NAGT > Publications > In the Trenches > January 2014

In the Trenches - January 2014

Volume 4, Number 1

In This Issue

Online Supplements This site provides web links that supplement the print articles as well as news and web resources. To receive the full edition of In the Trenches join NAGT

Letter from the Editor: Take Advantage of Those Teachable Moments

Cindy Shellito, University of Northern Colorado

Teaching about the Earth system offers us endless opportunities to take advantage of those "teachable moments." Every day, changes in our environment inspire us with questions and new insights. Nowhere do we have more opportunities to seize the moment than when we teach about weather. - Read full article...

Teaching Up a Storm: Bringing Atmospheric Sciences to a Geoscience Field Course for Undergraduates

Neil F. Laird, Hobart & William Smith Colleges

Geoscience, the study and understanding of the processes that comprise the entire Earth system, includes investigation of geologic, hydrologic, and atmospheric systems and processes. At Hobart & William Smith Colleges (HWS) the Department of Geoscience includes faculty from these varied subdisciplines and the courses offered reflect this diversity. To complement and enrich our regular academic year courses, we offer a two-week intensive field course following completion of the spring semester and/or during our four- to five-week winter break. This recently developed course, titled "GEO299 — Geoscience Field Studies," is equivalent in credit to a regular academic semester course.

Measuring Rainfall for Science: How a Citizen Science Program Reaches into the Classroom, Across the Curriculum

Noah Newman, Colorado State University

In September 12, 2013, people along the Colorado Front Range experienced one of the largest rainfalls in history. Luckily for weather and storm analysts, this event was recorded in detail. That is because it occurred in an area with more than 1,000 trained volunteers with rain gauges in their backyards, in schools, and at businesses — volunteers who belong to a web-based citizen science program called the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network or CoCoRaHS (pronounced "Co-Co-Roz"), headquartered at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. Using identical low-cost rain gauges, calibrated to be accurate to the nearest 1/100th of an inch, they measure and report their daily precipitation amounts using the CoCoRaHS website.

Teaching Resources: Bringing Severe Weather into the Classroom ... Without Getting Wet

Lisa Gardiner, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

Severe weather increasingly impacts society, in part because more people live in harm's way and also because, in some cases, the frequency or severity of severe weather is increasing. This makes it an excellent topic for geoscience education, providing tangible examples of atmospheric processes and real-world consequences of storms and showcasing the interconnections of science and society.

Teaching Resources: AMS Courses Help K-12 Teachers, College Students Study Weather As It Happens

James Brey, Elizabeth Mills, Ira Geer, Kathryn O'Neill, Kira Nugnes, and Anupa Asokan of the AMS Education Program and Robert Weinbeck, SUNY Brockport

The American Meteorological Society (AMS) Education Program has a 20-year history of promoting Earth science literacy through teacher professional development (PD) and undergraduate college-level courses and training programs in weather, water, and climate. It brings atmospheric, oceanic, and related sciences to places they may not be found otherwise, e.g., K-12 classrooms, community colleges, online programs, and minority serving institutions (MSIs). Key undertakings include the DataStreme Atmosphere PD course and Project Atmosphere workshop for in-service K-12 teachers and the AMS Weather Studies introductory college-level course and associated Diversity Project. DataStreme Atmosphere and Project Atmosphere traditionally follow the National Science Education Standards guidelines for teacher PD (NRC, 1996). The AMS emphasis on current data and hands-on construction of models to represent key meteorological concepts can also assist teachers in states adopting the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS Lead States, 2013).

Letter from the President: A Look Back at 2013

Susan Buhr Sullivan, University of Colorado at Boulder, NAGT president, 2013

When I closed the Geoscience Education Luncheon at the 2012 Geological Society of America (GSA) meeting with a bang of my new gavel, the notion of serving as NAGT president was daunting. I knew the role that NAGT has played in supporting and advocating for geoscience education since 1938 — and the critical need to maintain that work. Due to the efforts of members throughout the organization, I believe we succeeded in continuing to meet that challenge in 2013. - Read full article...

Diving into the Trenches: First, Establish Your Professional, Personal Priorities

Rachel Beane, Bowdoin College

I commonly hear sentiments from faculty that suggest they feel overwhelmed. The competing demands that beg for our attention seem too much for us to handle at times. This feeling may be especially strong for faculty beginning their academic careers, as they try to establish themselves in a new environment, prepare new courses, and begin new research. Each one of these tasks presents challenges. How do you, as a new faculty member, meet these challenges?

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Web Features

NAGT, its members, and its sponsored projects have produced a number of resources related to the topics addressed in this issue.

Teaching about Hazards in Geoscience »

Major hazardous events and natural disasters provide geoscience educators with powerful opportunities to engage their students with class content and the general public with how the geosciences impact their everyday lives. These teachable moments come with the imperative of "striking while the iron is hot," that is, while student (and public) interest is high. In addition, many schools feature Natural Hazards courses as a way of getting students interested in the geosciences. The purpose of this site is to provide access to teaching materials to respond to sudden hazard events in the classroom as well as more generalized materials that will help faculty teach about hazards when there isn't one bearing down.

CLEAN Educational Resources »

This slice through the Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN) collection shows resources that help educators describe the difference between climate and weather.

EarthLabs »

The EarthLabs project provides a national model for rigorous, engaging Earth and environmental lab science courses. Four units illustrate a sequence for learning science concepts through data analysis activities, satellite imagery and computer visualizations, and hands-on experiments that illustrate processes of our Earth system. Several of the units that have been developed by EarthLabs deal with weather issues:

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