AAAS Project 2061 - Climate Literacy Materials Using NOAA and NASA Data
Principal Investigators: Jo Ellen Roseman
Project Website: http://www.Project2061.org
NOAA Environmental Literacy Grant #NA09SEC4690008
NASA Global Climate Change Education Grant #NNX09AL72G
Project 2061, AAAS's science literacy initiative, has received two grants to develop classroom materials to help middle-school students understand important concepts related to weather and climate. Funded by a NOAA Environmental Literacy grant and a NASA Global Climate Change Education grant, Project 2061 will provide teachers, curriculum developers, and other educators with free, online access to teaching resources focused on a variety of earth, ocean, and atmospheric phenomena. The new materials will be well aligned to fundamental concepts in Climate Literacy: The Essential Principles of Climate Sciences and to the relevant national and state science standards.
"Given the implications of global climate change, understanding the basics of climate science is a high priority for all students," said Jo Ellen Roseman, director of Project 2061. "These grants enable us to use data from NASA and NOAA global observations of oceans, atmosphere, land surface, and the biosphere to engage students in interesting real-world phenomena and to design activities to help them make sense of the phenomena in terms of the underlying science principles," added Roseman, the principal investigator on the grants.
A Project 2061 team made up of staff and experts in climate science, middle-school science teaching, and other areas began their effort to develop and test the materials in Fall 2009. The materials include learning experiences built around phenomena and representations drawn from NASA and NOAA data, along with assessment items to monitor students' understanding; teaching suggestions to help students make connections between the phenomena and representations and the underlying scientific ideas; clarifications of the concepts to be targeted by the materials; and summaries of students' common misconceptions. Teachers and students in Montgomery County (MD) Public Schools, Denver Public Schools, and schools in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts will participate in the materials development process through focus groups, interviews, and pilot and field testing draft activities and assessments. Panels of expert scientists and science educators will also review the draft materials and provide feedback.
When they're completed, the materials will be placed in an online, searchable database on the Project 2061 website. Teachers can then use the materials to enrich existing lesson plans or integrate them with new curriculum materials. "We think that these kinds of activities—missing from most textbooks—can make a big difference in both motivating students and in helping them understand important science ideas," Roseman said. It should take about two years before the first materials are available to teachers.
The decision to focus on materials for middle grades enables Project 2061 to respond to the well-documented problems that many students encounter in the middle-school years. Declines in U.S. students' science performance from elementary to middle school and how this lack of understanding leaves middle-school students unprepared for high school and more likely to lose interest in science.
Jo Ellen Roseman, AAAS Project 2061 (firstname.lastname@example.org)