GLOBE Teachers along the Rocky Mountain Front Range Strengthen Local Teacher Network at Workshop in Boulder, Colorado, USA

On 4-5 February, eleven teachers from the Rocky Mountain Front Range convened for a 2-day Colorado Teacher Workshop at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) in Boulder, Colorado, USA. Deanna TeBockhorst, GLOBE Partner from Fort Collins, Colorado, and member of the CloudSat Education Network, was chief organizer and trainer for this event. Gary Randolph of the GLOBE Program Office and Peter Falcon, GLOBE Partner from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and a CloudSat education outreach team member, also led activities. The workshop was open to teachers new to GLOBE as well as previously trained GLOBE teachers who wanted to refresh their GLOBE training. Together, they were able to learn about new GLOBE directions and opportunities, meet with members of the GLOBE Program Office staff who also participated in the training, and form a network of GLOBE teachers along the Colorado Front Range.

Day one opened with welcoming remarks by Deanna TeBockhorst and a brief overview of GLOBE by Dr. Teresa Kennedy, Director of the GLOBE International Division and North America Regional Help Desk Office and U.S. Country Coordinator. Next, participants headed outdoors to review the basics of GLOBE atmospheric investigation protocols: Precipitation, Clouds, and Max/Min/Current Air Temperature. They also learned how to measure and record snowfall using a snowboard and take soil temperature measurements using the digital multi-day Max/Min/Current air and soil thermometers that were part of a portable weather station set up by Mr. Randolph.

That afternoon, the group was addressed by two guest speakers: Mr. Mark S. McCaffrey, Associate Scientist at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), and Ms. Susan Van Gundy, Director of Education and Strategic Partnerships for the National Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Digital Library (NSDL). Mr. McCaffrey spoke about science communication and education relating to climate, water, and solar sciences. Co-founder of the Climate Literacy Network, Mr. McCaffrey is also co-author of the Essential Principles of Climate Literacy, a guide distributed to teachers at the workshop in order to assist in classroom climate studies implementation. Ms. Van Gundy discussed her work leading innovative programs through collaborations with educational organizations focused on STEM education as well as with universities, museums, professional societies, research labs, and federal agencies. Her professional activities continually emphasize bridging the scientific and education communities and applying emerging technologies to enhance teaching and learning.


After asking questions of the speakers, the participants reconvened in the UCAR computer-training center to engage in a lesson in data entry led by Gary Randolph. Mr. Randolph provided them with optional homework: answering several questions surrounding GLOBE student data. The homework would lead the teachers through an exercise in locating schools with many years of consistent, long-term data, visualizing the data and then examining trends and patterns. GLOBE Program Office Educational Designer, Dr. Randall Thomas, provided the teachers with access to and instructions in using an online collaboration tool where they can meet to discuss local GLOBE implementation.

On Saturday 5 February, Dr. Donna Charlevoix, Director of GLOBE's Science and Education Division, spoke about upcoming plans for the GLOBE Student Climate Research Campaign (SCRC) and encouraged teachers to participate in the Great Global Investigation of Climate (GGIC) pilot project which is about to be tested in 20 classrooms worldwide.

Ms. Lynne Cherry, and author and/or illustrator of over thirty award-winning children's books, was the workshop's third guest speaker. Ms. Cherry is also a filmmaker and showed the participants a DVD of her much-acclaimed film, "Young Voices on Climate Change" which featured profiles of young students around the world who are implementing community programs to raise awareness of climate issues and reduce their carbon footprint. The message of Ms. Cherry's film was loud and clear: children can make a difference in the world.

The workshop concluded with a discussion and sharing session about the value, as well as the challenges, of implementing GLOBE; the value of a support network for local teachers; and the importance of teaching students about climate in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence that Earth's climate is changing. Teachers gave the workshop high marks. Mr. Mike Stanley of Boulder Country Day School, remarked, "I came here hoping to acquire a few simple aids for teaching about climate and I'm leaving with a sense of far greater possibilities."

15 February 2011


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