This past week was a very exciting one for the Science Education Team at NASA Langley Research Center! Four members visited one of the schools participating in the GLOBE Air Quality Student Research Campaign: Our Lady of Mount Carmel School, in Newport News, VA., where twenty middle school students, led by their science teacher Ms. Angie Rizzi, presented their team research projects and posters about aerosols.
After students started taking aerosol measurements and once they had selected their research project questions, Dr. Pippin, -lead scientist for the GLOBE Air Quality Student Research Campaign-, spent some time mentoring them at their school.
Two teams investigated whether the amount of aerosols increase throughout the day; another team did research related to the influence that wind direction may have on levels of Aerosol Optical Thickness (AOT); another team compared AOT data collected by two other schools (Crestwood High school, in Dearborn, MI and Mountain View, in Mendham, NJ) to their own AOT data to prove their hypothesis that AOT levels are higher in urban areas when compared to suburban or rural areas; and last but not least, another team presented their findings after collecting data at the carpool area in their school, an area in which they expected to see increased AOT levels.
All students did an amazing job at presenting their posters, explaining how they collected, visualized, analyzed and interpreted their aerosols data, and answering questions from the NASA Team. They also showed how they learned to use and interpret data from other resources, such as Weather Underground and HYSPLIT, an atmospheric transport and dispersion model extensively used in the atmospheric sciences community, developed by NOAA. Students also highlighted the importance of collaborating with each other, and how they used technology tools such as Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slides to work on their projects as a team.
The journey of these students is not over: they are preparing to submit their research reports to the GLOBE 2018 International Virtual Science Symposium!
We congratulate Ms. Angie Rizzi and her students for their extraordinary accomplishment, and we look forward to highlighting the work performed by other schools in the very near future.