HAMPTON, Va. -- It's a warm afternoon in a high school Earth science class, and the lesson for the day is about Earth's troposphere. While scribbling down notes as fast as possible, the students ask themselves, "Who would ever need to use this information?"
The answer is NASA. It is now possible to add that "real world" element to teaching by incorporating data from NASA satellites and observations. On July 29, a week-long workshop led by scientists at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va. will provide intense training for teachers from around the world who are interested in learning how to excite their students with lessons that use authentic NASA research.
This annual summer workshop is sponsored by MY NASA DATA, a project in which a team of scientists takes large volumes of data and generates understandable microsets to be used by the public. The microsets are primarily used by educators to bring a twenty-first century dimension to the teaching of Earth science.
"While only a small number of teachers can attend the workshop, we are very pleased to know that over 8,000 people worldwide are accessing the MY NASA DATA Web site each month," said Dr. Lin Chambers, the NASA Langley atmospheric scientist who leads the project. "As a Hampton resident, I am proud to offer this educational experience in our own back yard."
The workshop guides teachers through the exploration of a variety of NASA Earth science data, using it to create engaging lesson plans. Students use scientific inquiry and math skills as they access and display microsets of the Earth System.
"When students realize that scientists are truly using the same set of data, it brings relevance to the class and the lesson is no longer intangible," explains Susan Moore, a member of the MY NASA DATA team.
The MY NASA DATA Web site collects all of the lessons that have been put together by previous workshop participants, as well as archived data microsets. Teachers can go online and search for the data that is relevant to their lectures and create their own captivating lesson plans.
"When the teachers get excited about the data, that energy is transferred to the students," says Moore.
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