Bring NOAA into Your Classroom This Year!

Across the country, students, teachers, and parents alike have been getting back into the groove of a new school year. I don’t know about y’all, but I always LOVED the start of a new school year (and to be honest, I still love this time of year!) Settling into a comfortable new routine, setting new goals…’s almost like a second New Year. There is one group of people that we all would be lost without, and those are our hard-working teachers! Teachers have a huge influence on a student’s ability to learn and get excited about a subject. I am still forever grateful to each of my teachers, from my kindergarten teacher to my high school math and science teachers to my meteorology professors in college. They each instilled in me a desire to continually learn more, and I believe that is likely the goal of every teacher. This post is dedicated to the hard-working teachers across the world, and we want to share with you all some great ways to bring NOAA science and data into your classroom.

Fourth grade educator and NOAA Teacher At Sea alumna, Barney Peterson, makes an impact in her classroom. Photo courtesy NOAA Teacher At Sea Program.

Dive Into Data!

NOAA is an incredible source for earth science data, with a variety of data resources (including some that are classroom ready if it’s your first time teaching with data!) for students from kindergarten through undergraduates in college! Their website hosts a wide variety of data resources, from paleoclimatology to real-time ocean conditions. You can also download the new NOAA Science on a Sphere Explorer mobile app to bring stunning visualizations of global data into your classroom. Students will love being able to see the data in the palms of their hands! Use the National Data Buoy Center to monitor water quality across the ocean. As hurricane season is ramping up, students will love to see potential flooding impacts across most of the United States and its territories with the Sea Level Rise Viewer. You can also help students become Climate Explorers while exploring both historical and projected climate data

Teacher at Sea Alum Trevor Hance led a Trout in the Classroom program for 140 second-grade students at Laurel Mountain Elementary in Austin Texas. Photo courtesy NOAA Teacher at Sea.

NOAA can help you teach even the youngest learners. Their elementary resource collection has lessons on earth, life, and physical science, as well as careers and the scientific process targeted specifically for students in kindergarten to fifth grade. Check out their partnership with Octonauts, which is a children’s TV show featuring a crew of quirky and courageous undersea adventurers whose mission is to explore the world’s ocean, rescue the creatures who live there, and protect their habitats. Listen to their podcast which features an episode-by-episode discussion of The Octonauts and brings together experts from inside and outside of NOAA to help you and the children you care about learn more about the real-life versions of The Octonauts sea creatures and the ocean they call home. Check out this video for a tour of the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer targeted towards Octonaut fans!  Lastly, Owlie Skywarn is another great resource for weather and safety!

Did You Know….

that 2019 is the International Year of the Salmon? Bring salmon education into your classroom with lessons and activities from our West Coast Fisheries office. Discover salmon species that are managed by NOAA Fisheries, including the three populations that NOAA scientists consider highly at-risk of extinction. 

Climb into the Clouds

Most meteorologists have a really great story about how they became interested in weather. Some remember an epic thunderstorm when they were just five, others lived through catastrophic hurricanes, and others just knew what they wanted to do since they were old enough to watch the Weather Channel. On the other hand, while I had always been interested in weather (living through severe weather season in Alabama and at least two major hurricanes, how could I not be at least semi-interested, right?), I actually started college with a major in physical therapy. I’d always been in love with the clouds though, so I took an intro to meteorology class for fun and quickly fell in love with the science…and, as they say, the rest is history! All this to say….clouds are really cool! They can weigh tens of millions of tons, yet float in the atmosphere. Clouds can be carried along by winds of up to 150 mph (240 km/h) or can remain stationary while the wind passes through them. To bring the clouds into your classroom, check out the newly updated NOAA cloud chart and teach your students how to identify the clouds that are overhead. From there, you can delve into new information about understanding the weather. For students that are a bit older, you can try to teach them to analyze their own weather with JetStream and how to read a weather map with SciJinks!

Cumulonimbus cloud seen from 38,000 feet. Photo courtesy NWS JetStream.

Connect with the Community

Help your students become involved in ongoing citizen science projects, which are great opportunities for them to participate in Earth Science Research. Students can report precipitation with mobile devices using the mPING app, and schools can sign up to join the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS). If you are near a waterway, use the Marine Debris Toolkit for Educators to engage your students in research on global plastic pollution. For more information on a wide variety of citizen science projects, check out our recent blog that covers this topic!

Decorate your Classroom

If there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that the majority of teachers strive to decorate their classroom in ways that simultaneously stimulate learning, while also making the students feel comfortable and at ease. If your classroom is in need of an updated look, NOAA has you covered with high-resolution posters and images that you can download and print for free. For larger formats, check out these posters featuring the oceanweather, and climate. Bookmark the NOAA Satellite Image of the Day gallery for new ways to see the Earth. Scroll through the thousands of images in the NOAA Flickr library, all in the public domain.

Although we’re inching closer to the peak of hurricane season — which typically occurs in early September — GOES East spotted one of the largest plumes of Saharan dust this year blowing across the Atlantic Ocean on Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019, as Tropical Storm Dorian passed over the Lesser Antilles. Photo courtesy NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory, NOAA Photo of the Day.

Discover even more!

This is only a small sampling of the resources that exist within NOAA. We invite you to explore more of NOAA’s education websites linked below:

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