Training Educators to Teach the Sun and Space Weather Using a Kit of Tools

Friday, 19 December 2014
Amy M Keesee, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV, United States and Todd Ensign, NASA IV&V Educator Resource Center, Fairmont, WV, United States
NASA provides a wealth of data from Heliospheric missions to the public, but educators face several challenges to using such data in the classroom. These include the knowledge of what is available and how to use it, a full understanding of the science concepts the data demonstrate, ability to obtain and maintain products to access data, and access to technology (such as computer labs) for anything other than testing. To surmount these challenges, the Educator Resource Center at the NASA Independent Validation and Verification (IV&V) Center in Fairmont, WV has developed an operational model that focuses on housing, maintaining, and lending out kits of necessary equipment along with training educators in the science concepts and use of kit materials. Following this model, we have developed a Sun and Space Weather kit and an educator professional development course that we have presented several times. The kit includes a classroom set of iPads utilized to access data from NASA missions and other sources as well as create video reports for project based outcomes, a set of telescopes for safe solar viewing, and materials to explore magnetic fields and the electromagnetic spectrum. We will present an overview of the training course, the kit materials, and lessons learned.