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NASA Web Page, Video Gives Educators An In-Depth Look At Hurricanes
Image of Dr. Halverson standing in front of the green screen Educators will have the opportunity to bring a hurricane expert into their classroom with the release of a new NASA web page and video. The web page and video were created from a 1.5 hour live, interactive lecture with a NASA hurricane expert and teachers that occurred in 2006, using Internet-2 technology.

Image right: This image shows the Internet-2 teacher audience on the large left screen, while the screen on the right shows Jeff Halverson explaining a NASA QuikSCAT satellite image behind him that shows wind speed and direction of a storm. Note that Dr. Halverson is actually standing in the studio (far right) in front of a green screen, which is the same that television meteorologists use. Computers are used to make the satellite image appear behind him. Credit: NASA (Click image to enlarge).

Both the web page and the 58-minute video can be used by teachers in classrooms. The web page will contain the most information, including 35 separate, 1-4 minute long, video segments that were derived from the live program.

The live program was recorded on the November 20, 2006, at the University of Pennsylvania for the Franklin Institute Science Center in Philadelphia, Penn. The Franklin Institute hosted a professional development event for in-service teachers of science. The event connected twenty teachers (grades 6-8), from the Philadelphia metropolitan region, with Professor Jeffrey Halverson of the University of Maryland – Baltimore County's (UMBC) Department of Geography and UMBC/NASA’s Joint Center for Earth System Technology (JCET). This activity was part of an ongoing National Science Foundation grant inquiry by the Franklin Institute into the use and efficacy of emerging cyber-infrastructure—particularly Internet2—as a new channel for teacher professional development, specifically within a science center environment.

Screenshot of Dr. Halverson standing in front of an animation of Sea Surface TemperaturesImage left: Professor Jeffrey Halverson of the University of Maryland - Baltimore County notes the path that Hurricane Katrina took in 2005 after it made landfall in Mississippi and Louisiana. Behind him is an image that was created using various NASA satellites. The orange and red areas over the ocean show warm sea surface temperatures (80 degrees Fahrenheit or more) that fuel hurricanes. Credit: NASA (Click image to enlarge).

The website will be the primary tool for educators. It will contain short pre-produced video segments, teaching segments, and Question and Answer (Q&A) sections, all of which are packaged for use by teachers and students.

"The Education Office is pleased to make this hurricane information available in a visual format as a tool for teachers, students, museums and science centers in addressing the national science standards," said Bob Gabrys, Chief Education Officer at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

Broken down by key concepts, each segment is linked to national education standards. An index describing each segment, the media content and linkages to national standards is provided. The pre-produced videos give an overview of topics. The teaching segments include Halverson explaining and using the scientific visualizations to teach concepts about hurricanes. Each of the teaching segments contains a "factoid" at the end that gives additional related information in the form of a graphic. The Q & A, generated in part by the teacher audience during the original event, help clarify additional questions.

Screenshot from an animation of Sea Surface Temperatures during Hurricane WilmaImage right: Ocean temperatures surrounding Wilma are hovering near 85 degrees F, about three degrees higher than the temperature required to fuel a hurricane. This image shows the sea surface temperatures (SSTs) from Oct. 15 - 20. Every area in yellow, orange or red represents temperatures of 82 degrees F or above. The data came from the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR-E) instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite. Credit: NASA (Click on image to view animation (no audio - 1.2 Mb)).

The video segments and the media content, which includes visualizations, graphics and images used by Halverson during the presentation, are described and available for viewing and download on the webpage. Much like a television meteorologist, the images are projected on a "green screen" behind Halverson.

The web page is located on NASA's Hurricane Resource Web Page at: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/hurricanes/features/hurricane_educ_links.html

The 58-minute video, which is an edited version of the whole program, will be running on NASA's Education Channel and educators can record the program. It may also be available on DVD. Teachers interested should contact Sarah Dewitt of NASA-TV at 301-286-0535, or Sarah.L.Dewitt@nasa.gov.

To produce the original 1.5-hour live, interactive lecture, members of NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center’s Public Affairs and Education offices teamed with members of UMBC JCET Goddard Earth Science and Technology Center, the Imaging Research Center and New Media Studio at UMBC. The team included a practicing scientist; a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education specialist; a science video producer and a senior media producer, developed the visually and intellectually immersive presentation around myriad scientific visualizations produced by NASA Goddard's Scientific Visualization Studio in support of NASA missions.

To access this Hurricane Education event web page, please visit on the Web: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/hurricanes/features/hurricane_educ_links.html

To access NASA's Hurricane Resource Web Page, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/hurricane

Rob Gutro
Goddard Space Flight Center