The main tasks of this proposal are to develop displays, teaching modules and related curricula pertaining to topics in atmospheric and space sciences, and to train teachers how to access this material simply and routinely. Our current educational efforts in the areas of Atmospheric Sciences and Mars exploration will be extended and augmented by taking advantage of recent developments in networking, graphics software and easy-to-use interfaces. With these we will use the wealth of information pouring daily into our computers to develop age appropriate K-12 classroom educational modules. In order to accomplish this goal, we will combine science, teaching and technical expertise to develop classroom usable and classroom deliverable products. Workshops, and outreach programs will be organized to effectively introduce them to the regions teachers. The final modules will be distributed via the Internet, to be used in conjunction with an associated CD-ROM. This distribution will continue past the end of this proposal. These modules will enhance the ability of students to use Atmospheric and Space Sciences information from the National Information Infrastructure and motivate them to explore other subject areas.
A partnership between the faculty, staff, and students in the departments of Atmospheric Sciences, Aeronautics/Astronautics and Astronomy, teachers and students in the public schools, and experts from the College of Education and the Washington NASA Space Grant program will be created to accomplish our goals. Educational professionals, and the UW staff, who have extensive experience in the field, will provide the primary resource to design, implement and evaluate the education modules, and all other segments of this program. Unless the modules are widely distributed and adopted by teachers, this program can only be a partial success. Consequently, we have a strong educational development and outreach program. During the first year, we will study successful programs, and solicit their advice and collaboration to the greatest extent possible.
We will bring in a small group of teachers from local schools, together with experts from the College of Education and the assistance of the Washington Space Grant Program, to make sure that materials produced will be appropriate for use in the classroom. Curricula will be developed for use with the displays for a variety of different grade levels. Wide spread distribution of information on our products will be done through conferences, in-service events and the Internet. Evaluations of the effectiveness of the educational modules will be developed.
We have been involved from the start with the Unidata Project of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR). Unidata was formed to enable universities to get access to realtime weather data, and to develop software for manipulation and display of such data. For 10 years members of our department have served on a number of Unidata committees. We have been a beta test site for much of their efforts, including the current effort to distribute realtime weather data via the Internet, called Internet Data Distribution (IDD). Unidata has recently broaden its scope to include supporting universities in their efforts to provide weather information to K-12 schools.
The Pacific Northwest, and particularly the Puget Sound region, is a unique area for weather. The mix of high latitude, topography, land/sea boundaries, and the lack of conventional weather observations to the west result in interesting weather phenomena and particularly difficult forecasting problems. Local weather conditions of interest include the Puget Sound convergence zone, land and sea breezes, pushes of marine air, prediction of snow and high wind events, cold air drainage from the Fraser River valley, upslope and downslope winds, and the effect of winds through gaps in the Cascade Mountains. Such mesoscale events are especially suitable for presentation to schools because of their unique nature and their affect on the day to day lives of people in Washington.
Our approach will be to use the expertise of the faculty, staff and student of the department and the vast array of existing technology to accomplish this task. Through Unidata, we have a method of obtaining the data and the software tools necessary to display it in text and graphical formats. This software includes WXP from Purdue University, GEMPAK from NASA and the National Meteorological Center, and McIDAS from the University of Wisconsin. New and innovative ways have also been recently developed to organize and present information. Information retrieval methods such as Gopher and Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP), the associated servers (gopherd and httpd), and client software such as Gopher and Mosaic make in easier for users to navigate data information archives. We are already running gopherd and httpd (URL http://atmos.washington.edu/) to supply weather information to the campus. The httpd server is also being used to present data and results from the TOGA-COARRE experiment to researchers nationwide. The Blue-Skies Project at the University of Michigan has developed unique software for displaying meteorological information and allowing students to input their own data and develop their own methods for pointing to data sources.
This proposal exploits the excitement of landing on Mars, and related technology common to many space exploration missions, to greatly enhance K-12 mathematics and science education. Michael Ebersole, Mars Pathfinder Assistant Manager at JPL has reviewed our proposal and states "The Mars Pathfinder Project enthusiastically endorses the concept of making Pathfinder data readily available to the general public, especially school age children. Your proposal is completely consistent with the Mars Pathfinder Education and Public Outreach plan." Rover operations, digital images, meteorology and mission operations, are the key elements we will use to assist and stimulate primary and secondary school science and mathematics education. Mathematics, science and logical thought processes are the foundation for technological advances, and even more important, the understanding of the limits of technology. Without this understanding, the potential for an informed government capable of offering reasonable choices, and of an electorate capable of understanding the choices and making the wise decisions that will insure a productive and secure future, is seriously impaired.
Descriptive Mosaic modules about the design and operation of the Mars Pathfinder spacecraft, will capture the interest of students, parents and the public. These modules the primary source for understanding the missions goals and events, Mars exploration in general, and its relevance to Earth. Stand alone modules will be developed to explain the real time mission operations and science, especially during the early data return from Mars. After landing, they will be modified as needed to maximize sharing the excitement of this Mars program, and to present an in depth understanding of its underlying engineering, science and technology. Incentives will be built in to explore the lessons in depth. These developments will be provided to others so they can be customized to meet regional needs, adapted to future programs, and used to explore diverse educational topics.
The Education component will be led by Asst. Provost and Professor George Nelson of Astronomy, whose support is being provided as matching funds for this proposal. He, his associates, and students of the Washington Space Grant Program, along with regional teachers and students, will create the science curriculum from the scientific materials, assist in the planning and implementation of workshops, and conduct outreach programs, which are integral to all aspects of this program. This effort will be guided by a widely constituted advisory board, including members such as Professor Mark Roddy of Seattle University, and experienced staff.
Teachers for the pilot program will be identified. We will train the teachers in the use of the current tools (Gopher, Mosaic and Blue-Skies) and acquaint them with the different data sources and weather phenomena we wish to present. We will then develop a preliminary set of products for use in the schools. These products will then be presented in the classroom to determine how well the students react. Student interaction will occur both in a formal classroom setting, and in allowing the students to individually explore the products on our server as well as other products on the Internet. The presentations will occur at a number of grade levels to gauge the abilities and interests of each age. After the initial implementation, we will step back and refine our products. This should occur near the end of the first year of the project. We will then be ready to widen our audience.
We propose to stimulate and reward teachers who take the initiative to develop major modules for this program on their own time. This will be done by acquiring, through purchase and donations, at least 10 color laptop or notebook computers, that will be loaned to those presenting the top proposals to develop modules. Upon delivery of the successful modules, and when they obtain matching funds, the computer and software will be remain with the teachers for future developments. To further broaden and encourage their efforts, and others to contribute, all modules will include a clear credit for their developers, thereby providing national recognition. We also plan to implement a program to obtain to provide more training to at risk students or those unlikely to have adequate access to a computer.
During the second and third years, we will publish modules and retrospective data on CDROM and make them available to the schools. The project and its resources will be featured in the Space Grant's newsletter "Expanding Frontiers" which reaches 5,000 schools and educators. Public awareness campaigns will insure widespread use of these data and the curriculum developed here will be introduced by in--service workshops offered at the University of Washington for graduate credit. Workshop participants will be required to attend in teams of two from each school, (one teacher and a librarian, for example) to promote effective implementation. Additional background resources for educators and the public will be provided through the Space Grant library and the NASA Regional Teacher Resource Center.
These products will then be presented in the classroom to determine how well the students react. Student interaction will occur both in a formal classroom setting, and in allowing the students to individually explore the products on the server as well as other products on the Internet. The presentations will occur at a number of grade levels to gauge the abilities and interests of each age.
After the initial implementation we will step back and refine our products. This should occur near the end of the first year of the project.
During the second year we will start to widen the audience for the products while continuing to develop and refine them. Additional sensing platforms and access to data will occur during this year. A new western GOES satellite will be available along with increased access to NEXRAD radar data. We will work on developing weather modules for areas of Washington outside of the Puget Sound.
During the third year we will continue widening the audience to include the public and additional schools inside and outside Washington. As the use of the modules grow, we expect to spend time correcting and refining the information we provide. We will work on weather modules for areas of the Pacific Northwest outside of Washington.
Internet Mosaic modules of lesson plans and supportive descriptive literature and visuals of the spacecraft at various stages in the design and construction process will be developed. Materials will be generated about the integration of the spacecraft with its launch vehicle, the launch itself, the transfer orbit, the planetary capture and atmospheric entry phase, and the subsequent deployment of subsystems for data acquisition. The visual materials will include both real and simulated images and hard copy materials, in the form of brochures and videos will also be distributed. Student mission and spacecraft design projects, tailored to the students' abilities, will be organized through the development and dissemination of design modules, and accompanying design kits, based on simple construction materials. Interactive computer software will be developed to illustrate certain aspects of the mission and spacecraft design process, along with mission control. Other past, present, and future planetary missions, such as Voyager, Magellan, Galileo, Cassini may be integrated in these lessons. At all stages, input from teachers and students will be solicited to best tailor the instructional materials and teaching modules to the needs of these end users.
The graduate student will be selected from those who have completed the Mars mission design course and the undergraduates will be enrolled or have completed the course.
During the Viking mission, Tillman worked with teachers at a local high school, bringing two groups in for a week to learn and develop a useful Viking meteorology data analysis program. One student, hired for a summer's work after his senior, year wrote a plotting program and processed several years of Mars atmospheric pressure data. This software is still in use and the pressure plots are the first climate record from another planet. These data can be viewed by URL http://www.atmos.washington.edu/mars.html. We propose to collaborate with this and other schools in the development of these modules and plan to use them to maximize the clarity of, and interest in, our products. We also will include some high school students in the science analyses, to the extent possible, during the mission.
The availability of public access to the data directly from Mars will be highly publicized, as will the value of studying the modules that provide background information. Study will be rewarded with greater understanding, and occasionally with surprises. Other Pathfinder teams will be encouraged to develop modules, and we will provide our tools for use in these developments: we will make their modules available to the complete audience. The final results and infrastructure developed by this program will be easily adaptable to other Planetary exploration missions, thereby preserving this wealth of educational modules for future generations of all ages.
A number of trips will be made by staff, faculty and students to JPL in all phases to develop the spacecraft and direct from Mars components of the program. One trip will be made to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum to gather detailed information on their current plans and propose a development plan.
The second milestone will include: 1) Obtaining information to plan the mission component, 2) developing the topic list and Mosaic outline with the guidance committee, 3) to plan the Mars direct interface, 4) soliciting industrial and community support of the development.
Year 2: First milestones: First modules for spacecraft and mission completed, Module integration and testing at UW, Spacecraft modules tested at developing and selected schools, Mars direct module development begun.
Second milestones: Mars direct interface with project completed, Teacher workshop, Refinement of spacecraft modules, Testing of multi site serving to: Science teams, Selected educators, representative public, Testing with museum, Develop plan for continuation of Pathfinder and future missions.
Year 3: Final teacher workshop coordinated with live Mars direct interface test during cruise and encounter, Mars direct interface tested between Project, Science teams, Museums and Site servers, Dissemination of modules, Publication and presentation of program, Begin real time operation Pathfinder landing, Revision of modules during operations.
2. Mudgway, D. J., Telecommunications and Data Acquisition System Support for the Viking 1975 Mission to Mars: The Viking Lander Monitor Mission May 1980 to March 1983, May 15, 1983, JPL Pub 82-107.