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NOAA OED - ELG FY2005 Awardees
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Environmental Literacy Grants Program

Environmental Literacy: FY05

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Overview of Funding Announcement

NOAA's Office of Education solicited 1- to 3-year proposals for environmental literacy projects. Funded projects further NOAA's education goals articulated in the NOAA Education Plan. Funding was made available to encourage the development of partnerships and to support existing, or foster growth of new, environmental literacy projects. This program had two funding priorities for FY05: (1) Partnerships that promote systemic change in NOAA-related science education, and (2) Innovative presentation of NOAA science and earth observing data through educational data visualizations and other educational tools. Within priority two, NOAA had committed to funding the installation of up to four “Science on a Sphere” (SOS) data systems at informal education venues. These “Science on a Sphere” installations were funded by way of one- to three-year cooperative agreements.

Awards

Priority 1: Partnerships that promote systemic change in NOAA-related science education. $2.08 million was awarded in FY 2005. For more information regarding specific awards, please contact the Office of Education Grants Team.

Project Title PI/co-PI/Institution(s) Amount Awarded Abstract
DataStreme Ocean : AMS/NOAA Teacher Enhancement Ira W. Geer, American Meteorological Society $390,000 Click here

The Earth & Sky/NOAA Partnership

Ryan Britton, Earth & Sky

$372,113 Click here

Multicultural students At Sea Together-3 (MAST-3)

Benjamin Cuker, Hampton University

$359,099 Click here
Building and Distributing SciGuides and Science Objects Albert Byers, National Science Teachers Association

$463,071

Click here
National Model Earth Science Lab Course Daniel Barstow, Tamara Ledley, and Kathryn Manduca, TERC

$497,029

Click here

 


Priority 2: Innovative presentation of NOAA science and earth observing data through educational data visualizations and other educational tools, including installation and use of NOAA's Science on a Sphere. $2.0 million was awarded in FY 2005. For more information regarding specific awards, please contact the Office of Education Grants Team.

Project Title PI/co-PI/Institution(s) Amount Awarded Abstract
A Comprehensive Environmental Education Program Centered on NOAA's Science On a Sphere™ Mike Shanahan and Kay Fullerton, Bishop Museum $493,970 Click here

NOAA's Science On a Sphere™ at the Bishop Museum

Mike Shanahan, Bishop Museum

$70,000 Click here

The Tech Museum Environmental Literacy Programming Grant

Greg Brown, The Tech Museum of Innovation

$230,602 Click here
The Tech Museum Cooperative Agreement with NOAA for Installation of Science On a Sphere™ (SOS) Greg Brown, The Tech Museum of Innovation

$70,000

Click here

Science On a Sphere™ (SOS) Partnership Cooperative Agreement--A Collaborative Project

Roberta Cooks, Maryland Science Center; Patrick Hamilton, Science Museum of Minnesota

$70,000 to Maryland Science Center

$70,000 to Science Museum of Minnesota

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Science On a Sphere™ Partnership Programming Proposal--A Collaborative Project Roberta Cooks, Maryland Science Center; Patrick Hamilton, Science Museum of Minnesota

$279,925 to Maryland Science Center

$219,999 to Science Museum of Minnesota

Click here

Educational Applications of the National Maritime Center Science on a Sphere™--A Collaborative Project

Steven Ackerman, University of Wisconsin-Madison and John Anderson, Hampton University

$298,134 to Univ. of Wisconsin

$201,866 to Hampton Univ.

Click here

Abstracts

Priority 1

Title: DataStreme Ocean : AMS/NOAA Teacher Enhancement
Institution: American Meteorological Society
PI (s): Ira W. Geer
Amount Awarded: $390,000
Abstract: This project provides for the continued development of a national cadre of precollege teachers competent in ocean and coastal environmental science content and appropriate pedagogy who serve as Ocean Education Resource Teachers and leaders in their local areas and home states. In recognition of the vital role of teachers in promoting environmental literacy, the American Meteorological Society (AMS) proposes the ongoing offering and continual development of its inservice precollege teacher enhancement course entitled DataStreme Ocean.

The semester-long, three-credit hour graduate course will be offered at up to 25 sites nationally via three-member Local Implementation Teams (LITs). About 75 specially trained precollege teachers, college/university professors, and scientists serve on LITs. Project institutional partners include NOAA and the State University of New York at Brockport. DataStreme Ocean is partially delivered online and focuses on investigations of the ocean and coastal environment emphasizing the use of the most current NOAA data available on the Internet. Offered fall and spring semesters, 400 teachers will be trained during the 2005-06 school year. As part of their training, participants develop Plans of Action outlining their roles as Ocean Education Resource Teachers in their schools.

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Title: The Earth & Sky/NOAA Partnership
Institution: Earth & Sky
PI (s): Ryan Britton
Amount Awarded: $372,113
Abstract: The Earth & Sky radio series proposes to produce, distribute, market and evaluate 72 compelling environmental radio programs on oceanic and atmospheric topics featuring NOAA scientists, data and information. These programs will air at a rate of 24 programs per year over a three-year period as part of Earth & Sky's regularly scheduled programming to its many affiliates.

Earth & Sky will feature this new radio programming on our web site. The programs will be available in both text and a variety of audio formats including downloadable mp3 files, streaming m3u files, and will be available for podcast. The web site will also feature additional information that augments and supports the content of the radio programs, including links to relevant information, encouraging web visitors to delve deeper into a topic area and learn more.

Project Learning Tree (PLT) is an award-winning environmental education program designed for teachers and other educators, parents, and community leaders working with youth from preschool through grade 12. PLT will correlate their vast catalogue of existing environmental education curricula to each show. Correlations for each program will be listed next to that show in the dedicated PLT section of Earth & Sky's website.

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Title: Multicultural students At Sea Together-3 (MAST-3)
Institution: Hampton University
PI (s): Benjamin Cuker
Amount Awarded: $ 359,099
Abstract: The primary goal of MAST-3 is to increase the diversity of students; particularly those from underrepresented groups, electing careers in NOAA related marine sciences. This is done through a multidisciplinary program that engages students in NOAA-related marine research, and explores marine policy, the heritage of African Americans and Native Americans in the coastal environment, and seamanship. MAST students will use the Chesapeake Bay to understand efforts to protect, restore and manage the use of coastal and ocean resources through an ecosystem approach to management. To do this, Hampton University forms partnerships with various NOAA labs/sites, several university laboratories, the USEPA, various museums, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and the menhaden fishing industry.

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Title: Building and Distributing SciGuides and Science Objects
Institution: National Science Teachers Association
PI (s): Albert Byers
Amount Awarded: $463,071
Abstract: In fall 2004, the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) embarked on a cooperative agreement with the NOAA National Ocean Service (NOS) to develop a series of education products for teachers corresponding to topics aligned to NOAA's mission. The products--called Science Objects and SciGuides--address teacher professional development needs, and provide classroom resources. The agreement includes both evaluative components and a means for dissemination. The topics are drawn from science education standards, specifically a draft Oceans map AAAS produced that is modeled after the benchmark maps found in the Atlas of Science Literacy (AAAS and NSTA, 2001). The topics are also informed by the National Science Educations Standards (N. R. Council, 1996). The topics were selected to support the curriculum at the high school level. These topics were in turn aligned to science research produced by NOAA scientists.

Several months after the cooperative agreement was formalized, NSTA and the NOAA Office of Education and Sustainable Development agreed to a work order to produce a single SciGuide at the middle school level that will draw on topics found in the AAAS Weather and Climate map. Production for this SciGuide is due to start in June 2005 and will be completed in November 2005.

To ensure topic choices, NSTA standards experts proposed a list from which to choose. Its experts also concentrated their analysis of the maps to the grade bands that interested each line office – high school for the NOS and middle school for the OESD. The universe of topics is far from exhausted. NSTA would like to expand on these partnerships to plan, implement, and evaluate two additional Science Objects and two SciGuides at the middle level, which will be disseminated through two Symposia that take place at NSTA conventions in fall 2006 and spring 2007. The additional development will fill in two of the gaps left open in the maps, and equip even more science educators to better teach the science of the NOAA, namely oceans, coasts, charting and navigation, weather, energy flow through an ecosystem, and climate. This partnership will bring NSTA educational professionals and master teachers together in an ongoing working relationship with NOAA scientists, writers, content experts, and communications professionals. 

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Title: National Model Earth Science Lab Course
Institution: TERC
PI (s): Daniel Barstow, Tamara Ledley, and Kathryn Manduca,
Amount Awarded: $497,029
Abstract: A collaboration of five key states, an array of scientists and educators, and an experienced science curriculum team will develop and establish a National Model Earth Science Lab Course, providing standards and exemplary activities that will reach hundreds of thousands of students annually. The team will create a lab handbook with guidelines and exemplary activities in Earth system science and environmental literacy. All materials will be published on the web and available for free to teachers and students.

The initial set of four exemplary labs will engage students in field experiences, classroom experiments and active use of data and computer visualizations dealing with oceans, atmosphere and other NOAA domains. These hands-on learning experiences will help students develop environmental literacy, build deep understandings of Earth as a system, and apply scientific thinking, problem-solving, and data analysis. The participating states view this as filling a crucial gap in the approval and implementation of Earth science as a standard high school lab science.

This project builds on planning done in a series of projects: National Conference on the Revolution in Earth Science Education, State Alliances for Earth Science Education, and Planning Grant for Earth System Science as a High School Lab Science. This National Model responds directly to essential needs expressed by the states. The labs will comply with national and state standards for Earth science and meet requirements for a true lab science course.

This project is bold and ambitious, but also essential for states striving to strengthen their high school Earth science offerings, and it is a practical response to NOAA's need to infuse its resources into the fabric of public Earth science education.

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Priority 2

Title: A Comprehensive Environmental Education Program Centered on NOAA's Science On a Sphere™
Institution: Bishop Museum
PI (s): Mike Shanahan and Kay Fullerton
Amount Awarded: $493,970
Abstract: The Bishop Museum will develop, implement and evaluate of a full set of informal education programs centered on the Science On a Sphere™ exhibit. This proposal includes the following programs and exhibits:
-Eleven classroom modules on earth and ocean sciences (one module for each grade from kindergarten through 10th) using a field trip to the Science On a Sphere™ (SOS) and the new Science Adventure Center at Bishop Museum as the keystone for each module.
- Exhibits in the planetarium lobby that will augment the SOS display by providing additional content information, local tie-ins, and information on how SOS works.
- Daily live demonstrations at the sphere. This includes public demonstrations (1200 shows, 22,000 attendees during the grant period) and school children (400 shows, 9600 attendees during the grant period) for a total attendance of 31,600.
-Yearly teacher workshops (2 total, 80 educators) to promote the use of the classroom modules mentioned above with NOAA staff and museum staff.

Special-event programming incorporating the sphere: 1) An eight-session lecture series featuring NOAA staff; 2) Two annual ”Mad About Science” Festivals; 3) Eight Family Sunday events; 4) Twenty local television news and weather broadcasts using the sphere and its programs for content and background.

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Title: NOAA's Science On a Sphere™ at the Bishop Museum (Installation award)
Institution: Bishop Museum
PI (s): Mike Shanahan
Amount Awarded: $70,000
Abstract: Bishop Museum proposes an installation of a Science On a Sphere™ (SOS) at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu , Hawai‘i beginning in 2005-2006. Science on a Sphere, a spherical multimedia display on which NOAA data can be displayed, provides an unparalleled opportunity for innovative and meaningful environmental education for all ages.

Teaching environmental literacy in Hawai‘i presents unique challenges and opportunities for the educator. Hawai‘i's natural environment is ideal for conducting research and education on significant topics of earth and ocean sciences; NOAA scientists currently play a large role in ongoing research in and around the Hawaiian Islands . Topics such as climate, ocean and coastal environments, weather, air and atmospheric quality and volcanoes are all of great interest to Hawaii's residents and visitors. However, the geographic isolation of the islands may result in a diminished global perspective among Hawaii's student and general populations. These factors, combining demonstrated interest with demonstrated need, make Hawai‘i an ideal location for the Science On a Sphere™ project.

The addition of a SOS unit to the Museum will allow visitors to learn about the global earth systems that underlie the “science of Hawai‘i” featured in the Science Adventure Center at the Bishop Museum. The Bishop Museum plans to install the SOS as the central exhibit in a public gallery adjacent to the Museum's planetarium and the main entrance to the Museum grounds. The Science On a Sphere™ globe will feature a variety of data sets that will change on a regular basis when not being used by a live presenter. In addition, Bishop Museum staff and scientists will be able to assist in creating new and exciting visuals for SOS.

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Title: The Tech Museum Environmental Literacy Programming Grant
Institution: Tech Museum of Innovation
PI (s): Greg Brown
Amount Awarded: $230,602
Abstract: The Tech Museum of Innovation (The Tech) in San Jose, California proposes to partner with NOAA to integrate Science On a Sphere™ (SOS) into The Tech's Exploration gallery and to facilitate the development of informal and formal learning programs. Exhibits and programs at The Tech focus on the integration of emerging technologies into hands-on visitor experiences.

In 2004, The Tech partnered with NOAA, the Maryland Science Center (MSC), and a consortium of national science centers to explore the potential and effectiveness of SOS as a method of engaging and informing the general public about NOAA-related sciences. Initial testing of SOS at the Maryland Science Center revealed that SOS is a visually compelling and engaging medium for conveying complex scientific information to museum visitors. Ninety-eight percent of visitors tested regarded a facilitated SOS program as a good or excellent experience with strong visitor retention suggesting the potential of SOS as a compelling visitor tool. However, when the experience was not facilitated this retention dropped dramatically. Support from NOAA will enable The Tech to test SOS and NOAA data in a number of formats to determine the most effective ways to utilize this incredible technology. The results of this evaluation will be shared with other museums using SOS to improve its reach in teaching informal audiences and promoting interest in both STEM content and NOAA research.

The SOS exhibit will bring together scientists, technologists, informal education specialists, and young users to unlock the educational potential of NOAA's datasets and further NOAA's educational plan. Hands-on experiences using SOS will engage visitors in meaningful explorations of NOAA data. The Tech Museum will make SOS accessible to people of all ages, backgrounds, and educational levels. All panel text, audio, and captions will be presented in both English and Spanish to allow greater accessibility for local audiences. SOS will provide the programming platform upon which to explore the educational opportunities of this gallery as it illustrates how data collected with remote sensing technologies is helping us understand and make predictions about our dynamic environment and the future of our planet. SOS will illustrate how these data collecting technologies assist us in developing our knowledge about our planet and its solar system.

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Title: The Tech Museum Cooperative Agreement with NOAA for Installation of Science On a Sphere™ (SOS) (Installation award)
Institution: The Tech Museum of Innovation
PI (s): Greg Brown
Amount Awarded: $70,000
Abstract: This cooperative agreement will support the Tech Museum of Innovation (The Tech) in San Jose , California in acquiring SOS-related hardware and software, as well as providing the technical support to facilitate the installation of SOS in The Tech's Exploration Gallery in 2005-2006.

Science On a Sphere™ will be the focal point of The Tech Museum's newly renovated Explorations gallery. The dramatic sphere will draw visitors to the center of the 8,000 square-foot space. Hands-on experiences around the sphere will engage visitors in meaningful explorations of NOAA data. The Tech Museum will apply its exhibit and program development expertise to make SOS accessible to people of all ages, backgrounds, and educational levels. All panel text, audio, and captions will be presented in both English and Spanish to allow greater accessibility for local audiences.

The Tech's SOS system will focus on three topics of great interest to Californians:

Earthquakes, Oceans, Space. NOAA data will enable us to showcase the technology that is used to measure, monitor, and track environmental changes in our world. We hope to further address the potential of data modeling to aid in predicting the future state of the environment based on our actions.

The Tech is also opening a new environment exhibition, Green By Design (GBD) in 2006. This exhibit focuses on how sustainable design and technological innovation offer potential solutions to many of our global environmental challenges. SOS will provide a compelling centerpiece to support the educational purpose of this gallery as it effectively illustrates how data collected with remote sensing technologies are helping us understand and make predictions about our dynamic environment and the future of our planet. SOS will illustrate how these data collecting technologies assist us in developing our knowledge about our planet and its solar system.

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Title: Science On a Sphere™ (SOS) Partnership Cooperative Agreement (Installation award)--A Collaborative Project
Institutions: Maryland Science Center with Science Museum of Minnesota
PI (s): Roberta Cooks, Maryland Science Center ; Patrick Hamilton, Science Museum of Minnesota
Amount Awarded: $140,000
Abstract: This proposal is for the installation of a Science On a Sphere™ in the two museums comprising the SOS Partnership—a collaboration between the Maryland Science Center ( Baltimore ) and the Science Museum of Minnesota ( St. Paul ). Each of the two museum installations will take advantage of the wide variety of NOAA data sets that Science On a Sphere™ (SOS) projects onto a six-foot sphere, creating unique, animated, whole-planet views of real-time, past and forecasted, weather, climate and geophysical processes, and many other dramatic visualizations of the whole Earth.

Working with NOAA, the Maryland Science Center (MSC) experimented with SOS in its facility in June 2004 and learned about the considerable potential of this visualization technology to engage and inform public audiences about NOAA-related sciences. According to the SOS evaluation report prepared for MSC by RMC Research Corporation in December 2004, the vast majority of audiences stayed through 40-minute presentations, with many remaining afterwards to ask questions of the presenters. Most of these visitors said they would return to see this exhibit again and would recommend it to others. The overwhelmingly positive response of MSC audiences to SOS points to the potential for this technology to be a powerful visitor learning experience in the informal education environments of museums.

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Title: Science On a Sphere™ Partnership Programming Proposal--A Collaborative Project
Institution: Maryland Science Center and Science Museum of Minnesota
PI (s): Roberta Cooks, Maryland Science Center ; Patrick Hamilton, Science Museum of Minnesota
Amount Awarded: $499,924
Abstract: Using the relative strengths of each museum, the Science On a Sphere™ Partnership between the Maryland Science Center (MSC) and the Science Museum of Minnesota (SMM) proposes to develop jointly two complementary but distinct exhibit approaches to Science On a Sphere™ (SOS). With its existing TerraLink exhibition and prior experience with SOS, MSC has strong in-house expertise in NOAA-related sciences and first-hand knowledge of how SOS works in an informal education setting. With its experience in the production of high-definition 3D cinema and its digital research and development center, SMM has expertise in the development and testing of new digital approaches to science learning.

Based on MSC's and SMM's combined yearly attendance, SOS will be available to 1.5 million visitors annually for the two years of this project. SMM—with the assistance of MSC—will incorporate SOS into a national traveling exhibition called “WATER PLANET.” Twenty museums already have expressed interest in hosting the exhibition. WATER PLANET, with SOS as one of its anchor experiences, will be seen by an estimated one million people a year once its tour begins in summer 2009.

Working with NOAA, MSC operated SOS in its facility in June 2004. Both SOS partner museums will develop and test somewhat differing approaches to presenting SOS to their audiences because of their different respective institutional settings for SOS, but both museums share in common expected outcomes for their visitors and for the project as a whole.

Audiences interacting with SOS will view the Earth in fundamentally new ways. A globe is the most accurate representation possible of the spherical Earth and thus SOS will enable viewers to observe global connections in geophysical phenomena not possible with any two dimensional representation of the Earth. Museum visitors will understand the technology of SOS and will recognize differences among past, real-time, and forecasted planetary data. They will appreciate how these data help humans monitor the Earth and will comprehend how human activities are influencing global processes now and might do so in the future. They will think about what actions need to be taken to support a healthy environment.

The SOS Partnership will develop ways to maximize the potential for museums to rapidly and readily refresh SOS content with current satellite datasets and will develop standardized SOS operation and maintenance protocols, thus facilitating adoption of SOS by other museums. The Partnership will develop means by which people can interact with SOS without the necessity of human mediation. MSC and SMM will experiment with how to use SOS to interest underserved audiences in science related careers. And the SOS partner museums will use SOS to test new partnership models for how informal science centers work with NOAA, other science research organizations, colleges and universities that broaden the educational impact of all groups.

The SOS Partnership will conduct a rigorous set of formative, remedial, and summative evaluations of this project. The evaluation work will be conducted both by museum staff and by an outside evaluator with considerable experience in evaluating these types of projects. Both SOS partner museums are committed to broadly disseminating information about SOS to the museum community and are already involved in activities that do so.

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Title: Educational Applications of the National Maritime Center Science on a Sphere™--A Collaborative Project
Institution:
University of Wisconsin-Madison and Hampton University
PI (s): Steven Ackerman (University of Wisconsin-Madison) and John Anderson (Hampton University)
Amount Awarded: $500,000
Abstract: It is proposed to develop and implement a strong environmental literacy and science education program that promotes NOAA's Science on a Sphere™ (SOS), recently installed at The National Maritime Center's Nauticus museum. The program will create state-of-the-art science displays for the SOS that are integrated with high quality education materials that are aligned with national standards and specifically address the NOAA Education Plan. The University of Wisconsin (UW) has expertise in satellite data access and visualization systems. Hampton University (HU) has an excellent atmospheric and marine sciences education program. The National Maritime Center (TNMC), in close proximity to HU, has a strong education department interested in making effective use of the newly acquired SOS. The capabilities of these three partners will create an exciting and innovative education and information environment surrounding the SOS.

This program will use the SOS as a focal point to support learning about global oceanic and atmospheric circulations and their effect on local environments. The TNMC will have the capability to rapidly make the public aware of environmental events that are making the news. The team will create real time global displays of environmental phenomena for the SOS from the expansive UW environmental satellite database. Supporting computer visualization systems will allow viewers to move from global scale to regional and local scale in order to examine specific features of the phenomena being visualized. Thus, the program will create a rich data environment by integrating high spatial and temporal resolution visualizations of environmental phenomena to complement the global visualizations provided by the SOS.
Education materials will be developed that are suitable for formal and informal education programs. These will inform TNMC visitors about Earth environmental phenomena (e.g., Hurricanes and El Niño). User-driven interactive displays (e.g. kiosks) will allow visitors to learn about the physical processes producing the phenomena they see on the SOS and supporting systems, and then explore and understand them in greater detail. For example, the SOS display of a hurricane tracking across the Atlantic Ocean will be complimented with high resolution displays of the storm as it nears the U.S. East Coast. Viewers will be able to interactively investigate the storm using NOAA data, learn about the causes of hurricanes, and answer questions to test their understanding. Educators and scientists will collaborate to develop an online Problem-Based Learning (PBL) module on hurricanes to support classroom activities. To evaluate and improve these materials, the partners will provide field trips and docents to TNMC, including HU and UW graduate students. The teaming of HU, UW and TNMC in this program offers the opportunity to expose students from ethnic minority groups to various NOAA career paths and help produce graduates with solid technical backgrounds. The partnership leverages activities and expertise at each institution thereby reducing the cost and providing sustainability of the developed products. All three institutions have existing strong ties to NOAA's research and education programs.

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