Unlocking Environmental Puzzles One Measurement at a Time:17 Million Measurements

Across the world, GLOBE students from 110 countries have collected over 17 million data measurements about their local water, soil, plant life, atmosphere and climate since the establishment of the GLOBE Program just 13 years ago. Each month, the number of measurements grows as students record critical information about their ecosystems for use in their research as well as for scientists and their communities. Through data collection, students learn about their environment and help identify climate patterns and trends.

For important details on the top ranking schools reporting data in each region of the world, check out "Highlighting School Data: Schools Submitting Greatest Number of Measurements in Regions." We are always looking to hear from you about how your students and your scientists are using data soplease let us know, so that we can put a Star on the GLOBE Web site highlighting your students.

Communities Look to Students for Environmental Data

From testing drinking water for high nitrates, investigating light contamination, collecting data on malaria-transmitting mosquitoes, recording rain just before a wheat harvest (which affects the seeds for the following year), to monitoring lake and coastline pollution, students help their communities. Over time, they have collected enough data to provide some of the most complete public records of weather, water samples and other areas of environmental importance. Here are just a few examples from across the world:

  • Argentina. In Argentina, students documented the fluctuations of water flow for the Chimehuín River (a heavily used water source), water content of the soil in different areas and precipitation, "Incidence of precipitations in the volume of the Chimehuín River and in the water content of the ground in the area of the CEI 'San Ignacio." The results of this investigation and students' ongoing measurements are not only important to the school, local farmers and industrial food processors, but also municipal agencies controlling water consumption, as the human population significantly increases in the area.

  • Croatia. Using hydrology kits, students in Croatia tested water samples from many sources in the largely agricultural area of Prelog and in some cases found large concentrations of nitrates, prompting further water testing by professional institutions.

  • Egypt. The fresh water canal of Port Said in Egypt has been a designated study site for students, who have regularly collected water samples, analyzed and recorded their findings in their school GLOBE lab. Their studies found that the port's water quality improved significantly from the pre-treated water to the samples taken from the outlet of the water treatment plant in Port Said. However, pre-treated water caused students concern. By working with the Ministry of Education and GLOBE Egypt scientists, students developed a detailed Algae Chart, as algae serve as indicators of the amount and type of pollution. This facilitates ongoing studies and is part of a greater effort to raise general awareness of the serious impacts to Egypt's fresh water from garbage dumping, as well agricultural and industrial wastes.

  • India. Using GLOBE hydrology protocols, students and their teachers in India are working with the Ministry of Environment and Forests and the Indian Environmental Society (IES) to monitor the Yamuna River, which provides drinking water, irrigation and electric power generation. High population growth and rapid industrialization have threatened to severely pollute the river.

  • Madagascar. Working with scientists to learn more about mosquitoes that spread malaria,GLOBE students and teachers in Madagascar have collected and analyzed mosquito larva and water samples. This is part of the Madagascar Malaria Project to reduce the deadly malaria disease in Africa. In the most remote locations, GLOBE schools may be the only regular source of this data collection.

  • United States. When Washington State farmers found that rain just prior to a wheat harvest leads to early plant seed germination and made the seeds less useful for planting new wheat crops the following year, Washington State University researchers turned to GLOBE student weather records to help farmers with the problem.

  • Uruguay. Elementary students, their parents and teachers investigated light contamination in their neighborhood of Montevideo while they observed the stars, as part of Uruguay's GLOBE at Night. Sharing their research results with city authorities may lead to reducing light pollution in this city of over 1.3 million. From Latin America and across the world, over 60 countries have participated in GLOBE at Night activities.

Successful use of student data is often times made possible by the constant efforts of each GLOBE Country Coordinator and U.S. Partners. In their countries, these coordinators are constantly forming GLOBE Learning Communities to promote new collaborative projects between educators, students, scientists, subject experts and GLOBE alumni that lead to greater student data collection and broader data analysis by students and their communities.

Scientists Leverage Student Research

Premier academics, researchers, government officials and scientists have analyzed and published reports based on GLOBE student data, some of which are available on the Scientists' page. For example, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has adopted many GLOBE schools' climate measurements as part of their climate model.

In Thailand, for example, students from schools impacted by the 2005 tsunami are working with Thai and U.S. Scientists to study the recovery of the marine ecosystem. GLOBE Trainers and professors Drs. Mullica and Krisanadej Jaroensutasinee of Walailak University, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand developed the study with the support of Dr. Martha Conklin and Dr. Sarah May of University of California at Merced and Dr. Pornpun Waitayangkoon, of the Thailand Institute for the Promotion of Teaching Science and Technology. GLOBE Thailand's five-year study aims to examine the recovery of marine invertebrate species, changes in water quality, ecology and its atmospheric environment.

The data collection achievements of GLOBE students are especially valuable when they are thorough, persistent, and complete. Every two months, GLOBE celebrates schools' that provide high quality data through the Chief Scientist's Honor Roll.

Students not only provide data, they conduct their own analysis of their findings. As part of student investigation projects, students regularly create hypotheses, analyze data, draw conclusions, and report their results. These data and the student investigation reports are available on the GLOBE Web site, organized by country. In this way, students share valuable findings with other GLOBE students, scientists and the rest of the world. Most importantly, teachers play an integral role in every aspect of GLOBE student research. Over 40,000 GLOBE-trained teachers from 20,000 schools have worked with their students to contributed millions of measurements to the GLOBE online database.

Inspiration through Data Gathering

Through using scientific protocols and learning research methodologies, GLOBE students have demonstrated an integrated view of science, mathematics and technology. They've gathered important data that are sometimes unduplicated and highly useful to their communities. But students' work hasn't stopped there. Students apply what they gain through their GLOBE studies in a wide range of creative outlets and scholastic pursuits. All across the curriculum, GLOBE expands skill levels as evidenced by examples below:

Science, Mathematics and Technology

GLOBE protocols and learning activities complement the Alabama, USA Math, Science, and Technology Initiative (AMSTI) inquiry-based modular math and science units, to create a comprehensive curricular package for Alabama, USA K-8 teachers and students. GLOBE activities in Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and Ethiopia are expanding and many people in these countries have reported that GLOBE is an important means to build the combined science, math and technology capacity of students.

Geography and Social Studies

GLOBE has provided schools with hands-on experience in basic geography skills such as understanding latitude, longitude, scale, map elements, and special analysis. GLOBE has recently partnered with National Geographic in a world-wide campaign, My Wonderful World, to improved geographic literacy.

Languages and Culture

In partnerships and exchange programs between schools, in live video Web chats, and through the GLOBE Alumni Network, GLOBE Students come together from different cultures, speaking different languages to work together, learning about important environmental issues that affect us all.

Art and the Humanities

From Bangladesh to Thailand to the Czech Republic, France and Hungary, students have photographed and illustrated local wildlife, plants, clouds and the dynamic weather in the rich colors of their countries. In addition, teachers have reporting supplementing their school's curriculum with GLOBE activities related to drama, drawing, music, photographyphysical education, cross-age tutoring and community service learning.

Around the world students are hard at work using GLOBE protocols to conduct research to benefit the environment, enhance environmental awareness and improve student achievement across the curriculum. Congratulations to all students whose GLOBE research has contributed to another milestone: 17 million measurements!

Visualize 17 Million Measurements

Imagine that each measurement is represented by one student. If 17 million students stood side by side, one meter apart, and held hands, this chain of students would stretch approximately 20,014 km, or the distance between the North Pole and the South Pole!
26 September 2007


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