Sunday, 20 January 2008
Science on a Sphere - educational applications at the Nauticus museum
Exhibit Hall B (Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
We report on the second-year of our program to develop and implement a strong environmental literacy and science education program that promotes NOAA's Science on a Sphere (SOS) at the Nauticus museum. 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. Our 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, located in Norfolk, VA, has the capability to rapidly make the public aware of environmental events that are making the news. One unique aspect of our program consists of providing enriching field trips for local 6'th grade students from Portsmouth, VA. This school district has a high population of underserved students. Graduate students from HU's Department of Atmospheric and Planetary Science provide complementary docent support for the Nauticus SOS display. Approximately 1200 students have benefited from these field trips. In addition, the HU graduate students provide complementary SOS docent support periodically to the general public, informing the many Nauticus visitors about Earth environmental phenomena (e.g., Hurricanes and El Nino) as measured by various remote sensing satellites. Our team has also developed an online Problem-Based Learning module on hurricanes to support the 6'th grade classroom activities. We will also present results of an SOS based marketing needs analysis targeting under-represented groups in the Hampton Roads area.