A $600,000 grant from NASA has been awarded to Auburn University’s College of Sciences and Mathematics in association with the Alabama Department of Education in order to educate high school students about global climate change.

“The first year of the grant is for development,” said Robin Nelson, Alabama Math, Science and Technology Initiative science coordinator. “What they are actually doing is working with scientists and working with classroom teachers to develop science modules, which deal with global climate change.”

AMSTI is the state department’s K-12 math and science initiative, said Steve Ricks, director for AMSTI. Its objective is to be in every school in Alabama. It is currently in half the state’s schools.

Ricks said the program, “Bringing Global Climate Change to Alabama Classrooms,” in collaboration with Alabama Science in Motion, is trying to satisfy state teaching standards while bringing global climate change issues to life within them.

“Our ability to partner with ASIM is unique,” said Marie Wooten, associate dean for research and principal investigator of the project, in a press release. “Within three years, our hands-on, inquiry-based experiments will be incorporated in the high school curriculum across the state of Alabama with the goal of creating a climate literate society.”

Amendments to school curriculum would allow students to focus more on climate related issues, especially in the disciplines of chemistry, biology and physics.

For example, students could use computer models to analyze coastal saltwater intrusion and use NASA imagery and data to analyze the effects of climate change.

Students will be focusing on real issues using data and information this is not hypothetical.

“Several learning modules will allow students to collect real data from local water sources to evaluate the effects of climate change on water quality and availability,” according to the press release.

The press release also said NASA will supply an additional $100,000 for a symposium on climate change at Auburn University.

These interactive models are being developed by University faculty members including: Marllin Simon, physics; Luke Marzen, geology and geography; Yu Lin, physics; Ming-Kuo Lee, geology and geography and Kevin Fielman.

“Different aspects of global climate change and its impact on Earth can be debated,” Ricks said in a press release. “But regardless of where you stand on the issues, learning how science is applied to study the planet and its climate will help our students acquire the skills needed to compete in a global economy.”

Auburn University teachers are not the only ones involved in this project.

The press release said teachers from schools across Alabama have pledged to help.

“We are very proud of Auburn University,” Ricks said. “They saw there was a common need and went after it with the grant, and we are just very pleased to partner with them.”


This article was originally published in The Auburn Plainsman on 9/24/2009.

Posted by:Sam Solomon

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