Durham, US: As part of a growing national effort to get teachers and students acquainted with the fundamental elements of climate change, researchers from the University of New Hampshire’s Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space (EOS) have been awarded a USD 487,000 two-year grant from the NASA’s Global Climate Change Education Program (GCCE).
The project, one of just 17 selected by NASA from a pool of 130 applications, is entitled “Engaging Students in the Science of Climate Change: Using Earth Observing Data in the Classroom” and will develop high school curriculum based around data from NASA and other federal agencies that Earth scientists use in their own research.
Such data from NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and other agencies are already online and publicly available but need to be modified by scientists and professional educators to make them accessible and useful to teachers and students.
“We’ll take data resources like satellite imagery and output from climate models that we typically use and make them more classroom friendly,” said the project’s principal investigator Mary Martin, research assistant professor of forest ecosystem analysis and remote sensing at EOS and affiliate assistant professor with the department of natural resources and the environment.
The current NASA-funded climate change project will incorporate materials from a carbon cycle science education initiative developed over the past four years at the EOS Complex Systems Research Center by associate professor Scott Ollinger, Martin, research technician Sarah Silverberg, and others for the international Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) programme.
Ultimately, the goal of these projects is to provide teachers with a scientifically sound means of teaching climate change issues, give students the needed skills to think critically and conduct individualised climate change research projects, and allow students to interact directly with scientists through online discussion formats.
Martin said, “Because climate change is a long-term process and is subject to a myriad of misconceptions, this effort will help develop the knowledge and skills of future generations in an area that is becoming increasingly important to society.”