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Climate Literacy Ambassadors

Project Description

The Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS) has undertaken a three-tiered program to train G6-12 teachers to be Ambassadors of Climate Literacy in their local schools and communities. The complete training will involve participation at a teacher workshop combined with distance learning education culminating in a technology-supported virtual community of climate change educators. Participating teachers will also have the option to develop a capstone project engaging students in climate research utilizing NASA data. This proposal was submitted to GCCE funding category P (Goal 1): Improve Teacher Competency for Global Climate Change Education.

The workshops will recruit teachers to the project and provide an overview on climate change, NASA climate resources and detailed demonstrations of ways that NASA satellite data can be used to study and teach climate system science. Most of these 1-day climate workshops will be held at CIMSS in Madison, Wisconsin, in collaboration with the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD); however, several workshops will be scheduled in conjunction with annual meetings of the Federation of Earth System Information Partners (ESIP).

The distance learning curriculum (http://cimss.ssec.wisc.edu/climatechange/) utilizes e-learning technology to clarify graphs and concepts from the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Summary for Policy Makers with content intricately linked to the Essential Principles of Climate Literacy. Feedback from embedded questionnaires and phone interviews conducted by an outside evaluator during the 2008 course debut are being incorporated into a revised freely accessible version of the on-line course. Revision plans further include adding additional NASA activities and resources, identifying State and National Education Standards and a Spanish language version of the on-line curriculum. In support of teachers' professional development goals, the course will continue to be offered through the University of Wisconsin-Madison for college credit with University commitment to a reduced tuition rate for teachers.

Two hundred participating teachers will receive stipends as they progress through the Climate Literacy Ambassadors program and become climate resource agents for thousands of students and dozens of colleagues in their local schools and communities. Additional stipends will be available for teachers who undertake capstone projects that engage middle and high school students in research projects utilizing NASA data to investigate regional climate system topics.

Evaluation efforts and metrics for success will focus on discerning 1) the extent to which concepts from the IPCC Summary for Policy Makers and The Essential Principles of Climate Literacy are mastered by educators participating in the three-tiered program and 2) identifying which Essential Principles of Climate Literacy are addressed by student research projects supervised by emerging Climate Literacy Ambassadors.

All endeavors related to this project will be assisted through a technology-supported virtual community of G6-16 science teachers in regular communication with CIMSS and NASA scientists. The preponderance of web-based content and communication are intended to minimize the overall carbon footprint of this Climate Literacy Ambassadors project.

Contact Information:
Steve Ackerman, Project PI, steve.ackerman@ssec.wisc.edu
Margaret Mooney, Co-I, margaret.mooney@ssec.wisc.edu
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