NASA Earth Science Education Collaborative

The NASA Earth Science Education Collaborative (NESEC) is a partnership between four GLOBE Partners: the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) and NASA Earth science divisions at three NASA Centers: Goddard Space Flight Center, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Langley Research Center.

What we do: NESEC is enhancing STEM teaching and learning by creating engaging, meaningful, and authentic STEM experiences and resources that are:

  • based on NASA Earth science;
  • tailored to specific audiences’ needs;
  • as a whole, reaching diverse learners throughout their lifetimes; and
  • delivered broadly through strategic partnerships.

How we do it: NESEC's interrelated activities and partnerships include citizen science with A) GLOBE Observer, B) GLOBE Student Investigations with NASA, and C) Strategic Partnerships and Collaborations. Check out some of the products and resources that have been developed by the NESEC team to facilitate investigations using NASA Data (at the bottom of this page)

A) Citizen Science with GLOBE Observer

As part of the NESEC CAN Award, GLOBE Observer (GO) is designed to expand the GLOBE Program to non-student audiences.

Citizen Scientists can currently take and submit observations related to: Clouds and Mosquito Habitat Mapper (MHM)with adopt-a-pixel/land cover planned to be available in late 2017.

The GO Clouds app asks citizen scientists to make sky observations and take pictures that can be compared with NASA satellite images to help scientists understand the sky from above and below. The GO MHM supports citizen scientists to map, count and identify mosquito larvae found in breeding sites and promotes mitigation of breeding areas.

A limited edition GO Eclipse app, enabled citizen scientists to collect and submit observations related to the August 21, 2017, total solar eclipse across North America. The GO Eclipse data analysis page provides tips and tricks for accessing the data and example graphs.

Download the app:

B) GLOBE Student Investigations with NASA

The overarching idea of GLOBE Student Investigations with NASA is creating opportunities for the GLOBE community to more directly align authentic science engagement with NASA STEM assets - science, data and subject matter experts - to stimulate curiosity and inspire scientific inquiry. These opportunities include sponsoring and supporting GLOBE student research and field campaigns and providing broader connections to NASA science.

Two GLOBE Student Research Campaigns are being conducted that are aligned to Earth system phenomena - El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and Aerosols. Both campaigns are working towards a broader thematic approach: ENSO is focused on Water in Our Environment and Aerosols on Air Quality.

The ENSO Phase III: Water in Our Environment Student Research Campaign (led by Brian Campbell, GSFC WFF) received approval by GIO to continue for a third phase (September 15, 2017 - June 30, 2018) and focuses on student interpretation of data and collaborative sharing with other classrooms, through the lens of NASA-infused questions about water in the Earth system. Each of three investigation areas is focused on a set of complementary GLOBE protocols: What is the quality of water in our environment? What impacts does water, above and below ground, have on our environment? and How does water in our environment impact living things?

These new guiding investigative questions are more strongly aligned with phenomenon-based science teaching practices and with NASA Earth Science focus areas, and take a broader thematic view of GLOBE’s place in the STEM classroom. Note that participation in ENSO Phase III does not require prior participation in the campaign.  See the ENSO III website to learn how to participate.

The Air Quality Student Research Campaign (led by Dr. Margaret Pippin, LaRC) is US-based, though the lead has coordinated the timeline to complement the European Air Quality campaign. Twenty seven schools participated in the 2016-2017 campaign. The schools are directly mentored by Dr. Pippin and each school received a GLOBE approved aerosol sun photometer that they are borrowing during the timeline of the campaign. Several schools connected virtually with one another and each school received a certificate of appreciation for their contribution of GLOBE data. The team also developed and tested new GLOBE Aerosols e-Training slides; this development of resources was necessary given the response from schools that purchased their own hand-held aerosol instruments. This year, the Air Quality campaign will be expanded to include an additional 20 schools.

C) Strategic Partnerships

NESEC is working to develop, promote, and facilitate the use of NASA Earth science content through the broad dissemination channels of strategic partners. For example, the team is expanding the participation of key audiences by leveraging partnerships with 4-H and the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC). 

The team works collaboratively with the GLOBE Program, GLOBE Implementation Office (GIO) and GLOBE DIS, and other GLOBE Partner CAN Awards, including GLOBE Mission Earth (University of Toledo), Project AREN (Wayne RESA), and Arctic and Earth SIGNS (University of Alaska, Fairbanks).

External partners also include Odyssey of the Mind, an international creative problem-solving competition, Girl Scouts/SciStarter, Boy Scouts, American Geosciences Institute/Earth Science Week, and collaborations fostered across the NASA SMD collective of education projects and networks.

Resources and Products

Following are some of the recent products and resources developed by the NESEC team members:

Educator Toolkit: Framing Phenomena-Based Student Investigations (2017)

earthandhumanactivityNASA Earth science research, observations, visualization tools, and education resources are available for learners of all ages to connect learning to real world science, across topics—including: Earth systems, climate and weather, global climate change, and natural hazards. This toolkit features NASA resources for grades K-12 that can support and frame student investigations with NASA data and content. 





National Parks – from Space

This collection of stories and images was compiled from NASA’s Earth Observatory. The IGES team worked with Earth to Sky (a NASA-National Park System partnership) and NASA’s Landsat mission outreach to create this curated collection and identified strategies and supplemental resources for educators to use the stories with middle and high school students.








This project is based upon work supported by NASA under IGES award No. NNX16AE28A: The NASA Earth Science Education Collaborative.  Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.