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Africa Initiative: EO Resources and Activities. Roberta Johnson UCAR Director of Education and Outreach. EO Resources. Numerous educational resources, in the form of lesson plans (hundreds), supporting background information, demonstrations - available mainly through websites Project LEARN

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africa initiative eo resources and activities

Africa Initiative:EO Resources and Activities

Roberta Johnson

UCAR Director of Education and Outreach

eo resources
EO Resources
  • Numerous educational resources, in the form of lesson plans (hundreds), supporting background information, demonstrations - available mainly through websites
    • Project LEARN
    • Web Weather for Kids
    • Windows to the Universe
    • NCAR Education and Outreach Website (Educators Bridge, Kids Crossing)
  • Activities/demonstrations hands-on (cheap materials) or computer-based
  • Some bilingual (English and Spanish)
  • Topics spanning the Earth and space sciences
  • On-line courses on Climate and Global Change/Modeling in the Geosciences in development
  • Monthly newsletter (through W2U) currently reaches ~3830 teachers in 118 countries
W2U reaches over 13 million visitors per year

3 levels of content

~65% K-12 students

46% once per week or more

NSF-supported Spanish translation, >15,000 users per day

~1.24 million visits to Teacher Resources section in past 12 months

In March – May 2006

Over 4,500 visits per day in Teacher Resources

~300 pages/day in magnetism Teacher Resources section

Spans the Earth and space sciences, with arts and humanities connections

Integrated classroom activities, interactives, and models for users

Includes extensive background content on Earth sciences, as well as fundamental physics

Professional development for ~1400 teachers per year at NSTA and other venues

Windows to the Universe Website

National Science



Mapping Ancient Coastlines Classroom Activity

the climate discovery teacher s guide
The Climate Discovery Teacher’s Guide

Designed for use in middle school classrooms

Multi-lesson instructional units include:

  • Sun-Earth Connection
  • Investigating Climate Present: Cycles of the Earth System
  • Investigating Climate Future (Coming soon!)
  • Investigating Climate Past: The Little Ice Age Case Study

All classroom activities are available online:

UCAR Office of Education and Outreach, Boulder, CO,


Example #1:

Trees: Recorders of Climate Change

  • Students examine tree x-sections to discover how age can be determined from rings and how ring thickness can be used to determine times of optimum growing conditions.
  • Then students investigate simulated tree cores to explore how climate varied during the LIA.

The simulated tree cores used in this activity were developed based on the the results of Briffa et al. (2001) which used ring patterns of 387 trees to interpret temperature variations over 600 years.

UCAR Office of Education and Outreach, Boulder, CO,

example 2 blooming thermometers
Example #2: Blooming Thermometers

Students develop an understanding of the relationship between natural phenomena, weather, and climate change.

Students brainstorm a list of phenomena that change with the seasons.

Students plot and interpret average bloom data data from Japanese cherry trees over the past 1100 years.

Mean bloom dates by century from Arakawa (1956)

UCAR Office of Education and Outreach, Boulder, CO,

General Science Activities and Writing in the Science Classroom
  • Snapshot Exercise A great activity to use on field trips or class outings - have students write a "snapshot" of their experience.
  • The Scientist Project Students research a given scientist and then present interviews to the class.
  • Using Current Event Articles in the Science Classroom Various ideas for using current event articles in your classroom.
  • Back to top
  • The Solar System
  • Clay Planets Using clay models to learn about the solar system
  • Great Planetary Debate Students research a given body in the solar system and then defend their planet or moon in a Great Debate!
  • I don't know my solar system. . .please ex-planet! An activity that leads students in researching a given planet or moon of the solar system
  • Lunar Lollipops Learn the phases of the Moon!
  • The Magnetometer Build your own magnetometer, use this to learn about planetary magnetic fields.
  • Terrabagga Activity Use a homemade magnetometer instrument to learn about planetary magnetic fields.
  • Windows to the Universe Scavenger Hunt Questions that have students explore the Space Missions, Solar System and Sun section of the Windows to the Universe site
  • A Solar System Coloring Book A ready-to-use coloring book applet!
  • Back to top
  • Atmosphere and Weather
  • Create a Tornado Create a tornado in a bottle!
  • Create Your Own Cloud A cloud activity
  • Create Your Own Fog An activity on making fog
  • Create Your Own Lightning An activity on making lightning
  • Create Your Own Thermometer An activity on making a thermometer starting with a straw
  • Introduction to Ozone Reading Activity An article to read with an accompanying worksheet for students
  • Latent Heat and Clouds A hands-on exploration of latent heat and its relation to clouds...
  • Let's Make Oxygen Show the presence of oxygen and how to burn steel...
  • Make it Rain! A rain activity
  • Shadows... Shadows and their relationship to the time of day/season
  • Three Clouds Activity One demonstration and two hands-on activities - all about clouds!
  • Thunder and Lightning A simple activity
  • Watch the Sky A great activity to get your students thinking about what they see in the sky
  • Weather and Careers Exercise A lesson that looks at how weather affects different jobs
  • Weather Crossword Puzzle A reading and puzzle exercise available at three levels
  • Back to top

0.35% of visits to

  • W2U from Africa
  • 13.6 million visits from around the world
discussions with unesco
Discussions with UNESCO
  • We have been in discussions with Dr. Orlando Hall Rose (Chief, Section for Science and Technology Education, UNESCO) and Dr. Diileep Bhagwut regarding W2U since early 2005
    • Use in Latin America and other countries around the world (other languages)
    • Web resource and professional development
      • Easy to use format, requiring comparatively limited training, easy to implement activities, minimal/zero materials cost, comprehensive scope of resources across Earth and space sciences with arts/humanities connections
  • Visit to UNESCO Paris Offices in April 2005
  • Invitation to UNESCO meeting in Chile in July 2005
  • Invitation to subsequent UNESCO sponsored meetings around the world (Lesotho, Kuwait, Egypt, Cuba, Trinidad/Tobago, Kenya, Nepal, Ethiopia, Peru)
  • Parallel discussions with InterAmerican Development Bank and partnering institutions in Latin America on web-based curriculum development
7 4 06 message from carl katsu 1 from uganda
7/4/06 – Message from Carl Katsu1 from Uganda

“I spent four days last week in a small private school in a little dusty village called Ibanda, in the south of Uganda.”

“Electricity was unreliable, so although everyone had electric wiring in their brick, or adobe homes, they cooked and heated water by wood fire, and lit the place up with kerosene lanterns at night. Outside of the cities, water is hard to come by.”

“Yet getting people to keep clean is a national priority, washing hands before and after eating and using the toilet is becoming a habit among most people.”

“The school in Ibanda … is a private high school started five years ago... It is a small school (500 students) with very crude facilities by our standards. …most of the schools I saw … around the country are not much better off…We talked with the teachers, looked at the national curricula (very impressive, more rigorous than the curricula in most school districts in the U.S.A…), taught a lesson to the 10th graders (100 of them all in one large room), gathered the boarding students (about 180 of them, grades 8-11) for an evening astronomy lesson, and made list of materials I have available or can get from NASA, NOAA, USGS, etc. free of charge to send them once I get home. There are sometimes as many as one hundred students in one classroom, but they are taught to be well-behaved and quiet so all can here the lesson. Correcting papers is an awesome chore for the teachers here because their class sizes are so large. They have national end-of-term exams each student must pass to be promoted.”

“I have come to think of Ugandans (and other third world inhabitants) as not much different than Americans, just placed in a different setting. They have the same awareness of the world’s problems and tensions, the same ideas and plans for increasing their economic well-being (they just start at a much lower degree).”

1 Past President, National Earth Science Teachers Association