NOAA’s opportunities for educators come in many shapes and forms, but in one way or another, they all connect educators with Earth science experts and scientific techniques teachers can take into their classrooms. We hope that these connections give educators more tools to empower their students to address today’s pressing challenges.
This year, we reached out to NOAA scientists and educators and invited them to share what they love about working with educators. To all the teachers out there, thank you for the work that you do!
“Teachers open students' eyes to what is in their backyard and how it relates to the world at large. They inspire and motivate, cultivating the next generation of big thinkers.”
— Susan Haynes, Education Program Manager, NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research
Educator Lisa Massee builds a methane hydrate model as part of a lesson focused on ocean energy during a NOAA Office of Exploration and Research Exploring the Deep Ocean with NOAA professional development workshop. The workshop took place at the Aquarium of the Pacific in San Diego, California, and helped educators make new connections — both literally and figuratively.
"Teachers are who we entrust to prepare our future leaders."
— Jonathan Guseman, Jackson, Kentucky, Weather Forecast Office
Meteorologists Jonathan Guseman and Jane Marie Wix worked with L.B.J. Elementary School in Jackson, Kentucky, to offer a weather safety program focused on lightning. Here, a student learns about static electricity through the use of a Van de Graaff generator. When teachers team up with scientists, they can really spark some excitement!
“I love learning, and to me, teachers embody the excitement of learning.”
— Emily Susko, NOAA Teacher at Sea Program Coordinator
“Through the Teacher at Sea Program, I am privileged to meet outstanding educators from around the country who teach all kinds of subjects, grade levels, and audiences,” continues Emily Susko, Teacher at Sea Program Coordinator (right). “I share their excitement as they participate in NOAA research missions, and through their blogs and their lessons, I learn along with them.” Susko met up with Teacher at Sea alumni, including Helen Haskell (left) and Lisa Battig (center), on the tall ship Californian during a 2017 Southwest Teacher at Sea Alumni Workshop in San Diego, California.
“I love working with teachers because they provide safe spaces for students to take risks, literally and figuratively, in the pursuit of scientific understanding and stewardship.”
— Molly Harrison, NOAA Planet Stewards Co-coordinator
Flagstaff, Arizona, middle school teacher and NOAA Planet Steward Jillian Worssam stands at the ready while her chemistry student demonstrates a “carbon snake” (a controlled experiment that shows a chemical change to matter) for his chemistry final. The NOAA Planet Stewards Education Project provides formal and informal educators working with elementary- through college-aged students the knowledge and resources to build scientifically literate individuals and communities.
“Teachers are an amazing source of inspiration, not only to the students they teach, but also to all of us in NOAA!”
— Atziri Ibanez, National Education Coordinator, National Estuarine Research Reserve System
Teachers on the Estuary workshops give educators the chance to learn a new curriculum while engaging in the science and stewardship of their local estuarine research reserves. Here, teachers put their canoe-paddling skills to use while studying a marsh in the Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve. They also sought inspiration in the tidal wetland, incorporating art into their hands-on training.
“One of the most efficient and effective ways to tackle the challenge of helping to make ALL of the citizens of our country more 'Weather Ready' is by educating our school children.”
— Ron Morales, Charleston, South Carolina, Weather Forecast Office
Warning Coordination Meteorologist Ron Morales supports Kids Teaching Flood Resilience (KTFR), a collective impact project facilitated by Dr. Merrie Koester of the University of South Carolina Center for Science Education. The program helps build a Weather Ready Nation by serving schools in low income neighborhoods that are highly vulnerable to extreme weather hazards like flooding. “We strongly feel that teachers have one of the most important roles in our society. Just one passionate teacher can make the difference for hundreds of children during their career,” Morales says. “Those students lucky enough to be impacted by these teachers may become better educated and informed adults, helping to make positive, meaningful contributions to the world around them!” In some cases, educators even let their students become the teachers. Here, a student explains a weather forecast graph to her fellow classmates.
“Teachers are passionate, caring, and want to make a difference for the future of our children.”
— Belkys Melendez, Newport/Morehead City Weather Forecast Office
Belkys Melendez (right), a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, worked with Ms. Zulay Joa (left), a teacher at Glenallan Elementary School in Silver Spring, Maryland. Melendez is normally stationed at the Newport/Morehead City Weather Forecast Office in North Carolina where, in addition to forecasting the weather, she regularly visits local schools. Melendez continued to conduct school outreach while on rotation with the National Weather Service Equal Opportunity and Diversity Management Division at NOAA Headquarters in Silver Spring.
“Teachers put their hearts and souls into their work, nurturing small people into big people who can think for themselves, making the world a better place for all of us.”
— Bruce Moravchik, NOAA Planet Stewards Co-coordinator
With guidance from NOAA Planet Steward Marcia Taylor, high school students on the island of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands conducted multiple beach clean-ups in their community after learning about the causes and effects of marine debris. Through this project, high school students developed leadership skills while helping to make their island home a better place for people and wildlife.
“Working with teachers is absolutely the highlight of my job. Watching them expand on the information we provide to craft transformative experiences and lessons for their students is nothing short of awe-inspiring!”
— E.V. Bell, Marine Education Specialist, South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium
After a seining program, a sixth-grade student from Ocean Bay Middle School in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, learned about the different juvenile fish species that inhabit his local estuary. Science teacher Cindy Lilly illustrated the importance of the estuary and salt marsh as nursery grounds for numerous marine species. The seining program was conducted by staff at Huntington Beach State Park as part of the South Carolina Sea Grant Consortiumoffsite link’s From Seeds to Shorelineoffsite link® program in which students cultivate and transplant seedlings of Spartina alterniflora, a native grass, to areas of South Carolina’s coastline.
“The wonderful thing about reaching an educator is that they continue to inspire many children over time.”
— Louisa Koch, Director of NOAA Education
Teacher at Sea alum Trevor Hance led a Trout in the Classroom program for 140 second-grade students at Laurel Mountain Elementary in Austin, Texas. The five-month learning experience was a long-lens, authentic look at aquatic health, fisheries, and human impact on the environment. The culminating event — a field trip to release the fish they raised in the Guadalupe River followed by a tour of the A.E. Wood Fish Hatchery — provided students with a platform to understand the world under their feet and the air and water we all share.
Our resounding thanks and a very happy Teacher Appreciation Week to every educator! If you'd like to explore more ways to work with NOAA, check out our opportunities for educators.