Poster Abstracts

EarthInquiry: connecting college-level Earth science students with on-line data

Mary Jo Alfano, Christopher Keane

EarthInquiry is a series of web-based investigations where students work with real geoscience data to explore real-world geological phenomena. The activities are targeted for the introductory college student. Each EarthInquiry activity is anchored with a printed booklet. When a student is ready to access on-line data, he/she uses a unique web access code, located on the booklet's inside back cover, to gain entry to the EarthInquiry web site. The web site leads students through each investigation with detailed instructions for accessing and processing the data they collect on-line, providing supplementary information, glossary terms, and references as needed.

The American Geological Institute (AGI) and W.H. Freeman and Company Publishers currently offer seven full-length activities; covering the topics of floods, mineral resources, earthquakes and plate boundaries, long-term climate change, coastal hazards, volcanic hazards, and drinking water contamination. These activities use real-time data from the USGS, NOAA, and PSMSL, as well as other data sources.

The purpose of EarthInquiry is to not only connect students with real-time, real-world data, but to make teaching with on-line data more accessible to classroom instructors. To this end, the EarthInquiry web site is updated continually to reflect changes in the available on-line data sources. Stored copies of each data set are also available at all times.

The West Virgina GLOBE Program

Rick Landenberger, Timothy Warner, and Todd Ensign

The WV GLOBE Program is an initiative of the NASA IV&V Facility Educator Resource Center (ERC) in Fairmont, West Virginia. The program is supported by a consortium of academic, state, and federal partners with an interest in advancing K-12 Earth science education throughout the state. In partnership with West Virginia View (, the ERC has provided GLOBE Program teacher and trainer workshops on the inclusion of GIS in K-12 classrooms to promote the geospatial relevance of student collected environmental data points. With the support of ESRI, the ERC maintains a state-of-the-art GIS lab and is also the state-wide cache for classroom kits of scientific monitoring equipment available on loan to all GLOBE teachers.

NEO: NASA Earth Observations

Kevin Ward & David Herring

Today, evolutionary new computer tools and networks allow NASA to process, visualize, project, analyze, and share widely its remote-sensing data sets in a timely manner. This poster will provide an overview & demonstration of a new data resource provided by NASA, called NEO ( This new site is particularly useful for communicators & educators who wish to design their own communication/education products.

Google Earth - A Manual for Earth Science Educators

Steve Kluge, Andrew Patrick, Eric Fermann

With support from DLESE, the authors developed and field tested a manual designed to help educators with little or no technical expertise to quickly and efficently develop lessons using google earth. The manual contains information on downloading, installing, and navigating GE, as well as step by step illustrated instructions on how to create placemarks with embedded images and html, how to drape maps over the landscape, hints on how to store digital images, and links to free software that can make your work easier. The manual also includes lesson ideas and a lesson planning tool developed with GE in mind.

The AmericaView Education Working Group: Supporting Academic and Professional Remote Sensing Education

Christina Scarlat, Terri Benko, Rebecca Dodge, Kevin Czajkowski, Mandy Munro- Stasiuk, Larry Biehl, Gregg Fuselier, Rick Landenberger, Jay Morgan, Sam Batzli, Tom Mueller, Mary O'Neill, Milda Vaitkus, Kevin Dobbs, Brad Rundquist, Scott Abel, Christine Sommers-Austin, and Van Shelhamer

The Education Working Group (EDWG) is a special interest group of the AmericaView Inc. national consortium. The mission of the AmericaView Education Working Group is to "develop, support, and promote awareness, education, and training of educators, students and the existing workforce to better meet their remote sensing needs and objectives." The Group was established in May 2005 to provide a forum for individuals from various StateView consortia who are specifically interested in geospatial education and training issues. The working group exists to support education, outreach, and training efforts in the areas of K-12, collegiate, and continuing education. Specifically, the Education Working Group provides a forum for (1) Continuing scholarly exchange of insights and experiences; (2) Developing and sharing of technical expertise and/or material resources such as curriculum or workshop materials; and (3) Fostering and developing multi-participant collaborative projects from time to time, such as may be appropriate, among working group participants. Our Goals include developing and sharing education, training, and outreach methods and materials for state consortia use and the remote sensing user community, supporting the use of these methods and materials to meet the overall goals of state consortia members and the remote sensing user community, and fostering the exchange of new education, outreach, and training ideas and information.

Developing Data Stories of the International Polar Year: Communicating Objective Scientific Inquiry Within a Subjective Human Context

Mark McCaffrey

Contained within a scientific abstract the elements of a story-- the who, what, where, how, when, and why-- can usually be found, embedded within usually ultra technical jargon which are often deliberately used to minimize the human (subjective) narrative of how the data were collected, analyzed and the relative degree of uncertainty involved. Scientists from even a few doors down the hall may be hard-pressed to parse out exactly what the story really is, so dense is the prose and specialized the research. Stories that engage audiences, whether fiction or not, are full of subjective elements and human dimensions, including humor, struggles, and everyday events such as eating and sleeping. Data Stories, currently in development for the International Polar Year to capture and convey the wide variety of research activities being conducted, fuse the simple, dejargonized descriptions of scientific processes with the inquiry inherent in story-telling: who is conducting the research (or using the data), what is involved (and what do the data tell us?), where is the research being conducted (and does it have implications in other parts of the world?), when is the research being done (and what time in the past and/or future do the data relate with?), how are the data collected (and how do we know what we know...or don't know), and why is the researcher doing this and why it is important? By linking the objective (data) with the subjective (stories) it may be possible to make scientific research more meaningful and accessible, while building on cognitive and educational research which clearly show the power of story-telling to communicate essential information.

Whither the Arctic Sea Ice?: A Clear Indicator of Climate Change

Walter N. Meier, Julienne Stroeve, Florence Fetterer

The Arctic sea ice has been pointed to as one of the first and clearest indicators of climate change. Satellite passive microwave observations from 1979 through 2005 now indicate a significant -8.4???1.5% per decade trend (99% confidence level) in September sea ice extent, a larger trend than earlier estimates due to acceleration of the decline over the past four years. There are differences in regional trends, with some regions more stable than others; not all regional trends are significant. The largest trends tend to occur in months where melt is at or near its peak for a given region. A longer time series of September extents since 1953 was adjusted to correct biases and extended through 2005. The trend from the longer timeseries is -7.7???0.6% per decade (99%), slightly less than from the satellite-derived data that begins in 1979, which is expected given the recent acceleration in the decline.

Ocean Core Data in Google Earth

Tavia L. Prouhet

Analyzing ocean core data through Google Earth provides students opportunity to visualize spatial and mathematical trends in data in exciting new ways. In this study students use the virtual space provided by the virtual globe to discover the evidence that led to the acceptance of sea floor spreading, a discovery made by scientist of the Deep Sea Drilling Project just a few decades ago. Pre and Post test surveys and test indicate that the use of this technology facilitates student understanding while also positively influencing their attitude towards science.

The Planetarium Turned Around: Using Celestia for Terrestrial and Planetary Geology Learning

Eric J. Pyle

Earth science education has not always benefited from the revolution in instructional technologies, compared with other science disciplines. Yet in the last three decades, unmanned spacecraft have generated volumes of planetary information useful to but often inaccessible to Earth science teachers. Planetarium software has been available to show celestial objects, but the focus is astronomical, rather than geologic. Tailoring software to the Earth science classroom has remained difficult. Fortunately, an open-source software package called Celestia is available that can be adjusted to various classroom settings, while including sophisticated add-ons created to enhance the value of Celestia in Earth science teaching. The presentation will share how textures can be manipulated, data incorporated, and virtual tours developed to show geologic relationships in three dimensions, though simple scripts that can be developed with limited computer skills, These representations also include tectonic plate reconstructions and the interior of the Earth and other planets. The technological requirements and limitations of Celestia will also be discussed.

Digital Earth Watch

Brian Rogan

Digital Earth Watch is a NASA reason grant project that connects remote sensing with ground truthing through digital cameras. DEW has seven partners who have created a toolkit of software, imagery and educational materials to enhance environmental education.

Spatial Analysis and Visualization of Patterns of Co-occurrence of Addiction and Serious Mental Illness

Meghan Ryan, Sucharita Gopal, and Mark Vanelli

Alcoholism and drug addiction are recognized as progressive, long-term, relapsing disorders, which affect an estimated 15 million people in the US (SAMSHA). Prior medical research has demonstrated that the prevalence of substance abuse disorders in patients with severe mental illness (SMI) is higher than in the general population with co-occurrence rates ranging from 29% to over 50%. The abuse of drugs and alcohol has profound personal, community and social consequences. In this paper, we examine the spatial patterns of co-occurrence of addiction and SMI in the US and more particularly in New England state. Co-occurrence rates vary by geographical area and localized 'pockets' of high or low rates exist throughout the region. High and low rates are estimated using spatial autocorrelation statistics. These patterns are explained to some degree with underlying census geography and location of health services. Health services are classified into three types - major teaching hospitals and medical centers, psychiatrists, and other allied mental services such as methadone clinics, and group facilities such as Alcohol Anonymous Association (AAA) meeting places. Accessibility and distance measures aid in further analysis of regional patterns of delivery of mental health services. Using prescription data relating to an atypical antipsychotic, we further demonstrate the utility of spatial analysis in healthcare delivery. Spatial analysis presented in this paper would be helpful to physicians and heath care providers to better manage the condition of co-occurrence. Theoretical issues relating to integration of heterogeneous data, including MAUP, are also discussed.

Project WET

Gerry Saunders, Gary Cook

Project WET, Water Education for Teachers, is an interdisciplinary program that promotes water education in the k-12 classroom. WET materials include stand alone activities, and curricula that may be done in the classroom and the field. Examples include the WET Curriculum Guide, Healthy Water: Healthy People, the Discover a Watershed Series, Native Waters and a series of topical readers for elementary students

GLOBE Carbon Cycle: Investigating the Carbon Cycle in Terrestrial Ecosystems

University of New Hampshire: Dr. Scott Ollinger, Rita Freuder, Dr. Lara Gengarelly, Dr. Mary Martin, Dr. Annette Schloss, Sarah Silverberg Charles University, Czech Republic: Dr. Jana Albrechtova GLOBE Program Office, UCAR: Gary Randolph

What is the GLOBE Carbon Cycle project? Learn how one group is designing activities for students worldwide to learn about carbon and its importance in the environment. GLOBE, an international science education program, originally designed to have students collect field data and provide it to scientists is now broadening its horizons. GLOBE Carbon Cycle is one of four new Earth System Science Projects that will help students move beyond data collection to data analysis and science skill building. Carbon Cycle activities will expose students to the most current science and science tools, through four major activity categories modeling, remote sensing, field measurements and classroom experiments.

My World™: A Geographic Information System for Learners

Daniel C. Edelson, Matthew Brown, David Smith, Eric Russell

My World GIS™ is a geographic information system designed specifically for use in educational settings. Its intended audience is middle school through college geosciences and geography courses where investigations involving geographic data can support the learning goals of the course. My World is designed to meet the needs of students and teachers while keeping the constraints of educational settings in mind. It combines the power of a full-featured GIS environment with the support and structure required by novice users in an educational environment.

Data First for Teaching Global Change Concepts

Michael R. Taber, Michael J. Urban

Using Earth Data in teaching a global change class is not new to faculty. Most of us take advantage of the rich ice core data from Vostok, data from Mauna Loa showing trends in carbon dioxide concentration, or decadal climate data from Niwot Long Term Ecological (LTER) Station. Students are usually spellbound by the graphical presentation of such data, but are generally oblivious to the analytical interpretation. While we clearly value higher order thinking by students, we often fail to expose students the painful process of analyzing, interpreting, and defending judgments primarily due to the institutional control over our time with the students: The fifty-minute lecture "hour." A possible solution is to change how we utilize the time and the instructional structure.

Danny Edelson's Learning for Use (LFU) Framework provides us with a simple structure that allows us to present the students with the "unpolished" data first. Rather than present the students with an visually pleasing and "clean" data graph (most likely embedded in a PowerPoint slide accompanied by a few important bullet points), how about forcing students to generate the graphs themselves, before any analytical discussion on the trends or correlations? Constructivist teachers will argue this presents an opportunity for students to create "knowledge gaps," which can motivate (LFU step 1) learning (Edelson, 2001). Students then generate their own interpretative discoveries about the data, which lead to the building new knowledge (LFU step 2). Continue the instructional process with opportunities for students to apply and refine their new knowledge via the introduction of new, similar datasets (LFU step 3).

Catalina Field Project

Betsy Youngman and the 8th grade students at Phoenix Country Day School

As part of their science class, the 8th grade students at Phoenix Country Day School study California coastal kelp forest ecology. Each student uses GIS to create a map that supports his or her research. A project overview and examples of student research are available at the Catalina Field Science page.

Digital Representation of Literary Landscapes of Falkner, Hemingway and Steinbeck

Professor Suchi Gopal

Landscape is a fundamental concept in regional geography and is recognized to be a fundamental way of knowing and experiencing geography of a place as well as providing us our geographic understanding of the world. Great works of literature weave compelling stories against a backdrop of natural and lived in landscapes. Notable American novelists such as Faulkner, Hemingway and Steinbeck describe the American landscape of the twentieth century as a rich tapestry of urban and rural countryside and paint vivid portrayal of events such as the dust bowl, Great Depression and Second World War. I wish to a build digital bridge to connect the literary American landscapes of the twentieth century of three great novelists by integrating a variety of digital information (including maps, images, sound, and other media) using Geographic Information System (GIS) and the popular Google Earth and its mash-ups (multi-media representation keyed by location) to build a rich library of digital content. A digital push to make literary works more visual and hence accessible in this information rich world could yield a greater appreciation of landscape geography as well as an ability to virtually visit the landscapes and settings of selected novels. This would benefit both the common public as well as enhance learning of twenty-first century students by promoting bridges across disciplines, such as Geography, Earth Science, History, English and Technology. In addition, it would provide a prototype for building digital content of other literary works.

Tools for Data Analysis in the Middle School Classroom (DataTools)

DataTools is an information technology professional development program for middle school teachers. It is funded by a National Science Foundation grant under the Information Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) Program. The DataTools program prepares teachers to use scientific data and data analysis software with their middle school students; helps teachers develop strategies that promote student learning through inquiry, analysis, and dialogue; and prepares teachers to increase their students' awareness of the variety of careers in which information technology is essential.

Teachers participate in 120 hours of professional development and support through face-to-face meetings at TERC, a spring series of on-line telecon workshops, a two-week summer workshop, and a series of on-line collaborations as teachers implement data-rich investigations in their classrooms.

The Earth Exploration Toolbook: An Essential Resource-The DataTools program uses EET chapters to introduce teachers to scientific data sets and to the tools for analyzing data. Once teachers become comfortable with a set of analysis tools, they re-design parts of their existing curriculum, enriching them with data and engaging students in inquiry through data analysis.

Project Staff-Tamara Ledley (Principal Investigator); Sarah Hill (Program Administrator); Nick Haddad (Project Director); Carla McAuliffe (Internal Evaluator); LuAnn Dahlman (Career Specialist); Jim Dorward (External Evaluator).

An Awkward Reality: Revisiting An Inconvenient Truth

Mark McCaffrey

One of the cadre of 1000 participants trained by Al Gore through The Climate Project to present his evolving slideshow on the climate crisis, Mark McCaffrey will give an updated presentation of the slideshow featured in the Academy-award wiinning film, An Inconvenient Truth. The presentation will focus on the opportunities for promoting climate literacy and the challenges in presenting complex climate-related information in educational environments without triggering eco-phobia or despair. An open discussion to explore next steps, including the formation of a Coalition for Climate Literacy, will follow the presentation.