92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Monday, 23 January 2012
American Meteorological Society's DataStreme Earth's Climate System - Implementation
Hall E (New Orleans Convention Center )
Vanessa L. Van Sciver, Merchantville Elementary School, Merchantville, NJ; and S. Waldron, M. F. Boorstein, L. Bastiaans, D. Cammarota, E. Chavez, R. Henck, K. Bissonette, and K. Squicciarini

Last spring, Shawn Waldron, a middle school social studies and algebra instructor and I - Vanessa Van Sciver - a middle school science instructor from Merchantville Elementary School, took the American Meteorological Society's DataStreme Earth's Climate System. This particular offering was supported through a special grant from the National Science Foundation. Even though we are from Southern New Jersey, we participated in the LIT at the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University in Brookville, N.Y.

This course was a great experience for both of us. We were able to immediately use much of the presented material and links in our classes. We are both honored to be invited to present at the AMS Conference in New Orleans this year. Our presentation will briefly touch upon the implementation of projects designed by our colleagues and detail the implementation of our own final projects.

Elisa Chavez plans to incorporate climate science into her curriculum and present many workshops dealing with various climate topics. Her curriculum will cover the following topics and grade levels- General Science – grade 5 (85 students/yr) Water Cycle, Water Budget and Weather Climate Change and Effect on Marine Life also Paleoclimatology Earth Science – 7th, 8th grade elective – 25/yr Climate Change: definition and indicators of climate change, and response (adaptation and mitigation)

Her community interaction will include presentations to Community groups (such as local synagogues and churches, for example and even local Food Cooperatives). These presentations will cover the following topics - - What is Climate Change, how do know it is happening? - Is our local weather normal or are those early blooming flowers because of global warming? Is all this rain and flooding normal or does it represent a larger trend in climate change? - Understanding the carbon footprint, how to determine one's own and examining ways to make it smaller. Part of Rebbeca Henck's plans are to make “screenshots” of the AMS ECS website for dissemination and training for her colleagues as well as incorporation of ECS topics and information into both her 8th grade Earth Science and 11th and 12th grade environmental science courses. She has already used and will continue to use the real time weather data available on the website, the instructional slide shows, and the Global Climate Change Impacts Report as well as the many other technological resources made available to all of us.

Karen Bissonnette and Kelli Squicciarini developed an inclusive and thorough presentation about climate and its study and analysis. Their work is referenced and balanced; it includes good and accurate explanations. They will present to at least one local community group. They will also serve as leaders in their school to enhance the teaching and learning resources for the teachers and students through formal (or semi-formal) sessions and casual conversations.They have analyzed websites to ensure that they are using their fellow teachers'time wisely.

Shawn and I designed two final projects. The first is a presentation to a local senior citizen group about the facts vs. realities of global climate change. We will be giving this workshop in the fall. We will be utilizing the AMS Datastreme Earth's Climate Systems website, the Global Climate Change Impacts Report as well as the ECS booklet. We have already given some informational workshops to peers in our school to inform them of the resources provided by our participation in this course. In particular, we shared some of the satellite imagery available online after the horrific earthquake in Japan. We will continue to act as leaders in climate studies in our district and share information with colleagues as opportunities present themselves.

Our second project is an all-encompassing project for our school. Our school is a Pre-K – 8th grade school, with our 6 -8 grades operating as a traditional middle school. Our vision is to transform a “drab” hallway space that encounters much foot traffic from all students into a weather and climate education and information center. First we will obtain permission form our Board of Education to paint the selected area of the hallway, post permanent white boards, and design places for student projects to be displayed. Some of the paintings will be of typical cloud types with labels. We will have an area to post the “weekly” forecast, as well as the daily temperature. We will be displaying student projects on a rotating basis, being sure to include projects from the social studies, science, and algebra classes as well as projects from each grade level that we teach. Finally, we will generate interest and participation in the rest of the school community by requesting teachers to submit weather and climate questions and designing an area in which we can post the answers to these questions.

By making this transformation, we hope to influence students' attitudes toward science in general and especially climate science by immersing them in an environment where scientific knowledge and achievement is respected and shared throughout the community. We also want to demonstrate that scientific knowledge does not exist in a vacuum – it impacts all aspects of society and as such can be discussed and worked with in a cross-curricular fashion.

We believe that by utilizing the Earth's Climate Systems website and the data available, we will demonstrate to our students that math, science, social studies, and technological studies are all a major component of Earth's Climate Systems. This way we can steer our students who have shown aptitude in these areas into selecting high school courses that will lead to careers in STEM topics. We also plan to contact local guidance counselors and inform them of the unique back ground our students have, and inform them of the multitude of sites they can use in assisting those same students.

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