Educator Features

Elementary GLOBE
Elementary GLOBE is a series of five storybooks designed to help K-4 teachers integrate Earth science into their curriculum as they teach students to read and write. Each book focuses on a different Earth science topic as the main characters -- Simon, Anita and Dennis -- explore the natural world:
Front cover of the All About Earth storybook with five students pulling back a stage curtain to show the Earth
All About Earth: Our World on Stage

Ms. Patel's class is about to run through a dress rehearsal of a play about the Earth system. Simon is playing the role of water, Dennis the role of soil and Anita the role of all living things. Two other students are representing air and the sun.

Image to right: The All About Earth storybook teaches students about the interrelationships in the Earth system. Credit: UCAR

The students are excited at first. Then they become upset as they realize that each of them thinks theirs is the lead role. The teacher asks each student to describe why his or her role is the most important part of both the play and the Earth system. In the end, the students discover that each part of the Earth system is important and could not exist without the others.

Front cover of the Do You Know Clouds Have Names? storybook showing three students and puffy white clouds
Do You Know That Clouds Have Names?

People, dogs and flowers aren't the only things that have names. Clouds do, too.

Image to right: The Do You Know Clouds Have Names? storybook teaches students the names and characteristics of clouds. Credit: UCAR

Some cloud names are cirrus, cumulus and stratus. Clouds are named based on their shape, altitude and whether they produce precipitation. Contrails are a special kind of cloud created by airplanes. Cloud photographs and tips for teachers are interspersed throughout the storybook.

Front cover of The Scoop on Soil storybook showing three students and a dog on the steps in front of a school
The Scoop on Soils

The GLOBE Club is doing a project on soil. Simon, Anita and Dennis have learned that soil has different layers, and that it contains things like rocks, roots and critters. On their way home from school, the three club members follow their dog, Scoop, as he digs holes in a forest, meadow and garden.

Image to right: In The Scoop on Soils, students learn about soil and the plants and animals that live in it. Credit: UCAR

The children observe the color, texture and structure of the soil in each hole and record their observations. Then they make a chart of their data. They see that the soil is different in each location. They also learn that the types of plants that grow, and critters that crawl, are different in each place.

Front cover of the Discoveries at Willow Creek storybook showing three students standing next to a creek
Discoveries at Willow Creek

Hannah, a local scientist, takes the GLOBE Club on a spring field trip to a nature preserve. Surprisingly, the area looks very different than it did when the students were there the previous fall. The creek is wider, and the water is colder and moving more quickly.

Image to right: Students learn about a creek and its surroundings and how both change over time in Discoveries at Willow Creek. Credit: UCAR

Simon, Anita and Dennis use a thermometer, stick, stopwatch and other supplies to measure various characteristics of the creek and its surroundings. They also draw pictures of what the area looks like. Then they compare their findings with what they wrote and drew in their journals on their earlier visit. Hannah helps the students figure out what caused the changes they found.

Front cover of The Mystery of the Missing Hummingbirds storybook showing three students surrounded by hummingbirds
The Mystery of the Missing Hummingbirds

Ms. Patel's class investigates how the school's garden changes from season to season. The students start by observing the garden in summer. They smell flowers, hear birds chirping and see hummingbirds. A few months later, during autumn, Anita notices that the hummingbirds are suddenly gone.

Image to right: A class investigates how the school's garden changes from season to season and solves the mystery of the missing hummingbirds. Credit: UCAR

The students get to work trying to figure out why the hummingbirds left and where they went. The students do Internet research, go to the library, and e-mail friends and family around the country. They even exchange information with a class in Costa Rica. By the end of the school year, the students have made observations, asked a question, collected data, shared their results and reached conclusions.
Each book includes scientific background information for teachers and a glossary. In addition, each book is supplemented by three learning activities. The storybooks and learning activities are correlated to national education standards in science, geography and math.

Related Resources
+ Elementary GLOBE

+ NASA Education Web Site

+ NASA's Science Mission Directorate

A teacher's implementation guide includes an overview of the storybooks and learning activities, and provides suggestions for classroom use at different grade levels within the K-4 range. The guide is based, in part, on feedback from teachers who field-tested and reviewed the products.

GLOBE is an international program managed by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research and Colorado State University. GLOBE is sponsored by NASA and the National Science Foundation, and supported by the U.S. Department of State. Participants -- mainly K-12 students and teachers -- record measurements of the atmosphere, land, water, and plant and animal life for use by students and scientists worldwide.

Through Elementary GLOBE, NASA continues its tradition of investing in the nation's education and furthers its major education goal of attracting and retaining students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines. To compete effectively for the minds, imaginations and career ambitions of America's young people, NASA is focused on engaging and retaining students in education efforts that encourage their pursuit of disciplines critical to NASA's future engineering, scientific and technical missions.

Dan Stillman, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies