UCAR Center for Science Education

UCAR staff add climate storybook to Elementary GLOBE's line-up

March 2, 2017 | In a new illustrated storybook, a group of school children travel with a scientist to Greenland and the Maldives to learn about tools used to study climate change and its impacts. After seeing the challenge of melting glaciers and rising seas, the students come back with ideas on how to reduce their own greenhouse emissions.What in the World is Happening to Our Climate? introduces new material to a series of children's adventure science books published by Elementary GLOBE (part of the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment program).The newest storybook, funded by NASA Langley Research Center, is the product of a partnership between staff in two University Corporation for Atmospheric Research programs: the GLOBE Implementation Office and the UCAR Center for Science Education, or SciEd. SciEd supports the education and outreach efforts of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), which UCAR manages with sponsorship by the National Science Foundation.The climate book is available for download at no charge:Becca Hatheway, SciEd's manager of teaching and learning, said NASA asked UCAR a couple of years ago to create educational resources for children in advance of the installation of the Sage III instrument on the International Space Station to measure ozone and aerosols in Earth’s atmosphere. (Sage III was installed last month).The result was What's Up in the Atmosphere: Exploring Colors in the Sky, a storybook featuring children who learn about the colors of the sky and their relationship to air quality through observations and photos. Hatheway and Kerry Zarlengo, a former elementary school teacher and literacy coach, wrote the book in 2015.During discussions about the air quality project, "we pitched the idea of doing a climate change book as well, and NASA was supportive," Hatheway said. "We've always wanted to do one on this topic — it's in the NCAR wheelhouse."UCAR's Elementary GLOBE's new climate storybook is geared to children in grades K-4. (©UCAR. Illustration by Lisa Gardiner. This image is freely available for media & nonprofit use.)Hatheway co-wrote the text for the climate book with Diane Stanitski, a deputy director at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder. The Elementary GLOBE series, which now numbers seven storybooks, is aimed at introducing K-4 students to Earth system science. The first five books focus on clouds, water, phenology, soils, and the Earth system. NASA is funding an update of those books, some of which are more than a decade old.Books are field tested by teachers, and the modules come with learning activities and a teacher's guide and glossary. The idea is that younger children will be guided in the reading and activities, while older children can learn more independently.Most of the storylines focus on a group of school children who go on adventures to learn and collect data about a topic.Lisa Gardiner, whose role at UCAR includes developing educational resources, has illustrated all of the books in the series. She said the climate book holds special meaning for her."It's at the root of what we do at SciEd," Gardiner said. "A lot of young kids want to know about climate change, but there aren't that many resources for their age group."Gardiner said she tries to make her illustrations as realistic as possible. To learn more about the Maldives, Gardiner asked Alison Rockwell of NCAR's Earth Observing Laboratory for photos from a field campaign several years ago. "I wanted to know what the houses looked like, what the people were wearing."The activities are realistic, too. The climate book's activities include building a model of a coastal community, predicting which features would be at risk of flooding, and then "flooding" the model to see the results.Children learning about wind energy in the new Elementary GLOBE climate storybook. (©UCAR. Illustration by Lisa Gardiner. This image is freely available for media & nonprofit use.)Julie Malmberg, a GLOBE project manager, said the storybooks and learning activities can be downloaded for free, or educators can purchase a hard copy of the entire module for the cost of the printing and binding. She has heard from school officials, such as one in a West Virginia district, using the resources for grade-school teacher training.Most educators, Malmberg said, download the materials. Between 2012-2016, GLOBE recorded 42,533 storybook downloads and 54,197 downloads of learning activities. Do You Know Clouds Have Names, co-authored with NCAR Senior Scientist Emerita Peggy LeMone, is the most popular storybook, while the most popular learning activities are connected to a book called The Scoop on Soils.Hatheway said SciEd plans to provide copies of the climate change and sky color books to teachers who attend its professional development workshops or programs at the Mesa Lab, as well as at conferences SciEd staffers attend. NOAA plans to distribute the climate book at the National Science Teachers Association conference this spring.While the storybooks were developed for the educational community in the U.S., some have been translated into other languages and distributed by GLOBE partners in other countries.The GLOBE Program is an international science and education program that provides students and the public worldwide with the opportunity to participate in the scientific process and contribute to understanding of the Earth system and global environment.Writer/contactJeff Smith, Science Writer and Public Information Officer   

Super Science Saturday attracts family-fun-loving crowd

November 9, 2016 | About 1,000 people – including the usual throngs of excited children – attended Super Science Saturday at the Mesa Lab last weekend.

"It was a great crowd, but not overly crowded," said Eileen Carpenter of the UCAR Center for Science Education, of the free, annual event.

The NCAR Wizards shows were popular, as were the NCAR 3D visualization laboratory's demonstrations. "The Vaisala weather balloon launch also was a big favorite, and the pingpong bounce was spectacular," Carpenter added.

Free family fun at Super Science Saturday: Nov. 5

BOULDER, Colo. — Come learn about our changing climate at this year’s Super Science Saturday on Nov. 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Mesa Lab in south Boulder.This year’s theme coincides with a major new climate exhibit at the Mesa Lab. Climate-related activities will include a presentation on ozone's effect on plants, a tree-ring activity demonstrating the living record of climate, a "flubber" glacier display by Boulder-based UNAVCO, and shows by NCAR Wizards that focus on changing temperatures.Astrophysicist Jeffrey Bennett, author of the climate books "The Wizard that Saved the World" and "I, Humanity," will share his stories.In addition, a number of other fun activities and experiments are on tap, including weather balloon launches, modular robotics, the CBS Denver Channel 4 mobile weather lab, Colorado State University's Little Shop of Physics, and more.Modular robotics was just one of the many activities at the 2015 Super Science Saturday. This year's event features hands-on climate and weather activities. (©UCAR. Photo by Carlye Calvin. This image is freely available for media & nonprofit use.)"This year we wanted to highlight climate to reflect the outstanding updated interactive exhibit at our Mesa Lab," said Eileen Carpenter of the UCAR Center for Science Education. "But we also have our traditionally popular activities for children and entire families to enjoy as well." UCAR is the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, which provides education and research services and manages NCAR under sponsorship by the National Science Foundation.The multimedia climate displays on the second floor constitute what is believed to be the region’s largest permanent exhibit dedicated to climate change. One popular interactive exhibit, "Choose our Future," enables visitors to see how the choices they make, such as the type of car they drive, affect future temperatures. The information panels, touchscreens, audio recordings, and other activities highlight how our climate system works and the potential impacts of a changing climate on society and the environment.Activities at Super Science Saturday also will include learning about air movement by making devices to test in a wind tunnel, creating projects with solar-sensitive beads, face painting, and a pingpong ball launch.NCAR's High Altitude Observatory will display a solar telescope and provide information about the 2017 solar eclipse, and the NCAR 3D visualization laboratory will demonstrate some of its scientific animations.In addition to the Mesa Lab's science exhibits, a new tactile art exhibit will be open all day.  Snacks and lunch items will be available for purchase in the cafeteria.DETAILS:What: Super Science SaturdayWhen: Saturday, Nov. 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.Where: NCAR’s Mesa Lab, 1850 Table Mesa Drive, BoulderWho:  Activities for the entire family, with events especially focused on children ages 6 to 12.Cost:  FreeMore information: 2016 Super Science SaturdayWriter:Jeff Smith, Science Writer and Public Information Officer 

Come Join the Fun! Volunteer for Super Science Saturday! November 5

Join the UCAR Center for Science Education (SciEd) for our Spectacular Super Science Saturday Event on Nov. 5! This year's theme is "Our Changing Climate".

Come Join the Fun! Volunteer for Super Science Saturday! November 5, 2016

Join the UCAR Center for Science Education (SciEd) for our Spectacular Super Science Saturday Event! Mark your calendar for November 5th and come help us with this fun annual event.

Super Science Saturday is NCAR's largest public event and is designed to increase public science literacy by bringing kids and adults together to explore hands-on activities, think about new ideas, learn about science, and highlight the exciting scientific research happening in Boulder and the surrounding communities!

This year's theme is "Our Changing Climate".

Boosting diversity in Earth system science

July 7, 2016 | SOARS is soaring into its third decade, achieving results and collecting accolades along the way.The research and mentoring program recently celebrated its 20th anniversary with a two-day symposium that focused on how the program can leverage its alumni network to build a more diverse geoscience workforce. A reception at the Mesa Lab that kicked off the symposium drew a crowd of protégés, alumni, and alumni directors. A program of the UCAR Center for Science Education, SOARS stands for Significant Opportunities in Atmospheric Research and Science."SOARS has helped cultivate a new generation of leaders in geosciences," said SOARS Director Rebecca Haacker, "and there's opportunity to do even more."The cornerstone of the year-round SOARS Program is an 11-week summer research internship at NCAR or at other participating laboratories.SOARS protégé Briah' Davis of University at Albany, SUNY, working with instruments with mentor Teresa Campos, an NCAR project scientist. (©UCAR. Photo by Carlye Calvin. This image is freely available for media & nonprofit use.)Each protégé has a support system that includes research mentors, a writing mentor, a computing mentor, a coach who helps the student navigate unfamiliar territory and stressful situations, and peer mentors. The internships can run up to four years, bridging the leap from undergraduate to graduate school, and many have taken advantage of multiple-year opportunities.Follow-up surveys show that more than 80 percent of the now 180-plus SOARS alumni have either gone on to graduate school or to science- or math-related careers. More than 115 have earned a master's degree in science or engineering, 36 have earned Ph.D.s, and 38 are on track to earn a graduate degree.In 2001, just five years out of the gate, the program won a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring.UCAR president emeritus Richard Anthes has said that SOARS was one of the proudest accomplishments of his tenure. This year, Shay Gilpin, a mathematics student at the University of California, Santa Cruz, became the first recipient of a new SOARS fellowship named in honor of Anthes by Bill Kuo, who directs the UCAR Community Programs.Steven Naegele, who has a bachelor's degree in atmospheric science and physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and is now a graduate student at Pennsylvania State University, has been a SOARS protégé since 2014. He said the program has been invaluable.SOARS protégé Steven Naegele (seated, middle) with NCAR research mentors in 2014 (left to right) Sarah Tessendorf, Greg Thompson and Trude Eidhammer. (©UCAR. Photo by Carlye Calvin. This image is freely available for media & nonprofit use.)"It has not only reinforced my love of meteorology and dream of becoming a research scientist, but it has also pushed me to be a great leader, communicator, and friend," he said. Naegele said he especially has appreciated the opportunity to work with top atmospheric scientists who have had an impact on society. His projects at NCAR have included researching Northeast winter storms.SOARS alumna Melissa Burt said she was struggling and thinking of changing her academic major as an undergraduate meteorology student at Millersville University of Pennsylvania. Then her advisor suggested that she check out the SOARS program "It had a huge impact on my career," Burt, a 2005 SOARS protégé, says today. "It gave me a sense of community. I'm not sure I would have gone on to complete my Ph.D. if it hadn't been for the support of the SOARS community — friends, scientists, and mentors."Burt not only went on to receive a Ph.D. in atmospheric science from Colorado State University, but she has brought a SOARS-like approach to her job as Education and Diversity manager at CSU's Center for Multiscale Modeling of Atmospheric Processes (CMMAP). Under CMMAP, which is funded by the National Science Foundation, students from under-represented groups work on cutting-edge science and field campaigns with university faculty mentors and are provided early exposure to leadership training. Since the program started a decade ago, minority enrollment at CSU's Department of Atmospheric Science has more than quadrupled from 3.5 percent to 16 percent.Looking ahead to the next decade, Haacker said her goals include developing SOARS satellite programs similar to the one Burt has fostered at CSU, and strengthening the SOARS alumni network."We want to expand the SOARS model, as well as share more of what happens to protégés after they leave the SOARS program," Haacker said. "Their stories are inspiring to all of us."This article originally appeared in NCAR|UCAR Staff News.Jeff Smith, Science Writer and Public information Officer 

Boosting diversity in Earth system science

July 7, 2016 | SOARS is soaring into its third decade, achieving results and collecting accolades along the way.

Retirement Celebration for Cindy Schmidt

Break out your sunglasses and Hawaiian shirts and join us for ice cream and fun to celebrate Cindy Schmidt’s retirement after 26 years of service to UCAR! Everyone is welcome Tuesday, July 12th, on the Center Green Patio from 3pm – 6pm.

Matt Kelsch to Discuss The Boulder 2013 Flood, Climate, and Resiliency Planning

COMET hydrologist Matt Kelsch will discuss The Boulder 2013 Flood, Climate, and Resiliency Planning at 3:30pm. We hope that you will be joining us via UCARLive at http://ucarconnect.ucar.edu/live

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