87th AMS Annual Meeting

Monday, 15 January 2007: 4:45 PM
Educational Applications of the Science on a Sphere at the National Maritime Center
206B (Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center)
John Anderson, Hampton University, Hampton, VA; and W. L. Smith Sr., R. L. Beale, D. Q. Robinson, B. H. Maggi, S. Ackerman, T. H. Achtor, T. Whittaker, and M. Mooney
We report on our first-year program efforts to develop and implement a strong environmental literacy and science education program that promotes NOAA's Science on a Sphere (SOS) at The National Maritime Center (TNMC) Nauticus museum. Our program consists of creating “state of the art” science displays for the SOS that are integrated with high quality education materials that are aligned with national standards and specifically address the NOAA Education Plan. This project is a collaboration between scientists and educators from Hampton University (HU), the University of Wisconsin at Madison (UW), and the Nauticus museum, which is in close proximity to HU. The capabilities of these three partners has created an exciting and innovative education and information environment surrounding the SOS. The program uses the SOS as a focal point to support learning about global oceanic and atmospheric circulations and their effect on local environments. The Nauticus museum has the capability to rapidly make the public aware of environmental events that are making the news. Our team creates real time global displays of environmental phenomena for the SOS from the expansive UW environmental satellite database. Supporting computer visualizations allow viewers to move from global scale to regional and local scale in order to examine specific features of the phenomena being visualized. The education materials developed for this program are suitable for formal and informal education programs. These inform the many Nauticus visitors about Earth environmental phenomena (e.g., Hurricanes and El Nino) as measured by various remote sensing satellites. Our team is also developing an online Problem-Based Learning (PBL) module on hurricanes to support classroom activities. To evaluate and improve these materials, our program provides middle-school field trips and docents to Nauticus, including HU graduate students. In addition, the teaming of HU, UW and TNMC in this program offers the opportunity to expose students from ethnic minority groups to various earth, atmospheric and oceanic career paths and help produce graduates with solid technical backgrounds.

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