Stars and STEM Stories
International Training Workshop Helps to Expand GLOBE in Costa Rica
Costa Rica has been working with the hydrosphere protocols since it became involved in the GLOBE Program in 1996. As a challenge for this year, the country coordinator of the program in the country, Virginia Aguilar (a graduate in biological sciences, who is now working with the Omar Dengo Foundation) decided to expand training of her GLOBE teachers in additional protocols and research, including the atmosphere protocol.
Aguilar addressed this issue at the International Atmosphere Workshop at the Latin University of Costa Rica in Montes de Oca (province of San José in Costa Rica). The workshop was organized with the collaboration of GLOBE master trainers: teacher Marta Kingsland (country coordinator in Argentina) and Claudia Caro (biologist). Andrea Ventoso (country coordinator in Uruguay) also participated to become certified as an atmosphere master trainer. These three were in charge of the training workshop, which also included a very detailed introduction to the GLOBE Program; the theory and practice of protocols; and the mosquito protocol, recently introduced to the set of hydrosphere protocols.
27 teachers (25 from high school, with backgrounds in science and educational computing; and two from primary school) attended the workshop. These teachers had been previously trained in the hydrosphere protocols, so they knew GLOBE methodology in detail. However, the workshop strengthened their knowledge and introduced them to new protocols, campaigns and research questions. Primarily with regard to the atmosphere research area and the mosquito protocol. The mosquito protocol is important for the prevention of water borne diseases such as Dengue, Zika and Chikungunya.
Participants were assigned to one of three groups. They worked with GLOBE staff and the instruments were provided by the coordinators, the Gregorio José Ramírez School and the trainers. The groups focused on:
- temperature, relative humidity and the clouds protocols
- biometry and precipitation
- site definition (including instruction on the location of the instruments shelter and rain gauge)
- the surface temperature protocol
In the classrooms, attendees took part in practical activities, such as the thermometers activity, thermometers calibration, the “making rain” activity and construction of densitometers, to support the understanding of concepts and protocols.
According to Marta Kingsland: “One of the main goals of the workshop was to highlight the importance of introducing the GLOBE Program in the curricular planning to generate pedagogical activities that enable the application of the scientific method in the classroom."
Quoting words of Biosphere Master Trainer, Claudia Caro: “The workshop helped promote the integration of different investigation areas in Costa Rica. In this way, we can take advantage of the experience of the GLOBE teachers to develop hydrology research -- this has been quite outstanding in the Latin American and Caribbean region.”
In turn, according to Virginia Aguilar: “This workshop enabled our teachers to widen their vision of the scientific and educational potential of the GLOBE program, valuing the multiple opportunities for collaboration with other countries in the LAC region.”
At the conclusion of the workshop, a brief evaluation was administered from which some comments arose that reflect the teachers' interest in the training performed:
- “To strengthen the application of the atmosphere protocols as a GLOBE teacher in Costa Rica allows me to relate them to the hydrology protocols for the research I do with students.”
- “Regarding the workshop, it seemed excellent to me since it helped me remember protocols and correct some mistakes I performed when I applied them. I also learned new ones.”
- “…since my point of view, I look forward to know more each day in order to inculcate in my students the necessary guide to achieve a meaningful process-mediated learning. Training is a great support to acquire new knowledge.”
- “…This learning is never forgotten and you understand the importance for your community.”
- “This training has been excellent, all the trainers have been good and voluntary.”
According to the trainers, the workshop has provided teachers with new opportunities to widen their research projects with students. With the addition of the atmosphere protocols, teachers have been enabled to include hydrosphere protocols, and to apply these protocols to the study of the weather and climate in Costa Rica.
Contributed by: Andrea Ventoso, GLOBE Country Coordinator of Uruguay