83rd Annual

Sunday, 9 February 2003
AMS' Education Program—A Decade of Success
Robert S. Weinbeck, State University of New York, College at Brockport, Brockport, NY; and I. W. Geer, D. R. Smith, J. M. Moran, E. J. Hopkins, E. W. Mills, and B. A. Blair
Poster PDF (23.5 kB)
The American Meteorological Society's Education Program is approaching its teenage years, going strong and growing. The AMS in 1990 committed resources to implement its Educational Initiative. One year later, the AMS education program was off and running with additional support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop a nationwide Atmospheric Education Resource Agent (AERA) network and produce scientifically authentic single-topic peer-training modules for K-12 teachers (Project ATMOSPHERE). A partnership with the National Weather Service (NWS) laid the foundation for an annual two-week summer workshop at the NWS Training Center in Kansas City, MO that prepared teachers as peer-trainers on the basics of meteorology for their colleagues. Members of the AERA network formed the core leadership of peer-trainers. In summer of 1994 a parallel two-week workshop was offered for the first time at the U.S. Naval Academy on the physical foundations of oceanography, producing a second cadre of peer-training teachers. Initially funded by NSF, the Maury Project is currently supported by the Navy's Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command and Office of Naval Research, NOAA's National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service and the National Ocean Service, and by the Maryland Space Grant Consortium.

In 1996 a national teacher enhancement course on the basics of weather and climate was created by the AMS Education Program with NSF support and offered through local teacher-led teams. Partially delivered via the Internet, the DataStreme Atmosphere course proved to be a highly motivational and effective introduction to meteorology for K-12 teachers across the nation. The success of DataStreme Atmosphere inspired another teacher enhancement course, Water in the Earth System (WES) which focuses on the global water cycle as a vehicle to explore Earth system science. First offered in Spring 2001, WES utilizes the same delivery model as DataStreme Atmosphere (i.e., local implementation teams, Internet delivery).

To date, Project ATMOSPHERE, Maury Project, DataStreme Atmosphere and WES peer-trainers have offered thousands of teacher workshops nationwide on the fundamentals of meteorology, physical oceanography, and hydrology. Most of these peer-trainers are also distance-learning course alumni who have provided resource assistance and training to their colleagues in their schools and districts. Many have developed the self-confidence to become leaders in local and state science curriculum reform efforts. The tens of thousands of second-tier trained teachers have influenced millions of students by their use of exciting and scientifically accurate investigations that model inquiry-based science.

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