The NASA Earth Science Education Collaborative (NESEC) is building pathways between NASA’s Earth STEM assets to large, diverse audiences in order to enhance K-12 teaching and learning, and to provide opportunities for lifelong learners. STEM assets include subject matter experts, science content, and authentic STEM experiences.
NESEC is a partnership between the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) and Earth science divisions at three NASA Centers: Goddard Space Flight Center, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Langley Research Center.
What does your team hope to achieve?
NESEC is enhancing STEM teaching and learning by creating engaging, meaningful, and authentic STEM experiences and resources that 1) are based on NASA Earth science; 2) are tailored to specific audiences based on their needs; 3) as a whole, reach diverse learners throughout their lifetimes; and that are 4) delivered broadly through strategic partnerships.
These activities are designed with the long-term goal to enable national improvements in STEM education that align with and further NASA SMD’s top-level objectives for education: Enable STEM Education, Improve U.S. Scientific Literacy, Advance National Educational Goals, and Leverage Through Partnerships.
NESEC activities focus on three areas:
- GLOBE Observer citizen science, expanding the international GLOBE Program to non-student audiences (informal education and individual citizen scientists) through a free mobile app and supporting materials. GLOBE Observer currently includes four tools that enable citizen scientists to participate in NASA science: Clouds, Mosquito Habitat Mapper, Land Cover, and Trees. It also included a temporary tool for the 2017 total solar eclipse across North America and the 2019 eclipse in South America.
- Student Investigations with NASA, creating opportunities for the GLOBE community and beyond to align authentic science engagement with NASA STEM assets. These include student research, field campaigns, and data challenges: GLOBE Clouds, U.S. Air Quality; Trees Around the GLOBE; and GLOBE Mission Mosquito.
- Strategic Partnerships and Collaborations, developing resources and approaches to systemically engage audiences with NASA Earth science, including other SciAct Awards and infrastructure projects, and external partners including Odyssey of the Mind, SciStarter/Girl Scouts, Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, Smithsonian Institution, and local partnerships with universities, libraries, museums, and science centers.
“Technology as a tool is incredibly motivating. Having NASA as a learning partner is also a strong motivator. My students rotate through their science investigation teams daily to make sure their cloud and contrail observations are completed with accuracy and that NASA receives the data in a timely manner…. In our second quarter the county assessment testing showed a 76.83% mastery of the objective that we just could not seem to meet before our participation in GLOBE.” Dr. Caryn Long, Treadway Elementary School, FL
“I feel as though collaboration was really emphasized this summer in a way that I hadn't come across before. By having to compare each assignment to someone else's, I learned new ideas on how to approach the same goal.” High school student, Summer 2019 Mosquito Mappers Virtual Internship
“The interaction of kids with their environment really set them up to feel like they were part of something big.” NESEC Library Partner
“The connections recommended [by NESEC] have improved our products and have provided richer STEM stories for our learners.” Annual NESEC Partner Survey
“The more photos we took the more we began to enjoy it, and the more we began to take notice of things around us. We began to think about how the photos were being used and enjoyed seeing the progressing map of where the photos were being taken. When we drove along we and saw something interesting, we would stop and take a photo observation.” Scouts using GLOBE Observer in Australia during the 2019 GO on a Trail Challenge
"I just thought I would let you know that both of my children are loving the cloud observation challenge from here in Scotland. Every day J. aged 12 does his observation before school and E. aged 15 does hers when home from school. They are delighted to be helping to give information and hope it helps you to build a better picture. Many thanks for such a great project!" A GLOBE Observer participant in Scotland