National Wildlife Federation Eco-Schools USA: Development of Climate Related School Lessons Using NASA Data Sets

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Monday, 3 February 2014
Hall C3 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Paul W. Stackhouse Jr., NASA/LaRC, Hampton, VA; and L. S. Hickey, J. R. Hammonds, J. M. Hoell, W. S. Chandler, D. Westberg, and T. Zhang

The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and its Eco-Schools USA program is focused on providing an engaging educational experience to help students better understand the essential principles of Earth's systems and the impact of climate change on them. The program is aimed to provide those students with the ability to communicate about climate change and apply knowledge in decision making. To achieve these objectives, the NWF partnered with NASA scientists and developed the Eco-Schools USA Climate Change Connections (CCC) curriculum which is for 9th-12th grade levels. CCC is designed to build upon and utilize the many NASA mission resources, programs, and associated interfaces to enhance authentic learning experiences for both educators and students. It seeks to develop an integrated systems-thinking approach to understanding and acting upon the issue of climate change. In collaboration with mission specialists from ICESat, LandSat, Terra, AQUA, AURA, a cross programmatic curriculum was developed to provide a unified or systems-thinking approach to addressing real-world Earth systems problems.

In this presentation, we provide an overview of the Climate Change Connections lesson curriculum but focus specifically on a couple of example exercises where NASA data sets are used to teach basic lessons about aspects of the climate system as it pertains to the built environment. In particular, we show how data adapted from NASA's GEWEX Surface Energy Budget and the NASA atmospheric data assimilation wind parameters as made available can be applied to lessons in solar and wind energy. These data sets are made available directly through NASA web portals entitled “My NASA Data” (http://mynasadata.larc.nasa.gov) and the Prediction of Worldwide Renewable Energy Resource (POWER – http://power.larc.nasa.gov). We also provide some feedback on the review of these lessons by educators.

Wit this curriculum, it is our desire that educators utilize this curriculum to attract and retain students in STEM disciplines and inspire the next generation of Earth Scientists.