IMAGE: Improving STEM Education in Nevada with Compelling Earth Science Imagery

Affiliation(s)PIProject periodFunded by
DEES McGwire, Kenneth C 02/08/2011 - 02/07/2013 National Aeronautics & Space Administration

Project Description

In recent years, NASA and other public and private entities have generated an abundance of Earth observing satellite imagery that is visually striking and uniquely informative. The IMAGE project will build a set of interactive computer exercises around examples of this compelling imagery that will keep students motivated as they build their skills in the content areas that are laid out in Nevada's math and science standards. Nevada has a high proportion of ethnic groups who are underrepresented in the STEM disciplines. Satellite imagery from NASA will provide a unique way to engage young minds and to generate excitement about the opportunities that would be possible with STEM-related careers. IMAGE will be a collaborative effort between Nevada's System of Higher Education and the Northwest Regional Professional Development Program (NWRPDP) that provides professional development for teachers in elementary schools of northwestern Nevada. IMAGE will provide 6th grade teachers with subject training and educational software that will improve both math and Earth science education in Nevada public schools. Three training seminars will be performed with ample opportunity for teacher feedback to improve the software and methods. Participation will earn the teachers in-service credit towards their recertification requirements. The effectiveness of the IMAGE project will be assessed using pre and post testing for both quantitative knowledge of educational content and qualitative attitudes, knowledge, and misconceptions about STEM fields. The existing efforts of NWRPDP will enable the IMAGE project to select teachers who are known to be motivated participants. These "keystone" teachers will be able to pass training on to colleagues at their schools and to broadcast the effectiveness of this approach at a state-wide level. The modules developed by the IMAGE project will be promoted nationally and made available for adoption elsewhere.