Use the filter menu and interactive map to explore the past competitions offered and grants awarded through the Environmental Literacy Program.
To learn more about project findings and outcomes, view the summaries of our grantees’ summative evaluation reports.
Supporting NOAA's Mission by Improving Pre-college Teachers' Knowledge of the Atmospheric and Ocean Sciences
The American Meteorological Society (AMS) Education Program is continuing its development and implementation of a highly innovative NOAA/AMS partnership built on the recognition that teachers are key to realizing NOAA's and AMS's shared vision of an environmentally literate public and a geoscience workforce that reflects the human diversity of American society. This proposed phase of the program focuses on the crucial professional development of pre-college teachers in the pedagogical content knowledge of the essential principles and fundamental concepts of the atmospheric and ocean sciences. Project Activities and Expected Outcomes: Central to the program is the offering of the AMS DataStreme Ocean and DataStreme Atmosphere courses for in-service teachers and the content-similar undergraduate AMS Online Weather Studies and Online Ocean Studies courses for pre-service teachers. All AMS courses include delivery of engaging inquiry-based investigations of the ocean and atmospheric environments employing Internet-delivered NOAA products and services. The proposed project will expand a cadre of pre-college teachers well trained in the essential principles and fundamental concepts, online data sources, and pedagogical issues related to the teaching of atmospheric and ocean sciences from an Earth system perspective. Participating in-service teachers are committed to changing the way they teach atmospheric or oceanographic topics, will serve as resource agents in their schools, and are expected to provide leadership in science curriculum reform at local, state, and national levels. During this proposed funding, AMS DataStreme courses will train 4,000 teachers via semester-long graduate courses at 50 or more sites nationally via Local Implementation Teams (LITs). Within two years of training, in-service teachers will directly impact 40,000 other teachers and 1,400,000 pre-college students. AMS undergraduate courses with similar pedagogical and content underpinnings will impact thousands of pre-service teachers on hundreds of campuses. Rationale: The AMS, working closely with NOAA line offices and personnel, outstanding pre-college teachers, and science educators around the country, is transforming Earth system science education across the pre-college curriculum by addressing what and how teachers teach. Trained content-competent teachers are essential to realizing a scientifically literate public and creating a high-quality geoscience workforce that reflects and benefits from the diversity of American society. The AMS recognizes that teachers must experience learning that incorporates an Earth system science perspective and develop pedagogical content knowledge if they are to more effectively deliver authentic inquiry-based instruction in their classrooms. Major Project Partners: All NOAA line offices have been and will continue to be partners as AMS assists NOAA in advancing its goals of environmental assessment and prediction, protection of life and property, and the fostering of global environmental stewardship. The State University of New York grants tuition-waived graduate-level credit for the DataStreme courses.
Sound Resilience-Get on Board!
The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk is located at the mouth of the Norwalk River where it flows into Long Island Sound. Its mission is to inspire people to appreciate and protect the Sound and the global environment. As global climate change increases, extreme storms and sea levels continue to rise and a growing percentage of the 23 million people living within 50 miles of the Sound are directly affected by severe weather events, providing a timely opportunity to educate students, teachers, and the public about community resilience. From 2017-2020, the Aquarium developed and delivered an innovative three-session climate resilience education program to more than 2,000 middle and high school students in Fairfield County, Connecticut. The Sound Resilience student experience began in the classroom, where students learned about the impacts of hurricanes and coastal storms on their communities and used a hands-on “beach in a box” to model the effectiveness of built structures like seawalls and natural resilience features including salt marshes and oyster reefs. Then, during a two-hour research cruise on the Aquarium’s hybrid-electric research vessel, Spirit of the Sound, students collaborated to map their home coastlines from the water: identifying vulnerable locations from apartment buildings to power plants, as well as the existing resilience structures protecting their coast. On the vessel they also stepped into the role of climate scientists, conducting real-time weather and water sampling, including collecting and examining photosynthetic plankton that absorb carbon and help to slow down the effects of climate change. The third program session, back in the classroom, sent students on a design and decision-making journey, in which they compared their collaboratively created resilience map with flood-risk maps of their hometown, then worked together to identify gaps in resilience infrastructure and design a resilience plan for their community. As a result of Sound Resilience – Get on Board!, there were significant gains in students’ understanding of resilience science and their own sense of agency in creating a resilient future for their communities. Participants also reported deeper understanding of, and connection to, the Sound’s coastal ecosystems, which serve to buffer storm waves, sequester carbon, and protect communities from extreme weather and climate change. The Aquarium also developed and delivered a teacher professional development workshop focusing on effective and standards-aligned methods of teaching climate change, resilience, and environmental justice issues. Finally, an interactive experience was created for guests in one of the Aquarium’s most highly trafficked spaces. It includes a series of twenty-foot map projections of Long Island Sound showing present and future vulnerabilities and resilience methods, as well as a touch-screen kiosk where guests can interact with NOAA resources showing the risks that floods and sea level rise pose to their home communities. Although the grant period has ended, the resources created thanks to NOAA’s Environmental Literacy Program will live on. The guest experience on the Aquarium floor will continue for the foreseeable future and the student programs—in-person as well as virtual—and teacher workshops will remain available within the Aquarium’s program catalog.
Community Partnership for Resilience
The New England Aquarium worked with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council to establish Community Partnerships for Resilience (CPR) starting in 2017. CPR created partnerships in three Boston-area communities that face severe risk from a changing climate – Chelsea, Hull, and Lynn, MA. Project leads worked with local professionals with diverse and relevant expertise in climate science, engineering, community planning and community action, as well as representatives from local schools or school-based educational programs serving youth in Grades 4 through 8. Partners determined the most critical, climate-related hazards for their area that would benefit from public involvement and understanding. With a focus on extreme heat, inland flooding and storm surge, project leads, and educators developed a curriculum framework. The framework was used as a guide for the creation of a unit that had students explore the identified hazards and create a Public Education Project (PEP) to communicate with community stakeholders to drive both understanding and action. Through a series of collaborative working Summer Institutes, project partners led teachers on an exploration of the framework materials, relevant science content, and a crash course on Project Based Learning techniques. Implementation of the unit in the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 school years led to further refinement of the curriculum framework, insight on the need for further teacher supports, and improved relationships and connections with municipal and community contacts. The resulting curriculum framework was finalized alongside partner teachers in the spring and summer of 2020 and can be adapted to different climate resilience topics and PEPs, as driven by student interest. Students themselves represent a key constituency – they will be most directly impacted by future changes, and they will need civic capacity to foster positive change. Teacher resources also include a rubric to evaluate PEP plans to meet project objectives, resources on trauma-informed teachers from colleagues at Riverside Trauma Center (Needham, MA), instructional and motivation videos from educator partners on key unit phases, and a beta version of a mapping portal developed with partners at Metropolitan Area Planning Council using layered data across a variety of sources. As a result of this project, participating educators showed an increase in knowledge and awareness about climate change on a broad level, as well as local impacts in their specific Massachusetts region. CPR participation also made educators more comfortable collaborating with other educators and inviting outside expert voices for lessons. By working collaboratively, participating teachers felt they were able to better support their students to impact their communities in a positive way. CPR provided the opportunity to have students work together to communicate with the public using PEPs, allowing students and community members to collaborate in “a common effort to increase climate resilience.” As a result of this, CPR was able to expand the group of change agents who could tackle critical environmental challenges and strengthen their communities.
AMS/NOAA Cooperative Program for Earth System Education (CPESE)
The American Meteorological Society (AMS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) work together to share knowledge and information about weather and climate, ocean, and coasts with educators and students across the country. The goal of this effort is to build a scientifically informed and engaged society and a diverse STEM workforce prepared to respond to environmental hazards. AMS facilitates a national offering of the DataStreme Atmosphere and DataStreme Ocean courses and supports Project ATMOSPHERE leadership training workshops at the National Weather Service Training Center for in-service K-12 educators, with focus on those at schools with considerable numbers of students underrepresented in STEM. By 2023, about 2,100 educators will earn graduate credits through a partnership with California University of Pennsylvania and become confident Earth science educators. These educators are expected to impact more than 20,000 additional educators and several hundred thousand K-12 students.