Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM)
GPM’s E/PO activities highlight the GPM’s unique science, technology, engineering and mathematics capabilities by developing a diverse portfolio of projects and activities that will educate and engage the public about the scientific and engineering contributions from GPM. We define a set of anticipated outcomes in a portfolio of 11 proposed projects, programs and activities. Specifically, these outputs will include:
- Field-tested GPM-related lessons for secondary level science students that can be shared with science teachers across the nation developed by our Master Teachers and OEEP/GLOBE Teachers.
- Presentations, games, hands-on and web-based activities focused on GPM’s four themes to be featured on the GPM E/PO Website, Family Science Nights, in classroom activities, and in environmental programs, among others
- Science on a Sphere program with accompanying educational materials
- A collection of Earth Science stories, data visualizations, and animations suitable for a variety of audiences for use across formal education, informal education, and outreach settings
- An engaging E/PO portal that provides educational materials, connects with citizens through social media and citizen science activities, and conducts innovative activities like a GPM anime character and comic book competition
- A cadre of grade 7-12 Master Teachers and undergraduates who teach others about GPM science and engineering and develop new lesson plans and hands-on activities.
- An emphasis on using the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) to guide product development
- A focus on integrating all aspects of the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics into lesson plans, activities, and other resources.
Through these and other outputs, the GPM E/PO activities engage students, educators and the public with a focus on encouraging the communication of Earth science stories and STEM concepts that promote the scientific contributions of GPM and other NASA Earth Science missions across a broad spectrum of E/PO efforts.
The evaluation for GPM’s E/PO activities uses a mixed methods approach to collect formative and summative data. Formative evaluation will focus on developing design criteria with the team that can guide development, piloting and review of resources, and professional development. Internal and external reviewers will use the design criteria to provide feedback on the effectiveness of the products developed and the professional development planned. Focus groups will provide further feedback for revisions. Completed evaluations for the active GPM E/PO activities are attached to this survey.
Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC)
GPM is partnering with GLOBE and Outdoor Environmental Education Program (OEEP) in Montgomery County, MD to develop modules and activities focused on GLOBE protocols. The modules use the Precipitation Measurement GLOBE Protocol to teach middle school students about how to measure environmental variables (precipitation, temperature, soil moisture, etc.) through a series of environmentally-focused tasks. Metrics on this program and partnership are included in the attached evaluation document.
GPM is partnering with the Earth to Sky Program, a National Park and Fish and Wildlife services-NASA partnership to engage interpreters within the National Park settings around the country. This partnership provides an ideal channel to reach both informal and formal audiences through visiting school groups, teacher workshops, families on vacation, partnerships with local schools and universities, and outreach organizations. By leveraging existing expertise, programs, and activities within the National Parks and Fish and Wildlife systems, the GPM E/PO team, with the support of other NASA mission E/PO leads, can work with rangers and park interpreters to provide content for programs that are known to be successful as well as work to develop new activities that will be integrated into the National Park setting. Through a partnership with Earth to Sky, GPM seeks to relate concepts of local scale, observable scientific topics within national or local parks and wildlife refuges including weather, climate change, and hydrometeorological applications to global concepts of precipitation remote sensing, global climate change, and impacts of precipitation variability around the world. We are finalizing the first set of proposals and will provide honorariums to 4-5 selected parks and Wildlife Centers around the country to develop materials this summer (2013)
GPM it partnering with the NASA Office of Education for the Master Teachers program by providing guidance on our activities including the implementation of our quasi-experimental study, working with us to run the pilot program for MT, and helping to promote and expand this activity across missions and directorates.
Effectiveness and Impact
Evaluation findings and impact statements:
The evaluation will use a mixed methods approach (Frechtling, 2010) to collect formative and summative data. Formative evaluation will focus on developing design criteria with the team that can guide development, piloting and review of resources, and professional development. Internal and external reviewers will use the design criteria to provide feedback on the effectiveness of the products developed and the professional development planned. Focus groups will provide further feedback for revisions.
Formative evaluation provides ongoing feedback to improve development and implementation.
- How well are the resources designed to inspire, educate, and engage audiences in the GPM science concepts? (comprehensive, appropriate, accurate, interesting)
- How well do the resources, outreach and professional development use best practices?
Summative evaluation collects evidence to assess success in meeting objectives.
- To what extent and under what conditions do educators learn the GPM science?
- How effective are educators in applying what they learned in their local teaching contexts?
- What are the impacts on teacher/student/audience understanding, appreciation and interest in GPM science and technology?
- What are the nature, extent and effectiveness of outreach activities?
- How well, and under what circumstances do the partnerships serve the needs of GPM objectives?
Master Teacher Comparison Group Study with GPM Enhanced Middle School Lessons
Results for each of the four lessons show equal or better performance by students in GPM-enhanced classes than by comparison group students indicating the GPM-enhanced lessons were effective in teaching the content and can be used to teach core curriculum concepts.
- 3 teachers, 8 classes in Montgomery County, MD
- 7th graders– 484 comparison students, 441 GPM
- Geographic Influences – 123 comparison, 107 GPM
- Water Cycle – 129 comparison, 110 GPM
- Global Energy Budget – 107, 114
- Severe Weather: Hurricanes – 125, 110
- Comparison Group - Pre/post content knowledge tests
- GPM Group - Pre/post content knowledge tests
- Comparison Group - Open-ended entrance/exit card
- GPM Group - Open-ended entrance/exit card
Lessons were critiqued by the external evaluator and written feedback and suggestions provided on the multiple-choice content tests, entrance exit cards, and alignment of the objectives and activities with the assessment measures. Tests and cards were scored by the evaluator and results analyzed and reported to the teachers by lesson. An analysis of the individual test question results is being done to refine the questions, activities and implementation guidelines for the lessons.
Entrance/Exit cards are open-ended questions that are scored for accuracy of understanding. As in the multiple-choice tests, results show equal or better performance by students in GPM-enhanced classes compared with comparison group students.
Outdoor Environmental Education Middle School Lesson Pre/Post Study
Results show the GPM concept based simulation significantly increased students’ understanding indicating it is an effective tool for teaching in an outdoor environmental education program.
- 264 middle school students and their teachers in Montgomery County MD public schools out of 1910 total students who participated in the program
- “Survivor” module to teach students how to look for water in their environment
- Retrospective questionnaire on pre/post understanding
Two interventions for middle school students were designed, critiqued by the external evaluator, revised, and used with students. The first intervention was a quasi-experimental study using four lessons developed with GPM content on core curriculum concepts (Geographic Influences, water Cycle, Global Energy Budget, and Hurricanes). These were substituted for the county approved lessons with heterogeneously grouped students in half of three teachers’ classes totaling over 450 students. Both the students that were taught with the county lessons and those that had the GPM lessons were tested using a pre/post knowledge test, and open-ended entrance/exit cards. On both measures, students in the GPM-enhanced lesson classes scored equally or better than students in the county-approved lessons, indicating the GPM lessons were effective in teaching the core concepts. These lessons will now be made available to educators on the GPM website and through http://nasawavelength.org. Data will continue to be collected on outcomes to ensure accurate replication.
The second intervention used a pre/post design with a three-hour GPM module about the role of water in survival. This was used in the county’s outdoor environmental education program with 1910 students. Over 250 students were asked about their knowledge of the core concepts before and after participating in the module. The students reported statistically significant increases in their understanding of all the concepts, including signs of water, usable water on Earth, human effects on water quality and supplies, plants in moist habitats, soil analysis for moisture, visual atmospheric indicators of moisture, analysis of a natural body of water, ways to conserve water, and using GPS for collecting data. The module will now be made available on the GPM website, on http://nasawavelength.org, and through presentations at outdoor education conference.
Key Impacts: Awareness, knowledge, or understanding
- GPM-enhanced STEM lessons increased students’ understanding of geographic influences on temperature and precipitation, the water cycle, the global energy budget, and hurricanes.
- A GPM-focused outdoor education module significantly increased students’ understanding of the importance of water for survival, including signs of water, usable water on Earth, human effects on water quality and supplies, plants in moist habitats, soil analysis for moisture, visual atmospheric indicators of moisture, analysis of a natural body of water, ways to conserve water, and using GPS for collecting data.
- Capitol College students were engaged in EPO activities about GPM. Surveys and focus groups indicate an increased awareness of the GPM mission, NASA, precipitation data, and instrumentation for collecting data on precipitation from space.
- Twitter and Facebook data show an increase in the number of followers, and spikes in enrollment and participation related to public events.
Engagement or interest:
- Capitol College students were engaged in EPO activities about GPM. Surveys and focus groups indicate an increased interest in the GPM mission, NASA, precipitation data, and instrumentation for collecting data on precipitation from space.
- Middle school teachers using the GPM-enhanced lessons report that students were engaged and interested in the GPM mission, content, and technology. A survey is currently being completed.
- Facilitators of the Outdoor Environmental Education Program report that students were highly engaged with the GPM-related “Survivor” module. Attitude (more stable, intractable attitudes)
- Forthcoming from middle school GPM-enhanced lesson students
- Community College students indicated a positive attitude toward NASA and NASA’s mission.
- The contest to design an educational GPM anime character resulted in 41 designs to date from 10 U.S. states and 5 countries (USA, Canada, Japan, Brazil, India).
- The precipitation photo contests have had over 1300 photos submitted.
- A GPM-focused outdoor education module significantly increased students’ understanding of how to use GPS for collecting data about the presence of water in the natural environment.
- Middle school students involved in the GPM-enhanced lesson on Geographical Influences learned to create climatograms from MY NASA DATA Live Access Server.
- Middle school students involved in the GPM-enhanced lesson on the Global Energy Budget will examine NASA data about absorbed and reflected energy and look for seasonal and geographical patterns.