Raising Climate Literacy of K-12 Teachers with Datastreme Earth’s Climate System

Monday, 15 December 2014
James A Brey, Ira Geer, Robert S Weinbeck, Elizabeth W. Mills and Kira A. Nugnes, AMS-Education Program, Washington, DC, United States
The American Meteorological Society (AMS) DataStreme Project is a free professional development program for in-service K-12 teachers, in which they gain considerable subject matter content and confidence in Earth science instruction. DataStreme Atmosphere, Ocean, and Earth’s Climate System (ECS) are offered each fall and spring semester by Local Implementation Teams (LITs) across the country in coordination with a team of AMS Education Program scientists and educators who develop instructional materials, provide logistical support to the LITs, and administer the project. The 3-member LITs mentor about 8 teachers and in some instances an emergency manager, per semester through a given DataStreme course. Teachers may receive 3 tuition-free graduate credits through State University of New York’s The College at Brockport upon completion of each DataStreme course.

DataStreme is in close alignment with A Framework for K-12 Science Education and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Investigating the scientific basis of the workings of Earth’s atmosphere, ocean, and climate system follows the cross-cutting theme of the Framework and the NGSS and is the cornerstone of the DataStreme courses.

In particular, DataStreme ECS explores the fundamental science of Earth’s climate system and addresses the societal impacts relevant to today’s teachers and students. The course utilizes resources from respected organizations, such as the IPCC and U.S. Global Change Research Program. Key to the NGSS is that students learn disciplinary core ideas in the context of science and engineering practices. In order for the students to learn in this way, the AMS believes that it is important to train the teachers in this context. DataStreme ECS emphasizes investigation of real-word and current NASA and NOAA data. Participants also are made aware of NASA’s EdGCM, a research-grade Global Climate Model where they can explore various future climate scenarios in the same way that actual research scientists do.

The AMS DataStreme Project has received support from the National Science Foundation, NASA, and NOAA. Since 1996, more than 18,000 teachers have completed a DataStreme course, directly impacting hundreds of thousands of additional teachers and more than 1 million students.