Developing a Geoscience and Remote Sensing Laboratory as a Pathway to GeoSTEM Education

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Monday, 3 February 2014: 11:30 AM
Room C109 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
John Moore, AMS Board on Outreach and Precollege Education, Laurel Springs, NJ

In the past several years the Geosciences have dominated the news cycle. As we face future natural and human generated hazards and disasters such as the Gulf Oil Spill, not to mention issues confronting society such as Climate Change, Sustainability and Energy, the Geosciences have a critical role in the public awareness, safety, economy and national security of our nation. We have experienced volcanic eruptions, earth¬quakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, severe drought and flooding, outbreaks of severe weather. Hurricane Sandy with its devastating impacts on Jersey shore is but the most recent example of the urgent need and use of Geospatial and Environmental Intelligence, and yet it is becoming increasing more difficult to find opportunities in pre-college (K-12) education for students to engage in such relevant and related studies.

For over five decades now, information and data collected from satellites in space and other remote sensors in the atmosphere, on land and sea, have generated volumes of information, data, satellite imagery and now computer visualizations that, for the first time in the history of Planet Earth, allows for scientists, educators, and students alike to gain a new and unique perspective of our planet and builds data literacy.

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) discussions continue to emerge at the national, state, and local levels. The pre-college educational community has begun to engage in these discussions and therefore dictates that now is the time to consider GeoSTEM as an approach to STEM curriculum discussions and development. Establishing a Geoscience and Remote Sensing (GSRS) Laboratory can meet the demands of a rigorous STEM course and reflect state-of-the-art technologies building 21st Century skill sets. A co-evolution of multiple technologies has taken place that are critical in establishing a GSRS Laboratory in a pre-college environment and really were the limiting factor in establishing new programs; (1) development of satellite systems that produce images, visualizations, or data in formats that can be accessed by students, (2) computer technologies that increase the capabilities of student participation in applications, (3) communication, transfer, and storage of large data sets such as imagery, and (4) cost. This presentation will identify resources, programs, and opportunities for students to use remote sensing data and satellite imagery to conduct authentic science projects, including data and image analysis. Opportunities for GeoSTEM students to participate in the observations, collection and applications of data and imagery, using high altitude balloons (HAB), drones, sounding rockets, and small satellites will also be identified.