Projects

Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science (SOARS)

Principal Investigator: Kadidia Thiero 
Funder: National Science Foundation 

Short Summary:

We are proud to be the host program for the Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science (SOARS) office. SOARS is an undergraduate-to-graduate bridge program designed to broaden participation in the atmospheric and related sciences through building a strong and supportive learning community, strong scientific and career mentoring, and providing hands-on experiences in research. SOARS is designed to promote and support research, mentoring, and community. SOARS Protégés can participate for up to four (4) summers conducting research in atmospheric and earth-system sciences. Over 90% of SOARS Protégés advance to graduate school, and many enter the workforce with a MS and/or Ph.D. degree.

Type of Collaboration: Connect with Teachers and Faculty, Reach Underserved Audiences, Sponsor a SOARS Protégé

Engineering Experiences

Principal Investigators: John Ristvey, Randy Russell

Funder: National Science Foundation-funded ITEST project with the Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings (DRL) in partnership with the University of Colorado, Boulder

Short Summary:

Engineering Experiences explored how middle school students from low-income families could engage in engineering after school to complement the science and engineering learning during the normal school day. Our initial goal was to introduce various engineering topics/platforms related to the atmosphere and associated sciences, including wind power, solar energy, aircraft design, atmospheric sensors, and testing physical models of dropsondes using a wind tunnel. We then developed over a dozen lessons using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or drones that were very popular with students ranging from upper elementary through high school. The project team tested our learning materials with several after-school programs in Colorado, which served students from low-income families by offering after-school or summer programming for students.

Education Level: Middle School
Type of Collaboration: Develop Instructional Materials, Reach Underserved Audiences

Hurricane Resilience

Principal Investigator: Lisa Gardiner
Funder: NOAA Environmental Literacy Program

Short Summary:

Hurricane Resilience is a high school environmental science curriculum for use in coastal locations where hurricanes are common. Through 20 days of instruction, students make connections between the science of hurricanes, how they affect their community and region, and how we can plan for a more resilient future. Making local connections, students develop an understanding of 1) the risks that their community faces now and in the future due to hurricanes and tropical storms, 2) how sea level rise increases the risk, and 3) how our actions can help us be less vulnerable and more resilient. The curriculum unit aims to empower high school students to have a voice in resilience planning and understand the relationship between the science of hurricanes and the local impacts these storms have on people and places. The curriculum was developed in collaboration with the South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center and with science expertise at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. It was piloted and field-tested in Terrebonne Parish and Lafourche Parish schools. 

 

Education Level: High School
Type of Collaboration: Connect with Teachers and Faculty, Develop Instructional Materials, Reach Underserved Audiences

Project Resilience

Principal Investigator: Becca Hatheway 
Funder: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

Short Summary:

With the Project Resilience curriculum, high school students examine the environmental challenges facing communities along the Gulf of Mexico and learn about resilience planning using a resilience planning toolkit. The curriculum spans about 20 days of class time, divided into seven lessons, with an optional student project extension (Lesson 8). The first four lessons of the curriculum, focus on learning about the environmental challenges and scientific processes in the Mississippi River delta. Students gain an understanding of what the Mississippi River delta is and how it forms, why deltaic formation is important for coastal communities in the Gulf region (including the importance of wetlands and estuaries), and why the deltaic coast is vulnerable. Lessons 5-7 of the curriculum, focus on resilience planning and adaptation strategies using a resilience toolkit. As a case study, students explore current and future projects planned for Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana, including criteria for choosing and evaluating factors that put communities at risk, and the scope of different types of projects. Project Resilience then leads students through the development of a School Resilience Plan, which contains student-designed projects to address one or more environmental challenges affecting their school campus. An extension of the curriculum is to implement one of the student projects from the School Resilience Plan. Project Resilience was developed by UCAR Center for Science Education and the South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center (SLWDC), and was piloted and field-tested in the four Terrebonne Parish high schools. This project was supported by the Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine under Grant Agreement number 2000009811.

Education Level: High School
Type of Collaboration: Connect with Teachers and Faculty, Develop Instructional Materials, Reach Underserved Audiences

STEM Career Connections

Principal Investigator: John Ristvey
Funder: National Science Foundation 

Short Summary:

The STEM Career Connections project is a partnership between the UCAR Center for Science Education, the University of Colorado, Boulder, and the Vail Valley Foundation. This project aims to develop an innovative career readiness model for both in and out of school settings that will profoundly increase the knowledge of and interest in STEM and computing careers for middle school youth in rural, economically disadvantaged mountain state communities. To achieve this goal, we have three integral components of the project: 1) a community partnership working together to support youth engagement in STEM and computing career pathways, 2) a STEM curriculum where youth use advanced sensor technologies to engage in science and engineering investigations, and 3) integrated career experiences that encourage youth to make personally-relevant connections with local STEM and computing occupations. Funded by the National Science Foundation, this project aims to advance the efforts of the Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program.

 

Education Level: Middle School
Type of Collaboration: Connect with Teachers and Faculty, Develop Instructional Materials, Reach Underserved Audiences