Dawn Hanna (left) from Webster County, Dixie Spencer
(center) and Marjorie Rose both from Ritchie County,
use their SPARK units at the 2011 Climate Institute

Submitted by Annette Barnette
Public Relations & Marketing Director
Glenville State College

Glenville, WV - The 2011 Climate Institute has been recently held at Glenville State College. The event brought twenty West Virginia fifth through twelfth-grade science and geography teachers together on August 1st through 5th. They were engaged in professional development activities including optional graduate credit.

The GSC Departments of Education, Land Resources, and Science and Mathematics participated with NASA IV&V Educator Resource Center and Fairmont State University to provide one week of in-depth professional development in the technology and science of climate utilizing standards-focused, project-based learning. Teachers were engaged through hands-on labs from The JASON Project, a program aimed at increasing students' interest in the sciences. Participants were also introduced to The GLOBE Program, a worldwide science and education program focusing on the environment.

A portion of the Climate Institute involved a collection of weather and surface temperature data using Pasco SPARK units. These handheld units integrate measurement tools for weather and temperature as well as a global positioning system. The teachers utilized ArcGIS Explorer Desktop, a geographic information system that is designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and present all types of geographically referenced data.

David Jones (left) of Kanawha County and Rich Sharpe of Cabell County complete work in the lab at Eberle Hall.

"In addition to the great resources and learning that took place during the week, the group of twenty K-12 teachers, four undergraduate Glenville State College student workers, and six instructors joined together to bridge a gap between higher education and K-12 public education. Teamwork and camaraderie from this amazing group were evident throughout the week," said GSC JASON Science Coordinator Jessica Perkins.

Counties represented at the 2011 Climate Institute were Barbour, Cabell, Clay, Harrison, Kanawha, Monongalia, Pocahontas, Randolph, Ritchie, Upshur, and Webster. Two full-day follow-up workshops, participation in a share-a-thon at the West Virginia Science Teachers Association Conference in November, and in-classroom mentoring will follow this workshop.

The majority of the week-long institute and follow-up days were made possible through an Improving Teacher Quality (ITQ) Grant through the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission. In addition, a mini-grant through the GeoTech Center made it possible to provide each of the twenty teachers in attendance with a geographic information system book. ITQ Grant funds also provided Pasco SPARK units for each teacher.

For more information on the 2011 Climate Institute or The JASON Project, contact Perkins by email   Jessica.Perkins@glenville.edu   or phone 304-462-6025.

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