Educator Features

Bringing Students and Satellites Together
Five logos for NASA, CLOUDSAT, Aura, CALIPSO and GLOBE
Forty K-12 educators from the United States and France participated in an 11-day NASA-sponsored workshop this past summer aimed at bringing real-life science experiences into the classroom.

Image to right: Various NASA programs collaborated on a hands-on workshop for educators. Credit: NASA

The workshop, hosted by Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo., was for instructors and administrators who will work with NASA's CALIPSO, CloudSat and Aura satellite missions to involve students in reporting atmospheric data such as cloud observations and aerosol and ozone concentrations through GLOBE.

Sponsored by NASA, GLOBE is a student observation campaign and science education program that involves participants from more than 100 countries. Students record their measurements of the atmosphere, land, water, and plant and animal life, and submit their observations to the GLOBE Web site for use by students and scientists around the world.

CALIPSO is a joint mission between NASA and the French Space Agency, which sponsored two teachers to attend the workshop from France. CloudSat also has an international partner -- Canada.

"This international aspect of the workshop has created friendships and encouraged future worldwide collaborations among educators and their students," said Dianne Robinson, CALIPSO outreach director.

CALIPSO and CloudSat will join Aura, launched earlier this year, in a group of satellites known as the "Afternoon Constellation," or "A-Train." By flying in close proximity, satellites in the A-Train are combining to provide detailed observations of the Earth system, helping to answer questions about the potential impacts of global warming and other phenomena.

Teachers point to the sky
Workshop participants learned how to collect data with a sun photometer, entered cloud observations at the GLOBE Web site, developed problem-based learning modules, gathered environmental data at Rocky Mountain National Park, and interacted with NASA scientists.

Image to left: Educators from the U.S. and France participated in an 11-day workshop this past summer. Credit: NASA

"This workshop will have a huge impact in my classroom," said Betty Strong, science teacher at the Navajo Preparatory School in Farmington, N.M. "I gained a new understanding and appreciation for Earth science as a whole system."

During the fall teachers will share lessons they developed for the workshop at the CALIPSO Web site, will lead regional workshops in their home states, and will collect environmental data with their students.

Next summer's workshop will take place at Hampton University in Hampton, Va., home of the CALIPSO outreach team, which developed the workshop along with the CloudSat outreach program at Colorado State, and with contributions from Aura and GLOBE. Applications will be available soon at the CALIPSO and CloudSat outreach Web sites.

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