate students from the Obukhov Institute of Atmospheric Physics, the University of Maryland, the University of Wisconsin, and the Michigan Technological University. Lindsay Bartholomew, an education and outreach specialist at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago connected the workshop via video and Internet with an audience of museum visitors. Scientists living and working at Bellingshausen, including Hans-Ulrich Peter, an eminent ecologist from Jena University (Germany), and Bulat Movlyudov (Institute of Geography, Moscow), a distinguished glaciologist, participated in the workshop. Field trips led by Peter and Movlyudov and others were made by day and lectures were held by night. Professors and graduate students made cutting-edge presentations on such subjects as permafrost, glaciology, and global climate models. Three workshop teams conducted field research projects at the foot of the Bellingshausen Dome icecap - two on carbon cycling and one on permafrost. Major funding sources for the workshop included the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (Russia), Wilderness Research Foundation (USA), NSF, University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point, Alfred Wegener Institute (Germany) and Museum for Science and Industry (Chicago). INACH, the Chilean Antarctic Institute, and IAU, the Uruguayan Antarctic Institute, provided air charter services. On King George Island, our group was billeted at Russia’s Bellingshausen science station.
Development of a ceramic membrane from a lithian spinel, Li1+xMyMn2-yO4 (M=trivalent or tetravalent cations) for a Li ion-selective electrode
Recently a few lithium containing ceramics are reported as promising cathodes for application in lithium batteries. Among them, a spinel-type lithium manganate (LM) exhibits an exceptionally high ion selectivity at room temperature. Thus, LM could have a great potential as an ion selective membrane material for screening interfering ions from lithium ion for the determination of lithium ion in salt solution. In this study, we developed an ion-selective electrode based on LM as a membrane material and investigated its lithium ion selectivity by varying the content of M in composition. A sol-gel process was successfully applied for preparing LM films without resorting to calcination at a high temperature. The LM thin film-type membranes exhibit a high selectivity for Li ion over other cations, a wide operation detection range of 10-5 ~ 10-2 M, and a fast response time less than 60 s. Furthermore, our result demonstrates a linear potentiometric response over a wide range of lithium concentration, which is compared to that of a lithium ion-selective electrode based on an ionophore. Acknowledgements: This research was supported by a grant from the Development of Technology for Extraction of Resources Dissolved in Sea Water Program funded by Ministry of Land Transport and Maritime Affairs in Korean Government (2010).
Open Course Ware, Distance Education, and 21st Century Geoscience Education
Open Course Ware (OCW) allows the highest quality educational materials (including videos of lectures from the best classroom lecturers) to find a wide audience. This audience may include many who wish to obtain credentials for formal study yet who are unable to be campus-based students. This opens a role for formal, credentialed and accredited distance education (DE) to efficiently integrate OCW into DE courses. OCW materials will in this manner be able to be used for education of credential-seeking students who would not otherwise benefit from them. Modern presentation methods using the Internet and video (including mobile device) technologies may offer pedagogical advantages over even traditional classroom learning. A detailed analysis of the development of Athabasca University’s PHYS 302 Vibrations and Waves course (based mainly on MIT’s OCW), and application of lessons learned to development of PHYS 305 Electromagnetism is presented. These courses are relevant to the study of geophysics, but examples of GEOL (Geology) courses will also be mentioned, along with an broad overview of OCW resources in Geoscience.
An Inquiry-based Instruction Model Designed to Recruit and Retain 2-year and 4-year Early Underclassmen and Undeclared Students into Biogeoscience Majors
From 2006-2009, the Watershed Watch Program (NSF DUE #0525433) engaged early undergraduates and undeclared students in a student-directed, full-inquiry summer course and an academic year (AY) seminar course with engaging research interactions. Student from 4-year institutions (University of New Hampshire, Elizabeth City State University) and 2-year institutions (Great Bay Community College, College of the Albemarle) participated jointly in this program. The largest number of students (50) came from Elizabeth City State University, which is a Historically Black University. Results from this developing program indicate that undeclared students in Watershed Watch declare STEM majors at double the rate of undeclared students not in Watershed Watch. Comparison data from institution with small institutional research capacity makes direct comparisons challenging, but indicate higher rates of STEM major retention. Factors that contributed most to higher STEM major declaration rates included mentoring faculty qualities, opportunity for student-directed learning, conducting field research, minimizing lecture instruction, and student attainment of high standards for research, which imparted a high self-confidence for students to do science.
Integrating Quantitative Reasoning into STEM Courses Using an Energy and Environment Context
Many secondary and post-secondary science classes do not integrate math into their curriculum, while math classes commonly teach concepts without meaningful context. Consequently, students lack basic quantitative skills and the ability to apply them in real-world contexts. For the past three years, a Wyoming Department of Education funded Math Science Partnership at the University of Wyoming (UW) has brought together middle and high school science and math teachers to model how math and science can be taught together in a meaningful way. The UW QR-STEM project emphasizes the importance of Quantitative Reasoning (QR) to student success in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). To provide a social context, QR-STEM has focused on energy and the environment. In particular, the project has examined how QR and STEM concepts play critical roles in many of the current global challenges of energy and environment. During four 3-day workshops each summer and over several virtual and short face-to-face meetings during the academic year, UW and community college science and math faculty work with math and science teachers from middle and high schools across the state to improve QR instruction in math and science classes. During the summer workshops, faculty from chemistry, physics, earth sciences, biology and math lead sessions to: 1) improve the basic science content knowledge of teachers; 2) improve teacher understanding of math and statistical concepts, 3) model how QR can be taught by engaging teachers in sessions that integrate math and science in an energy and environment context; and 4) focus curricula using Understanding by Design to identify enduring understandings on which to center instructional strategies and assessment. In addition to presenting content, faculty work with teachers as they develop classroom lessons and larger units to be implemented during the school year. Teachers form interdisciplinary groups which often consist of math and science teachers from the same school or district. By jointly developing units focused on energy and environment, math and science curricula can be coordinated during the school year. During development, teams present their curricular ideas for peer-review. Throughout the school year, teachers implement their units and collect pre-post data on student learning. Ultimately, science teachers integrate math into their science courses, and math teachers integrate science content in their math courses. Following implementation, participants share their experiences with their peers and faculty. Of central interest during these presentations are: 1) How did the QR-STEM experience change teacher practices in the classroom?; and 2) How did the modification of their teaching practices impact student learning and their ability to successfully master QR? The UW QR-STEM has worked with Wyoming science and math teachers from across the state over the three year grant period.
Radiation Storm vs. The Magnetic Shield: Superheroes of Magnetism & Space Weather Education - A Model for Teacher Professional Development Workshops
Magnetic and electric fields and phenomena play important roles in various situations in astronomy, planetary science, and Earth science. Students often lack an intuitive sense of electromagnetic phenomena, and therefore struggle with the complexities of planetary and stellar magnetic fields. Hands-on magnetism activities can provide students with an intuitive grasp of the basics of magnetism, preparing them for more challenging conceptual studies of magnetic phenomena. For the past six years, we have been presenting a professional development workshop for teachers covering the topics of magnetism and space weather. The workshop, which has been conducted more than 20 times for a range of audiences, blends together several simple hands-on activities, background information on space weather and geomagnetism, a collection of images, animations, and interactives that illustrate important concepts, and guidance about specific links between these topics and national science education standards. These workshops have been very well-received, and have consistently been rated highly by participants in surveys. We believe the methods used in these workshops can be applied to other topics in science education and to astronomy and Earth science education specifically. In this presentation, we will describe our magnetism and space weather workshop, including some of the hands-on activities. We will describe successful aspects of the workshop and comment on ways we think this approach could be replicated for other topics. We will also display some of the interactives, graphics, and animations shown during the workshops. Resources have been added to the workshop over the years in response to recurring questions from teachers; we will comment on this process and how it might be applied to other topics. The activities and extensive background content used or referenced in the workshop are available for free on the Windows to the Universe web site (www.windows2universe.org).
Hands on activities can help students gain an intuitive grasp for natural phenomena. Iron filings and a horseshoe magnet help learners comprehend the magnetic fields above sunspot pairs.
Changes in the Demographic Characteristics of the American Geophysical Union Membership, 2006-2010
Significant change occurred in the demographic properties of the American Geophysical Union membership during the period April 2006- January 2010. During this period AGU membership decreased from 48,332 to 38,847, a drop of 19.6%. Most of the change appears to have been driven by the aging membership of the Union, especially in the United States, and the effects of the global economic crisis on employment in all sectors of economy. Of the 38,847 members in January 2010, data on the birth year and gender were available for 33,610 members including 21,567 who reside in the United States. These data were compared to a similar data set captured in April 2006. The following observations are based on this subset of the total AGU membership for who country of residence and both age and gender are known. The number of AGU members residing in the United States decreased by 18.6% during the study period. As should be expected, the changes were not spread evenly between the genders or across birth-year cohorts. Membership among males decreased by 19%, while there were 17% fewer female members. The female cohorts that experienced the greatest losses were those including women from 30-40 years old (born 1970-1979). These data appear to echo multiple studies that show women leaving the sciences for gender-specific reasons. For the purposes of this analysis, the birth-year cohorts are divided into three groups. Members born prior to 1945 compose the oldest cohort. The Baby-Boom generation includes members born between 1945 and 1964. The youngest group includes members born from 1965 onward. Because of the very small number of women in the oldest group (only 4.7%) most of the change occurred among males. The total membership loss from this group was 1,140 members, 23% of the total. The largest change occurred among Baby Boomers. The group decreased by 2,760 members, accounting for 56% of the total decline in membership among US residents. Males accounted for most of the change (2,208). Even the youngest group of members decreased in size by a total of 1,012 members, 21% of the total loss. The only 5-year cohorts that grew is size were those members born between 1980 and 1989, the youngest included in the sample. Furthermore, for what may well be the first time in the history of the AGU, a cohort (1980-1985) has more females (365) than males (301). The demography of AGU members residing elsewhere differs in three notable ways from that of members with US residency. First, the percentage of female members is considerably smaller (17% of total membership) elsewhere in the world than in the US (23%). The difference is balanced by a larger percentage of young men (49% outside the US versus 35% within) born since 1960. Finally, the Baby Boom that is so prominent in the demography of US residents does not exist elsewhere. The overall shape of the demographic pyramid for non-US residents is characteristic of a growing population. Without a remarkable change, US resident membership in AGU will continue to decrease as the membership ages and the Baby Boom generation moves into retirement.
A Solid Earth educational module, co-operatively developed by scientists and high school teachers through the Scripps Classroom Connection GK12 Program
The Scripps Classroom Connection, funded through the NSF GK-12 program, pairs local high school teachers with Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) graduate students in the earth and ocean sciences for their mutual professional development. An integral goal of the program is the collaborative production of quality earth science educational modules that are tested in the classroom and subsequently made freely available online for use by other educators. We present a brief overview of the program structure in place to support this goal and illustrate a module that we have developed on the Solid Earth & Plate Tectonics for a 9th grade Earth Science classroom. The unit includes 1) an exercise in constructing a geomagnetic polarity timescale which exposes students to authentic scientific data; 2) activities, labs, lectures and worksheets that support the scientific content; and 3) use of online resources such as Google Earth and interactive animations that help students better understand the concepts. The educational unit is being implemented in two separate local area high schools for Fall 2010 and we will report on our experiences. The co-operative efforts of teachers and scientists lead to educational materials which expose students to the scientific process and current science research, while teaching basic concepts using an engaging inquiry-based approach. In turn, graduate students involved gain experience communicating their science to non-science audiences.
Fostering Scientific Literacy: Establishing Social Relevance via the Grand Challenges
Numerous studies and polls suggest the general public’s understanding of science and scientific literacy remain woefully inadequate despite repeated calls for improvement over the last 150 years. This inability to improve scientific literacy significantly is a complex problem likely driven by a number of factors. However, we argue that past calls and efforts for improving scientific literacy have failed to: 1) articulate a truly meaningful justification for society to foster a scientifically literate public; 2) provide a rationale that motivates individuals of diverse backgrounds to become scientifically literate; 3) consider the impact of personal perspective, e.g. values, beliefs, attitudes, etc., on learning; and 4) offer a relevant and manageable framework in which to define scientific literacy. For instance, past calls for improving scientific literacy, e.g. the U.S. is behind the Soviets in the space race, U.S students rank below country X in math and science, etc., have lacked justification, personal motivation and a comprehensive framework for defining scientific literacy. In these cases, the primary justification for improving science education and scientific literacy was to regain international dominance in the space race or to advance global standing according to test results. These types of calls also articulate short-term goals that are rendered moot once they have been achieved. At the same time, teaching practices have commonly failed to consider the perspectives students bring to the classroom. Many STEM faculty do not address issues of personal perspective through ignorance or the desire to avoid controversial subjects, e g. evolution, climate change. We propose that the ‘grand challenges’ (e.g., energy, climate change, antibacterial resistance, water, etc.) humankind currently faces provides a compelling framework for developing courses and curricula well-suited for improving scientific literacy. A grand challenge paradigm offers four distinct advantages. First, it defines an enduring and meaningful rationale for society to invest resources in educational programs that promote scientific literacy. Second, it provides an educational context designed to engage individuals and motivate them to learn. Third, the nature of grand challenges provides mechanisms for addressing other affective barriers to individual learning that are commonly associated with controversial science-societal issues. Fourth, a grand challenge approach provides a framework to identify the concepts and processes of science a scientifically literate person should understand. Based on our experiences, we propose grand challenge science literacy (GCSL) courses or curricula are based on two primary foundations: the nature of science and the unifying concepts of science. Complementing this foundation is the science necessary to understand the grand challenge. To illustrate how science can contribute to crafting a just, equitable and sustainable solution, a GCSL course must also incorporate non-STEM perspectives, e.g. economics, politics. Finally, the personal perspectives learners bring to the classroom must be explicitly considered throughout the course.
Integration of Field Geophysics and Geology in an International Setting: Multidisciplinary Geoscience Field Experience at the University of Western Ontario
The pedagogical value of the field experience is unequaled: students, teaching assistants, and professors alike return with a renewed sense of purpose, community, and the context in which to place classroom education. It is widely regarded as valuable to personal development, and is required by the Canadian Council of Professional Geoscientists for professional registration. As part of our ongoing International Geoscience Field Experience Initiative, Earth Sciences students at the University of Western Ontario have the opportunity to enhance their education through a study abroad program. The focus is on a residential field experience to world-class localities, offered with the collaboration of internationally recognized academic researchers, government survey personnel, and industry leaders. Recent trips have included the Sn-W mineralization in the Cornwall district of the U.K., the Iberian Pyrite Belt (IPB) in Portugal and Spain, and the metallogenic belts of Western Turkey. The integration of geological knowledge with geophysical data was one of the key organizing principles of our recent field trips to the IPB and Western Turkey. This integration is a foundation of modern Earth Sciences, and common practice in industry, it is relatively rare in classroom settings. Lectures before departure and evening exercises during the field trip supplemented the core undergraduate curriculum in geophysics, reviewing gravity, DC resistivity, induced polarization (IP), and magnetotelluric methods, focusing on application to mineral exploration. During our trip to the IPB, partnership with industry allowed students the opportunity to work with state of the art geophysical data, acquired on an exploration prospect visited during the field trip. Multi-parameter geophysical inversions of the IP and MT data produced cross-sections in depth - results interpretable by the students in the complex geological environment of the Iberian Pyrite Belt. Although the students gained valuable geological insight, the lack of practical experience in the acquisition and processing of geophysical data was identified in course evaluations. To address this, in Western Turkey, students had the opportunity to design and acquire total magnetic field surveys using a walking magnetometer, combining a GPS receiver and proton-precession magnetometer. Using this instrument, students identified the geophysical response of subsurface features, visible in both outcrop and during traverse through open pit mines. A transect across a buried basalt - limestone contact was made, and the strike of the contact identified during subsequent data processing. Students also had the opportunity to visit an active IP-resistivity survey, observing the acquisition of this data in the field, and learn how project geologists integrate this data with geological drill cores. Finally, students designed and acquired a total magnetic field survey over an archaeological site: the Acropolis at Pergamon. By integrating data acquisition, processing, and interpretation with field visits to sites of both geological and archaeological interest, students acquired field and technical skills that ideally prepared them for a future in research or industry.
Science on a Sphere: Moon and Mercury Interactive Spherical Display using iclickers
Using data from the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) mission to Mercury and data from Clementine, Lunar Orbiter, Lunar Prospector, as well as the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission we are creating multimedia applications for the Magic Planet and Science on a Sphere (hence forth we will use SOS to denote both display types) for Mercury and the Moon, respectively. Presenting the data on this innovative and stimulating medium captures the interest, stimulates curiosity, and inspires scientific learning in children, as well as general audiences. In order to maximize the learning potential of the SOS we are constructing animated, interactive presentations which incorporate audience participation using iclickers. The interactive nature of the presentations accommodates a variety of audiences’ knowledge levels and the presentations can be adapted in real-time accordingly. The focus of the presentations are either geared toward addressing misconceptions, such as why we have seasons and phases of the Moon, or general education, for example, an interactive game where the audience’s iclicker responses control the direction of their own Moon mission while they learn about conditions on the Moon along the way. The iclickers are used as assessment tools as well as a means for the audience to control the direction of the application. As an assessment tool audience members can make predictions and answer questions using the iclicker, such as the time a full moon rises. In this manner we will be able to evaluate learning gains. In addition, the audience can use the iclickers to vote on what they want to do next. Having control over the direction of the application increases the audiences’ involvement. Both uses of the iclickers engage the audience and they become active participants rather than passive observers. An undergraduate from Leeward Community College, and a high school student from Campbell High School, are actively involved in the design and execution of these SOS applications. Both student collaborations will help us to anticipate areas of interest, field test ease of use, and determine areas of potential confusion. Their involvement in this project is intended to increase and foster their interest in planetary science, and/or another STEM related fields, while at the same time gain practical experience The applications are designed to run on either a SOS or a Magic Planet and will be available to anyone who has access to a SOS (or a Magic Planet). The goals of this project are to: 1. Increase the general public’s understanding of planetary science and awareness of NASA missions by engaging audiences with displays using the latest NASA data sets for Mercury and the Moon onto the high-tech, stimulating SOS, 2. Promote interest in science, engineering, and/or technology careers through exposure to the current MESSENGER and LRO missions and their scientific findings, and 3. Address common misconceptions.
D.E.E.P. Learning: Promoting Informal STEM Learning through Ocean Research Simulation Games
It is generally recognized that interactive digital games have the potential to promote the development of valuable learning and life skills, including data processing, decision-making, critical thinking, planning, communication and collaboration (Kirriemuir and MacFarlane, 2006). But the research and development of educational games, and the study of the educational value of interactive games in general, have lagged far behind the same efforts for games created for the purpose of entertainment. Our group is attempting to capitalize on the facts that games are now played in 67% of American households (ESA, 2010), and across a broad range of ages, by developing effective and engaging simulation games that promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) literacy in informal science education institutions (ISEIs; e.g., aquariums, museums, science centers). In particular, we are developing games based on the popular Microsoft Xbox360 gaming platform and the free Microsoft XNA game development kit, which engage ISEI visitors in the exploration and understanding of the deep-sea environment. Known as Deep-sea Extreme Environment Pilot (D.E.E.P.), the games place players in the role of piloting a remotely-operated vehicle (ROV) to complete science-based objectives associated with the exploration of ocean observing systems and hydrothermal vent environments. In addition to creating a unique educational product, our efforts are intended to identify 1) the key elements of a successful STEM-based simulation game experience in an informal science education institution, and 2) which aspects of game design (e.g., challenge, curiosity, fantasy, personal recognition) are most effective at maximizing both learning and enjoyment. We will share our progress to date, including formative assessment results from testing the game prototypes at Birch Aquarium at Scripps, and discuss the potential benefits and challenges to interactive gaming as a tool to support STEM literacy.
Building a physical "Earthquake Simulator" to explore the earthquake cycle in K12 outreach
We have devised and built a physical apparatus that simulates the strain accumulation and release cycles of the earthquake cycle. The device uses elastically connected groups of cinder blocks that are pulled across a flat surface in series. Although the load point moves at constant velocity, the frictional contact of the blocks with the ground causes each group of blocks to suffer from episodes of sliding, creep, and quiescence. Each group of blocks is equipped with a 3D accelerometer of the type used in the Quake Catcher Network (QCN). We use this system as a pedagogical model for use in teaching about the earthquake cycle. We present our experiences during an experimental demonstration of its use at a large (~100 student) outreach event. We find that our "earthquake simulator" is well suited for many age groups of students.
Encouraging and Attracting Underrepresented Racial Minorities to the Field of Geosciences-A Latin American Graduate Student Perspective
Recent studies have shown that interactions between same-race and same-gender faculty and graduate students are reported to have a greater impact on the future success of those students. In the same manner, I believe graduate students can play a pivotal role in training and attracting underrepresented racial minorities (URMs) at the high school and undergraduate level to pursue a career in geosciences. Working at Brown University for the last couple of years, I have been involved in a number of initiatives aimed at solidifying ties with the community. Most of my social work has revolved around mentoring underrepresented local minorities, as I feel that this area is where I can contribute the most. This year I began participating in the NSF funded Brown GK-12: "Physical Processes in the Environment" program. As a Latin American female graduate student in the geological sciences, I hope to teach the students-by example-that being a minority is not necessarily an obstacle, but rather an advantage that can offer a different, valuable point of view when pursuing their professional goals. I think that sharing part of my experiences and knowledge as a researcher with young minds contributes to the way they imagine themselves in the future, allowing them to believe that a career in science is within their reach and that higher education is a realistic option worth pursuing if they have the interest in doing so. From my short time as a graduate student, to have a greater impact in attracting URMs, it is critical to have the support of advisors and committee members. One must keep in mind that a graduate career is a time consuming commitment; therefore, it is necessary to undertake activities that will have the most impact on minority students in the short time available. The experience becomes even more effective if advisors are actively involved, particularly financially. Faculty advisors who can allocate funds to, for example support summer activities designed to involve URMs, are essentially leveraging funds because the overall return will be much greater than the initial investment.
Earth and Space Science in the new NRC "Conceptual Framework for New Science Education Standards"
The National Academy of Sciences has begun the process of creating a new set of K-12 science education standards. At the start of 2011 the National Research Council will release its “Conceptual Framework for New Science Education Standards,” which provides a vision for creating new and improved set of guidelines for the teaching of science. The Earth & Space content was formulated by an Earth & Space Design Team, consisting of the authors of this abstract. The “Framework,” funded by the Carnegie Foundation of New York, places a greater emphasis on the practices of learning and on major cross-cutting themes that run through the four content areas: Earth and Space Science, Physical Science, Life Science, and Engineering and Technology. One aim of the framework is to inspire a set of science standards that are more fundamental, cross-connecting, and less fact-oriented. Compared to previous efforts, the Earth & Space Science component places greater emphasis on a systems approach to Earth Science, on the interrelationships between humans and Earth systems, and on the science surrounding and connected to climate change. The organization Achieve, Inc., has already begun to use this “Framework” for the creation of a set of national K-12 science education standards.
Engaging secondary students in geoscience investigations through the use of low-cost instrumentation
Many of the future challenges facing the United States, such as climate change, securing energy resources, soil degradation, water resources, and atmospheric pollution, are part of the domain of geosciences. Currently, our colleges and universities are not graduating enough geoscience majors to meet this demand, with only 0.27% of all bachelor's degrees granted in geoscience fields in 2006, the fewest in any scientific field (NSF 2008). Moreover, undergraduate recruitment in geosciences from traditionally underrepresented groups is significantly poorer than other STEM fields, with underrepresented groups comprising just 5% of total geoscience bachelor’s degrees awarded (Czujko 2004). Undergraduate geoscience programs therefore have a critical need to not just grow in size, but to expand the spectrum of students within their programs to better reflect the country’s diversity. In 2009, Worcester State College (WSC) initiated an effort as part of NSF's Opportunities for Enhancing Diversity in the Geosciences Program to address this problem on a local scale. Through this program, we are creating a pipeline for diversity in the geosciences through a multi-faceted approach involving teacher training, high school internships, and a co-enrollment and scholarship program between Worcester Public Schools and WSC. Worcester, Massachusetts has a median household income of $43,779, $13,902 below the median household income for Massachusetts, and 24% of the city’s children live below the poverty line. Worcester is a diverse city: 19% of the population is Latino, 9% African-American, and 7% Asian-American, with over 18% foreign-born residents. This diversity is reflected in the city’s school system, where over 80 languages are spoken. In July 2010, the program was initiated with a week-long teacher training workshop. The participants were middle and high school science teachers from Worcester and the surrounding area. The workshop focused on issues of sustainability related to the geosciences, such as solar and wind power, water and soil quality, and assessing land-use change through remote sensing and geospatial tools. The goal of the workshop was to give the teachers tools to engage students in investigating these concepts in the classroom, thereby stimulating an interest in geosciences that would carry over into undergraduate education. As part of the workshop, we provided a low-cost set of tools to give to the teachers for hands-on use in the classroom. We developed a compact, rugged system for measuring solar insolation and temperature, and combined it with a datalogger to collect a continuous timeseries of data. We also built a standalone anemometer for measuring wind speed. These instruments offer entry points for multiple types of classroom investigations into weather, climate, and renewable energy potential. They also provide a platform for practicing mathematical and computer skills such as timeseries graphing, data analysis, spreadsheet use, etc. The cost of the pyranometer, datalogger, and anemometer setup was $229 per user. Feedback from workshop participants was very positive, and the teachers were confident that the instrumentation would give them a new way to engage students in geoscience topics.
Space Grant Undergraduate Remote Sensing Research in Urban Growth near Mobile Bay, Alabama
During late 2009, four Tennessee Space Grant undergraduate researchers began a remote sensing investigation of urban growth southeast of Mobile Bay, Alabama. They selected the study area in consultation with the Marshall Space Flight Center Earth Science Office, and they share the study area with a multi-institution NASA-funded project exploring the application of remotely sensed data and related models to conservation and restoration along the northern Gulf of Mexico coast. In the first phase of the Space Grant investigation, four undergraduate researchers used a November 7, 2009 Landsat scene to map developed land near Mobile, Alabama. They used supervised and unsupervised classification to map developed land in two areas: 10 miles southeast of Mobile along U.S. Route 98 between Daphne and Fairhope, Alabama, and 25 miles southeast of Mobile near Foley, Alabama. Visual comparison of their map with the circa 2001 National Land Cover Dataset (NLCD) revealed urban growth in both areas. In the year ahead, Space Grant undergraduates will explore ways to improve their map by incorporating ancillary vector data and images. They will also collect reference data on the ground, and then they will use ground-based reference data and air photos to assess map accuracy. As an ultimate goal, the Space Grant undergraduates seek to compare their results with those of the larger multi-institution project. The Space Grant investigation will lead to a better understanding of the potential for undergraduate interaction with a large NASA-funded remote sensing applications project.
Creating Interdisciplinary STEM Environments at the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Effective, integrated and interdisciplinary STEM environments depend upon strong faculty collaboration. During the past decade, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) has put an emphasis on STEM faculty working together across departments, colleges, and the university system, as well as with local school systems. Supported by a University-wide Content and Pedagogy Committee and a new Office of STEM Education, faculty members have aggressively undertaken and evaluated various interdisciplinary STEM activities. This presentation will briefly describe three of these projects, including evaluation-related data and UNO support mechanisms. First, an interdisciplinary student research project has been developed involving our introductory geology and chemistry courses. The project includes collecting drinking water samples from around Omaha by geology students, the chemical analysis of drinking water by chemistry students, followed by water quality analysis of the chemical data by the geology students. Students learn about the scientific method, potential problems with project design, and limitations of interpretation of real data, while also applying knowledge learned in the class to this real world problem. This project reaches ~600 undergraduate students each year and requires close cooperation between faculty of the Chemistry and Geology programs. Evaluation data indicates that this project has had a positive impact on student attitude towards science in general and towards geology and chemistry in particular. The second project highlighted will be the Silicon Prairie Initiative for Robotics in Information Technology (SPIRIT). The SPIRIT project is a NSF funded collaboration between the UNO College of Education, the University of Nebraska at Lincoln College of Engineering, and local school systems. It strives to integrate the use of educational robotics and sensors in the teaching of STEM topics, particularly at the middle school and high school levels. The project has designed a flexible online curriculum that includes over 200 lessons with technical tutorials, assessments, and various resources. More than 250 teachers have been trained in extended workshops. Criterion-referenced test data of the students involved with these teachers have been encouraging. Further pilot test data also showed increases in positive STEM attitudes. The third project highlighted will be an interdisciplinary online Earth system science course for in-service teachers associated with the Earth System Science Education Alliance (ESSEA), which includes 42 universities across the U.S.. ESSEA instructional modules have been designed and shared by the participating institutions. UNO has been offering ESSEA coursework with participating faculty from Teacher Education (College of Education) and Geology (College of Arts & Sciences), writing ESSEA modules, and examining student feedback since 2004: involving more than 250 teachers, crossing a wide range of STEM-related teaching certifications. Project effectiveness has been examined by use of surveys, focus groups, and course products. By collaborating with colleagues across disciplines, colleges, and institutions, it is possible to have a positive impact on STEM education, through course offerings at UNO and through teacher professional development.