Monday, 10 February 2003: 9:30 AM
The NCAR Geosciences Education Workshop on Climate and Global Change: Enhancing Teachers' Perspectives of Earth System Science
Research on climate and global change is a major focus at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). Since this phenomenon has potential for major societal impacts, educators at all grade levels must gain a working knowledge of this important field of science. During the summer of 2002 NCAR, in partnership with the Office of Education and Outreach at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) convened the first Climate and Global Change Geoscience Education Workshop. At a two week summer workshop, 20 middle and high school teachers representing 16 states were introduced to the basic geoscience content necessary to understand climate and global change by means of lectures from distinguished scientists, hands-on exploration of related educational resources, and field experiences. The workshop focused on an Earth System Science perspective, incorporating aspects of all components of Earth and Space sciences, with particular emphasis on the interactions across the boundaries of the various subsystems and the importance of models in understanding the relationships.
The new workshop builds upon available educational resources too numerous to name here, but several are especially noteworthy due to their emphasis in the program and their historical relationship with NCAR and UCAR. Between 1991 and 2001, UCAR and NCAR engaged teachers and scientists in creating and disseminating Project LEARN (Laboratory Experience in Atmospheric Research at NCAR), an NSF-funded teacher enhancement program. A significant component of LEARN involved climate and global change studies, including resource materials that are now available on a website for global distribution (http://www.ucar.edu/learn/). Windows to the Universe (www.ucar.edu/windows) offers extensive information on the earth system. This web site averages almost 200,000 visitors per month. Additional materials developed by the American Meteorological Society (AMS), including Project Atmosphere and Project Maury, encompassing meteorology, oceanography, and ground water hydrology, and the STELLA software created a foundation for the workshop. This presentation will include a description of the workshop, assessment of its effectiveness, discussion of lessons learned from this first endeavor, and plans for the workshop’s future.