Meteorology and climatology education outreach: weathering the education paradigm

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Monday, 18 January 2010
Quyen Arana, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK; and E. Gruntfest

Handout (208.7 kB)

With the imminent reforms in the nation's education system, the K-12 science education paradigm is beginning to change. We know science professionals have the greatest impact on the minds of young scientists. And yet, despite the eagerness for professional science involvement in K-12 education, well-meaning projects usually fail to show sustainable impact in classrooms.

Seeking to find a place for industry involvement in science education reform, the University of Oklahoma's (OU) Educating for Economic Growth project (NSF PFI# 0538924) with OU's K20 Center for Educational Renewal have developed innovative and sustainable approaches for bringing scientists and researchers into K-12 science education. These approaches include creating education, government, and industry partnerships from Oklahoma's weather enterprise, developing a vision for atmospheric science education, preparing teachers and atmospheric scientists for collaborative inquiry-based lessons, and using technology to enhance classroom instruction.

The Weather and Climatology Education and Workforce Development summit, held in 2008 with OU's Social Science Woven into Meteorology (SSWIM) program, provided a unique opportunity to open dialogue on issues of education. Some of the dialogue included frustrations regarding the atmospheric sciences in K-12 education, a need to broaden meteorology as a discipline, and an eagerness to organize and participate in education efforts.

This session will report findings from the education summit and the Educating for Economic Growth project, and introduce how the atmospheric science community can play an active role in 21st century science education and help prepare the next generation of meteorologists and climatologists.