SMAP’s main formal education thrust will offer a high quality and “build-able” professional development workshop package for teachers, where content is added continually and updated over time. Workshop materials will be packaged efficiently to be used regardless of geography, and shareable to promote the dissemination of content. The package will target middle and high school teachers where National and State science standards address a range of topics covered under SMAP science objectives, including the role of hydrology and energy in weather and climate systems, ecology (the role of freeze-thaw and growing seasons on carbon and climate change) and the role of soil moisture in heating the Earth’s surfaces and the implications of climate change on future regional water availability. The logic behind reaching K–12 educators is that it is the most efficient and productive way to reach a large number of students. Each teacher in a professional development workshop teaches an average of 30 students per year. By supporting the K–12 educators to become better informed on science content, we are capitalizing and supporting the main science information providers to our future generation.
Along the same path, the SMAP project is realizing a broader and more innovative approach to EPO by including SMAP science/algorithm team members as a part of the EPO team. The SMAP Science Definition Team (SDT) has created an Applications Working Group; this Group is tasked in part to identify and engage with potential early adopters for the SMAP data. Utilizing this method, and by closely working with scientists from other agencies and institutions, SMAP is working to more quickly realize the full societal benefits that SMAP data could provide. The project scientist has identified and assigned scientists who would like to be active participants in the development and execution of EPO activities and products. This collaborative effort will ensure that the SMAP EPO program will stay on top of the latest science research, ensure the steady delivery of data products, use and interpretations through operations, and the support and participation of members of the SMAP and other science teams. Furthermore, the SMAP EPO team will be looking to collaborate with other mission EPO teams and efforts to support SMAP’s position as a part of the integral NASA Earth Observing satellite fleet.
Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC)
Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
- Project Wet is a well-established and globally recognized water education program for students and educators alike. For 27 years, Project Wet has been providing professional development workshops to hands-on data use. Its major goals are to provide awareness of water resources to empowering students to take action at a local level by understanding global implications.
- The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) is a conduit for learning the latest and greatest teaching techniques, scientific developments, and lessons that can be implemented in the classroom setting. Attended by hundreds of thousands of teachers every year at local and national conferences, NSTA is the leader in serving science teachers since 1944. Symposia are primarily developed and presented by NASA, NOAA, FDA, NSF, NIH, and Sally Ride Science educators and researchers.
- Goddard Education and Middle Schools-The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center works with a large number of middle schools around the east coast of the United States. The work with middle schools is designed to deliver effective and efficient models for engaging and inspiring middle schools with not only the science of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, but of NASA overall. The strategic focus on providing NASA content to middle schools is due to the focus of the Earth sciences educational standards in Grades 6–8.
- The 4H Organization is one of the oldest and largest youth programs in the country and is a natural and strong “fit” with SMAP’s science and applications themes (water availability, flood and drought monitoring and forecasting, agriculture, improved weather and climate modeling, and others). Since its humble beginnings during the late 1800s as an innovative youth program to teach new university agricultural discoveries and to encourage those students to share those discoveries with adults, 4H has grown to “540,000 volunteers, 3,500 professionals, and more than 60 million alumni.” The 4-H movement supports young people from elementary school through high school with programs designed to shape future leaders and innovators. The 4-H movement revolutionized how science was taught outside the classroom through practical, hands-on programs and experiences. Moreover, 4H has demonstrated success in working with the youth.
- The Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) program is a global hands-on, primary and secondary school-based science and education program that began on Earth Day in 1995. Over time, GLOBE has evolved from protocol- and geography specific activities in supporting science principal investigators, to the broader, project-driven program today. Currently, there are more than 54,000 GLOBE-trained teachers representing over 24,000 schools around the world. Over 1.5 million students have participated in GLOBE, contributing more than 22 million measurements to the GLOBE database for use in their inquiry-based science projects.
Effectiveness and Impact
Evaluation findings and impact statements:
Formal Evaluation of the SMAP EPO Program and its education and public outreach activities will be done on an annual basis starting in fiscal years 2014 through 2018. The formal evaluation component is required by SMD, under SPD-18, and the SMAP EPO team will work with the NASA SMD and ESD leads to report out results, successes and metrics through the OEPM system. Selection of the independent evaluation team will be done in FY13, with concurrence from the NASA SMD and ESD EPO leads. Further, the SMAP EPO team will conduct customer surveys at the end of workshops and conferences to solicit feedback from the customers for short-term informal evaluation results. This informal survey results will be activity-based metrics that will be reported out for the JPL Weekly significant events report and NASA Monthly EPO Highlights.
Evaluation Process has yet to take effect. Mission to be launched in 2014.