It never ceases to impress me how great teachers consistently find new and innovative educational tools to put in their class toolkit. They do it in a multitude of ways – through sound preparation and in-depth knowledge of the subjects they teach; fresh activities and exercises; engaging resources; and creativity – all to inspire a love of learning and encourage students to think and dream big.
Over the last 18 years, one teaching and learning resource that educators around the world have integrated into their toolkit is GLOBE. The Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment Program (GLOBE) is an international science and education program that connects to a worldwide network of teachers, students and scientists to better understand the Earth as a system. Since beginning operations in 1995, more than 58,000 trained teachers and 1.5 million students in 112 countries have participated in GLOBE.
Integrating hands-on projects into the curriculum is a great way to engage students in Earth system science. Instead of just reading about science, they get to do science. GLOBE provides teachers of all grades, from elementary to high school, and all subjects, from STEM to the humanities, with a robust library of high quality, interactive lesson plans and learning activities across a variety of Earth system science study areas to use in the classroom.
Citizen science programs allow students to participate in real science. To date, students in the GLOBE Program have contributed more than 100 million measurements to the program’s database, creating meaningful, standardized, multi-national professional-grade data sets that can be used in support of university-level scientific research. Scientists at NASA, NOAA and NSF develop the program’s protocols, ensuring students are participating in rigorous, relevant education. Not only do programs like GLOBE foster the next generation of scientists and STEM leaders, but also help students develop critical thinking skills that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.
Classrooms are also given the unique opportunity to connect with other students, teachers and scientists internationally and think about the environment on a global scale. The GLOBE visualization tools offer the ability to display data in maps, graphs and tables, while students collaborate with scientists and other GLOBE students and communities worldwide using the GLOBE database for education and research.
To participate in this cross-cultural exchange of information and understanding of how the Earth works, teachers must register and complete GLOBE program training, a free service that can be accessed at www.globe.gov. In addition to professional development opportunities, GLOBE teachers can explore a wealth of materials and lesson plans. To join GLOBE, educators should visit the GLOBE website, or to get a preview of what the program offers, they can go to GLOBE’s Pinterest profile, which features a curation of innovative ideas for the classroom.
Dr. Anthony Murphy is director of The GLOBE Program, an international science and education program that connects a network of teachers, students and scientists worldwide to better understand the Earth as a system.