Learning Ecosystems Northeast

Mar 30, 2017
Photo of large group of people standing in a field

Team Mission

Real World, Real Science uses NASA’s rich array of data assets to engage middle school learners in explorations of weather and climate, ecosystem change and stability, and the ways that human and natural systems intersect. Along with our partners, EDC, the AAALab at Stanford, and a group of science centers throughout the Northeast, we are developing a suite of tools that allows teachers in the classroom and staff in informal science institutions to develop compelling stories, supported by evidence from NASA data and tailored to their local environment, that explore the rich science and math terrain contained in explorations of weather and climate. By bridging global data to local experiences, as well as informal learning environments to formal classroom settings, we provide an array of opportunities for learners to engage with the practices of science, core content, and crosscutting concepts in the context of relevant, authentic science.

What does your team hope to achieve?

Through Real World, Real Science we aim to understand, and create a model for, how experiences in informal and formal learning environments can work in sync to build students’ data and science literacy. We will also pilot ways in which educational materials developed at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute can be extensible to other science institutions and formal learning environments throughout the Northeast such that educators and students will be empowered to customize and localize the program to their place-based experiences of weather and climate. By anchoring the project development in a robust research and evaluation effort to demonstrate effectiveness, this project will support NASA’s science education objectives of enabling STEM education, improving US scientific literacy, advancing national education goals, and leveraging efforts through collective partnerships.

Photo: The Learning Ecosystems Northeast project partner team at the project’s 2022 Partner Meeting in Portland, ME.

Project Web Site


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The students are becoming more confident in their scientific knowledge. They come to me in 6th grade having had little to no formal science education. A lot of them have learned to fear science or to think of it as something over their heads or unattainable. Through authentic investigations, I see that they are realizing that science is not scary and is truly a way of thinking, and asking and answering questions. —Shelby Soloff, 6th grade teacher