Center for Earth and Climate Science Education



Five JPL Earth Science missions will participate in this cross-mission professional development program for teachers. The goal is to begin with a pilot program (July 2013) and expand from there.

Our partner, WestEd, is working with JPL to develop a regional program of professional development for 4th – 8th grade teachers with in-depth support of the science and practices behind NASA’s Earth Science missions, so that students can be engaged in relevant 21st Century Skills, understand the complexity of our Earth system, broader program, called the Center for Earth and Climate Science Education (CECSE), will provide workshops and resources for teachers in the West.

This partnership would provide teachers in grades 4-8, focused on underserved schools in urban areas, with the tools, techniques, knowledge, and ongoing support for to engage students in learning about earth and climate system science through STEM lessons that integrate the scientific disciplines. With its first year as a pilot program based in Southern California, CECSE will provide teacher training; curriculum development; and will help to build capacity through teacher leadership. Five NASA missions, GRACE Follow-On, Jason-2/OST, Aquarius, SMAP, and OCO-2 have agreed to contribute funding in FY13 to help launch the effort. Funding for additional years will need to be identified.

Lead Organizations

Jet Propulsion Laboratory




Our partner is the WestEd K-12 Alliance. The K-12 Alliance is a sub-program of the WestEd STEM program.







Effectiveness and Impact

Evaluation findings and impact statements:
The evaluation plan for the JPL Institute (July 15-19), will be directed by M. Jean Young of Young & Associates. Dr. Young has extensive experience in evaluating professional development programs including many state-run programs as well as the national Quarknet program. The evaluation will answer three questions:

  1. To what extent have teachers’ content knowledge about Earth’s systems changed in the 5-day program?
  2. To what extent have teachers’ attitudes changed toward the use of JPL mission information in the classroom?
  3. To what extent have teachers implemented their learning in their classrooms?

To answer Question 1, teachers will be given a pre/post content test that consists of multiple-choice, open-ended, and performance-task questions. To answer Question 2, teachers will be given a survey to answer questions about their knowledge of NASA/JPL and its mission materials. To answer Question 3, teachers will be given a survey to indicate the frequency of and depth of use in their classrooms. In addition to this formal evaluation plan, there will be an evaluation each day in a format called “gots and needs.” Data from the "gots and needs" will be used formatively to monitor the 5-day program.