2002 Annual

Monday, 14 January 2002: 9:45 AM
Water in the Earth System (WES): Moving toward national implementation
Ira W. Geer, AMS, Washington, DC; and D. R. Smith, J. M. Moran, R. S. Weinbeck, and E. J. Hopkins
Poster PDF (19.8 kB)
The Water in the Earth System(WES) Project was instituted in 1999 to develop an Internet-based distance-learning course directed toward precollege teacher enhancement. This program, funded by the National Science Foundation, investigates the flow of water and associated energy in the global water cycle from an Earth System Science perspective. WES utilizes an inquiry and project-based methodology and is consistent with the goals of the National Science Education Standards.

During the first full year (2000), WES activities involved development of learning materials and conduction of a 10-day summer training session for WES local implementation team (LIT) leaders. Primary learning materials consisted of a 12-chapter textbook and a study guide covering a variety of topics on water in the Earth system. The WES study guide contains the first part of each week's two investigations, while the second part is delivered in near-real time via the course homepage. A key component of the WES instructional concept is the LIT, a team of teachers and scientists who serve as mentors for those enrolled in the WES course. Thirty-five LITs have been established across the country to facilitate national implementation.

This past year saw four primary activities in the WES project. The course homepage was developed for delivery of WES instructional materials, including investigations and links to environmental data sources. During the Spring Semester, WES was pilot-tested with 35 LITs across the nation. LIT members took the course and mentored one another. Throughout the course, WES LIT members provided constructive feedback on all instructional materials. This feedback was the basis for final revision of the WES textbook, study guide, and homepage during the Summer of 2001.

In September 2001, WES will begin its culminating activity, i.e., national implementation. Through local LITs, WES will be offered to approximately 250 teachers each semester for the next three years. These teachers, in turn, will serve as WES resource agents and assist their colleagues and students with highly motivational and scientifically authentic instructional materials on water in the Earth system. Activities conducted during the Project's first two years built the foundation which will enable the program to accomplish its long-term goals.

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