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.
Bringing Knowledge of Planet Earth to a Wider Audience and Bringing a Diverse New Group to Careers in Science Teaching
Science On a Sphere (SOS) at Fiske Planetarium will raise awareness and understanding of Earth system science for over 30,000 visitors per year, using student docents and newly-developed, tested pedagogy. SOS will enhance Fiske’s ability to engage 3,000 university students and 30,000 K-12 students and members of the public. A student docent program will transform the traditionally passive experience of a planetarium visit into an interactive learning opportunity. The docents will be drawn from two sources: undergraduates who will be future science teachers, who we take from a selective CU program called "STEM-TP", and Hispanic university and high school students taught by Fiske's planetarium manager Francisco Salas. Docents will talk with visitors and help them understand key science issues that affect the earth, leading to more informed decision-making. Fiske will develop bilingual pedagogical material and new data sets, and share them with NOAA and SOS sites. To support the docents, and visiting students and teachers, Fiske Education Manager Traub-Metlay will lead development of explanatory materials that challenge visitors and provide context for what they are seeing. These will be translated into Spanish by Fiske Manager Salas. New data sets, contributed by faculty members, will expand the range of SOS, into space, adding solar interior models, the celestial sphere, and the cosmic background radiation from the Big Bang, along with new terrestrial data such as the worldwide distribution of forest fires. SOS will become a focal point in Fiske's longstanding tradition of teacher workshops, which are often done in cooperation with the University of Colorado and NOAA scientists and highlight NOAA’s role monitoring the earth and sun. It also will be integrated with a small suite of hands-on exhibits we are installing that explains how observations can be made in infrared, ultraviolet, and X-rays in addition to visible light. These would complement SOS, which features multi-wavelength data. Fiske and its Boulder Colorado-area partners have raised $75,000 to cover the full cost of SOS hardware, and have formal institutional commitments to long-term program development. This award from NOAA will go into materials development, evaluation, and student pay. Colorado communities are aware of NOAA’s important work and the nearby David Skaggs Center, but security measures make it difficult to visit there. Fiske is much more accessible. Fiske will improve the usefulness of all SOS sites by conducting formative evaluation to assess what kinds of SOS presentations work best with public and school audiences, giving feedback to NOAA and all SOS users.
Science on a Sphere - Upgrade 2009
This project works to: (1) Continue to develop software that allows a docent to easily control Science on a Sphere from a small touchpad computer while interacting with visitors. (2) Continue to develop software that allows easy "drag and drop" construction of playlists. (3) Put kiosk control of the sphere, already developed as a student project, into a real kiosk. (4) Assess the use of wireless response devices or "clickers" to enhance audience interaction, learning, and enjoyment, and gather information from visitor responses and share all these improvements with the network. (5) Improve the resolution of the 4 projectors of our SOS installation, in anticipation of new data on the moon and Mars coming to our university, which has been selected to lead NASA moon and Mars missions, and add flat screen TVs for the presentation of auxiliary data.
Connections: A Comprehensive Environmental Education Program Centered on NOAA Science On a Sphere (SOS)
The Bishop Museum will develop, implement and evaluate of a full set of informal education programs centered on the Science On a Sphere® exhibit. This project includes the following programs and exhibits: -Eleven classroom modules on earth and ocean sciences (one module for each grade from kindergarten through 10th) using a field trip to the Science On a Sphere® (SOS) and the new Science Adventure Center at Bishop Museum as the keystone for each module. - Exhibits in the planetarium lobby that will augment the SOS display by providing additional content information, local tie-ins, and information on how SOS works. - Daily live demonstrations at the sphere. This includes public demonstrations (1200 shows, 22,000 attendees during the grant period) and school children (400 shows, 9600 attendees during the grant period) for a total attendance of 31,600. -Yearly teacher workshops (2 total, 80 educators) to promote the use of the classroom modules mentioned above with NOAA staff and museum staff. Special-event programming incorporating the sphere will also include an eight-session lecture series featuring NOAA staff; two annual "Mad About Science" Festivals; eight Family Sunday events; and twenty local television news and weather broadcasts using the sphere and its programs for content and background.
NOAA's Science On a Sphere at Bishop Museum (Installation Award)
Bishop Museum is installing Science On a Sphere® (SOS) at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu , Hawai’i. Science on a Sphere, a spherical multimedia display on which NOAA data can be displayed, provides an unparalleled opportunity for innovative and meaningful environmental education for all ages. Hawai’i's natural environment is ideal for conducting research and education on significant topics of earth and ocean sciences, and NOAA scientists currently play a large role in ongoing research in and around the Hawaiian Islands. The addition of a SOS unit to the Museum will allow visitors to learn about the global earth systems that underlie the "science of Hawai’i" featured in the Science Adventure Center at the Bishop Museum. The Science On a Sphere® globe will feature a variety of data sets and serve as the centerpiece of live educational presentations. In addition, Bishop Museum staff and scientists will assist in creating new and exciting visuals for SOS.
Crossroads: Education through Spherical Projection Systems
Both Bishop Museum in Honolulu, Hawaii and Imiloa Astronomy Center in Hilo, Hawaii have installations of NOAA Science on a Sphere and experience with developing programs for spherical display systems. In collaboration with NOAA Pacific Services Center (PSC), these museums are producing and distributing four modules on earth system science topics for spherical display systems. These four modules will focus on climate change, the restless earth, weather and climate, and real-time planet earth. Hawaii State Department of Education will produce pre-visit and post-visit lessons for each of four school programs.
Science On a Sphere Revitalization Act for ASTC 2010 and Beyond
The Bishop Museum is installing new Science On a Sphere (SOS) projectors and computers in advance of the 2010 Association of Science Technology Centers (ASTC) conference in Honolulu, HI. The state of the art hardware will allow the Bishop Museum and Lawrence Hall of Science to showcase NOAA-funded programming for the museum community during the conference. The project also seeks to build network capacity by creating and maintaining a database on SOS sites' hardware within the existing NOAA yahoo usergroup forum and through conference participation. Project evaluation efforts will focus on the aesthetics of SOS imagery pre and post installation and whether or not it significantly impacts the visitor experience.