AMS pre-college teacher professional development courses: A hands-on exploration of the dynamic Earth system

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Monday, 18 January 2010
Ira W. Geer, American Meteorological Society, Washington, DC; and J. A. Brey, R. S. Weinbeck, J. M. Moran, E. W. Mills, B. A. Blair, E. J. Hopkins, T. P. Kiley Jr., and E. E. Ruwe

The American Meteorological Society (AMS), through partnerships with NOAA, NASA, NSF, and the U.S. Navy, offers a suite of pre-college teacher professional development courses and summer training programs that enhance understanding of the dynamic Earth system and promote minority participation in the geosciences.

During fall and spring semesters, AMS conducts DataStreme Atmosphere (1996-present), DataStreme Ocean (2003-present), and it latest course, DataStreme Earth's Climate System (2009-present). DataStreme Water in the Earth System (WES) was offered from 2001-2008.

The AMS DataStreme experience is delivered to small groups of teachers at locations nationwide in a partnership of AMS, NOAA, NASA, and SUNY Brockport via several meetings, weekly mentoring, and twice-weekly online Internet delivery of course study materials. These courses have trained nearly 15,000 teachers in the use of current online environmental data to bring excitement and motivation to their classrooms and to be resource teachers for their colleagues. A March 2007 survey conducted by an external evaluator found that a DataStreme-trained teacher observably impacted 10 teachers and 350 students. Thus, DataStreme programs have influenced hundreds of thousands of teachers and millions of students nationwide. Courses model scientific inquiry and foster development of critical thinking skills.

AMS also offers two-week, summer residence workshops for pre-college teachers on the fundamentals of meteorology (Project Atmosphere) and oceanography (the Maury Project). AMS produces topic modules that Project alumni use to peer-train teachers in their local communities.

The AMS Education Program has a long standing history of championing diversity within its programs. AMS actively recruits teachers who are members of groups traditionally underrepresented in the sciences and/or teach at schools with 25% or greater minority student population.