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Thailand Enhances GLOBE Student Research Experience with Earth System Science Projects

The GLOBE Program in Thailand is currently working to implement Earth System Science (ESS) curriculum in as many schools as possible. GLOBE Earth System Science Projects (ESSPs) focus on student research experiences that explore and learn about Earth through a network of students, teachers, and scientists. The goal is to encourage collaboration between these entities in the integration of ESS research. ESSPs are grounded in real science embedded in an inquiry-based, collaborative approach. The GLOBE Thailand team has arranged workshops across the country to aid universities in developing networks to integrate scientific inquiry and research based ESS curriculum into schools nationwide in the 2010-2011 school year. The team arranged Earth System Science research presentations for 25 Schools in December 2010. In 2011, this curriculum was implemented in four different regions of Thailand: 29 schools in the Northern Region in January, 40 schools in the Northeastern Region in March, 20 schools in the Southern Region in April and 75 schools in the Central Region from April to May.

In addition to implementing ESS curriculum in schools across the country, Thailand has participated in many types of collaborative projects in recent years, including ESSPs, worldwide and regional projects. The country has also hosted an abundance of important conferences and events. Recent projects and events in Thailand include the following:

Earth System Science Projects


FLEXE is a project involving comparative study of local and deep-sea environments led by Pennsylvania State University in partnership with Ridge 2000 and InterRIDGE scientists. In February 2009, Jamie Larsen, FLEXE Project Lead, Liz Goehring, Penn State University and FLEXE PI, and Steve Kerlin, Penn State University and a FLEXE Evaluator, assisted by Drs. Mullica and Krisanadej Jaroensutasinee of GLOBE Thailand and GLOBE Master Trainer Peter Hardy of Australia, completed the training of all teachers taking part in the final Pilot of the FLEXE Energy Unit. Teachers in Thailand became trained in FLEXE activities, protocols, and use of the FLEXE online system. Thirty six schools in the United States, 10 schools in Thailand, 9 schools in Australia and 4 schools in Germany participated in the FLEXE pilot project to investigate temperature variation and energy transfer in the Earth system, both locally and in an extreme environment.

The 2008/09 FLEXE Pilot Project created partnerships between teachers and students from various countries to share and compare temperature data between schools and hydrothermal vent temperature data supplied by Ridge 2000 deep-sea scientists. By investigating temperature in their local environments along with deep-sea temperature data, students uncover important understandings about Earth system science concepts like radiation, convection, and conduction while learning about the deep-sea hydrothermal extreme environments. The Energy Unit began on 26 January 2009 and concluded with an online research cruise to a hydrothermal vent system from 6-21 May 2009.

Seasons and Biomes

From 11-18 November 2008, Seasons and Biomes team members from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, --Dr. Elena Sparrow, Professor and Education Outreach Director of the International Arctic Research Center, Ms. Martha Kopplin, Education Outreach Specialist at the International Arctic Research Center, and Dr. Leslie Gordon Science, Math Education Specialist, Seasons and Biomes co-PI-- traveled to Thailand to conduct GLOBE workshops for students, teachers and scientists, using Season and Biomes activities in development.

Their first stop was Khanompitaya School in Nakhon Si Thammarat, where students gave a PowerPoint presentation of their investigations on the spread of local mosquito species, based on their findings from larvae collected in water containers at their homes. Mosquitoes are known vectors of a number of diseases such as Malaria, Dengue fever and West Nile fever. Changes in incidence of diseases may be linked to climate change. Temperature changes affect vector borne disease transmission and epidemic potential. Increase in rainfall brings an increase in breeding sites, which increases mosquito populations.

The students in Nakhon Si Thammarat, included in their study Anopheles sp. (Malaria vector), Culex sp. (Japanese Encephalitis and West Nile vector) and two species of Aedes (Dengue fever vector), Ae. aegypti and Ae. Albopictus. They collected larvae from their homes once a month, and brought them into the classroom for identification. The students demonstrated their adeptness with sampling, identifying species, and using microscopes. Their knowledge of the mosquito life cycle and environmental factors that impact mosquito larvae distribution was apparent. The Seasons and Biomes team was impressed with the poise, confidence, and courtesy of these young scientists, and by their facility with presenting in both Thai and English. Clearly these students are engaged in cutting edge research that directly impacts their understanding of mosquitoes as carriers of disease and as indicators of seasonal change.

Worldwide and Regional Projects

Students looking at clouds.


Under the guidance of GLOBE Thailand Country Coordinator and IPST President, Dr. Pornpun Waitayangkul, the Thailand team and students have undertaken many CloudSat activities. Launched in April 2006, CloudSat is a NASA Earth observation satellite designed to study clouds and the role clouds and aerosols play in regulating Earth's weather, climate and air quality. Its data is used to improve cloud models and to provide a better understanding of human impact on the atmosphere. Students from 11 countries including Thailand have been participating in the CloudSat Education Network (CEN) by "ground truthing" the measurements taken by the CloudSat satellite. Ground truth is a term used in cartography, meteorology, satellite imagery and a range of other remote sensing techniques for data collection on the ground in order to compare image data to real features and materials on the ground. The collection of GLOBE CEN data from weather stations on the ground enables calibration of remote-sensing data and aids in the interpretation and analysis of what is being observed from space. Using their designated login to access the satellite tracking program, GLOBE CEN students determine the exact date and time when CloudSat will be flying overhead. The orbiting satellite passes over every part of the globe in sixteen day cycles so students must plan to be available on these pre-determined dates and times to take measurements that coincide exactly with the satellite fly-over. By participating in the CloudSat Education Network, GLOBE students are helping to contribute to new findings from CloudSat. These GLOBE students, working alongside NASA scientists, are helping to uncover important insights into record reduction of Arctic sea ice, global rainfall patterns and the effects of pollution on clouds in order to resolve questions about climate change.

CloudSat Education Network (CEN) Scientist Dr. Matt Rogers corresponds closely with team members Dr. Krisanadej Jareonsutasinee, Dr. Mullica Jaroensutasinee and Wittaya Pheera from Walailak University to sustain awareness of CloudSat activities in Thailand. On 6-7 January 2010, the team hosted a CloudSat Workshop, attended by 20 teachers and 20 students from 10 schools. Each class that participated in CloudSat research investigations was represented by a couple of students who presented their projects at the conference. This was a great start to a collaboration that will allow the next generation of scientists to share methods and compare data and observations about their local environments.

Conferences and Events

Students posing with a poster.

CES2 Conference

The Climate Change Education and Earth System Science (CES2) conference was also held in Phuket, Thailand on 8-10 January 2010. Thirty GLOBE teachers and students presented a total of 10 research projects on how weather parameters, cloud cover percentages, and CloudSat images are related to local organisms and environments. The CloudSat workshop and the CES2 Conference were both funded by GLOBE Thailand, the Institute for the Promotion of Teaching Science and Technology (IPST) and strongly supported by Dr. Pornpun Waitayangkul.

Teacher training at the CES2 conference included the GLOBE FLEXE Ecology Unit Pilot workshop, which drew the attendance of 20 teachers and 10 students from GLOBE schools in Thailand. Teachers and students experienced an exciting deep sea research methods training in extreme environments to engage students in a hands-on approach to science. In addition, Dr. Elena Sparrow, GLOBE Program Seasons and Biomes ESSP Scientist and U.S. Partner, and Dr. Leslie Gordon and Martha Kopplin from the Seasons and Biomes Project at the University of Alaska Fairbanks also worked with Walailak staff including Dr. K. Jaroensutasinee, Dr. M. Jaroensutasinee, and Siriwan Wongkoon to prepare a mosquito research presentation for the conference.

The CES2 conference encouraged International collaboration by involving other countries such as India and the United States. Thirty one participants traveled to the conference from India, including one principal, four IES teachers, and 22 students from five GLOBE schools. Students from India presented GLOBE projects and partook in other activities which are conducted as part of GLOBE protocols in schools.


Child looking at shells.

Thailand Marine Coastal Symposium

GLOBE Thailand hosted a Marine Hydrology Symposium on 3-4 February 2005, supported by Walailak University and The Institute for the Promotion of Teaching Science and Technology (IPST). The participants included GLOBE trainers, GLOBE Master Trainers, classroom teachers, as well as local scientists familiar with the GLOBE Program. This symposium piloted a revised Coastal Invertebrate Protocol to 30 participants from Thailand, Sri Lanka, and the United States. Many types of invertebrates were discovered including Barnacle: Chthamalus sp., Balanus sp., Sea slater ( Ligia sp.), Snail: Trochus maculatus (Spotted top shell), Littoraria sp., Nodilittorina sp., Limpet: Siphonaria sp. (False limpet shell), Crab: Metopograpsus sp., Grapsus albolineatus, Fiddler crab: Uca annulipes and others.

Participants also observed the bleaching and changing of coral reefs through satellite remote sensing, engaged in field studies of reef flats, sea grass and ongoing studies of the impact of the Sumatran Tsunami and recovery of local marine coastal resources. The GLOBE Marine Tsunami Project was begun at Pitchairattanakhan School in the Ranong province located just east of Myanmar. Students and teachers from four schools learned relevant GLOBE Protocols at this initial training and practiced them along the West coast, where visible impacts of the tsunami were evident.

Child doing soil science.

10th Annual GLOBE Conference

The 10th Annual GLOBE Conference was held in Phuket, Thailand, 30 July- 4 August 2006. This was the first Annual Conference to be held in Asia, allowing more international partners the opportunity to attend. The conference was hosted by IPST and GLOBE Country Coordinator Dr. Desh Bandhu, in collaboration with a committee of GLOBE Country Coordinators from the region and the GLOBE Program Office. The theme was "The New Decade for Global Sustainable Development," and focused on encouraging the GLOBE community to work together worldwide to improve education, enhance environmental awareness, and achieve a more complete scientific understanding of the Earth System. The 10th Annual Conference provided an introduction to integrated Earth System Science Projects (ESSPs) that have now become a cornerstone of GLOBE student research.

The GLOBE Program Office is pleased to invite all GLOBE Partners, Country Coordinators, teachers, and science and education community members to participate in the 15th GLOBE Annual Partner Meeting, taking place 17 - 22 July 2011, near Washington D.C. in the city of Bethesda, Maryland, U.S.A. The theme of this year's meeting is "Expanding International Perspectives About Climate." Visit the GLOBE web site for more information or the registration page to register now!

Students with a poster.

Under the leadership of GLOBE Country Coordinator Dr. Pornpun Waitayangkoon and her team, the GLOBE Program in Thailand utilizes its strengths to enhance science inquiry research for the benefit of its students, and the ever growing collection of worldwide GLOBE data. Through ESSPs, daily GLOBE Protocols, and both local and international events, the GLOBE community in Thailand continues to cultivate young scientists who are aware of the connections between all of Earth's systems.

Read more about GLOBE activities in Thailand:

1 June 2011