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Missouri Environmental Education News
March 2018

Table of Contents: MEEA at Interface, Things to Look Out for in March, MEEA News, Grants, Contests and Awards, Conferences, Workshops, Jobs, Feature MEEA Resource: Cloud ID Guide

MEEA at Interface

Teachers collecting weather data at Interface
Teachers in the Weather Math and Science Session collect Weather Data

by: Jan Weaver, MEEA Executive Director

Jan at Asilomar

The Interface Conference is the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's annual professional development event for Math and Science Teachers. Interface A serves K-5th grade teachers and Interface B serves 6th-12th grade teachers.

Each year for the past several years MEEA has participated as a presenter at both sessions. This year MEEA's topics were weather (for K-5) and climate change (for 6-12).

Weather Math and Science covered Missouri Learning Standards (MLS) related to Earth and Space Science (ESS) 2D Weather and Climate

The first three standards were covered in the first activity - collecting and making use of weather data. Teachers took measurements of temperature, cloud cover, cloud type, recent precipitation, wind direction, wind speed, and air pressure and recorded them in a data collection form. Then they plugged some of the data (cloud type, wind direction and air pressure) into a model to forecast the weather. We discussed the logistics of having students collect weather data over several months (a weather team!) and using the data to graph and describe changes in weather over time.

The fourth standard was covered using global and Missouri climate maps to compare and contrast Missouri's climate with that of other parts of the world. In the global map, geographic regions were color coded by whether they were tropical, dry, temperate, continental, or polar, and then by if and when they had a dry season and how hot or cold the summer was. After determining the colors that characterized Missouri, teachers looked for other places on the global map with similar colors and discussed what plants, animals and crops might do well in those places. The Missouri maps offered a more detailed look at what Missouri's climate is like.

The session wrapped up with advice on teaching about climate change in the early grades. Don't. In the MLS, the topic isn't even mentioned until Middle School. Responsible environmental education takes care not to introduce topics that can be scary to young learners. In practice, if you are going to teach about any scary stuff, you should also be able to present strategies that learners that age can use to address the issue in a substantive way. This doesn't mean you can't teach about things that reduce carbon dioxide, like walking or biking instead of taking a car, it just should not be in the context of global warming.

The thing that students this age should learn is that data matters. By collecting weather data every day over a long period of time, a teacher can develop their students' confidence in high quality data and their conviction that claims have to be based on evidence. This is the most important thing for students to learn, and it will serve them the rest of their lives.

Visit Weather Math and Science for a more complete description of the activities and links to handouts and how-tos on the tools.

Visit MEEA's Interface Presentation on Climate Change Math and Science to see some ways to teach older students about climate change. Did you know scientists had discovered that CO2 could absorb heat as early as 1861? Or that they could estimate how much heat the CO2 in the atmosphere absorbed by 1896? ...By measuring how much of the Moon's heat was absorbed by our atmosphere? Did you know that the earth "breathes" in CO2 in the summer and "breathes" it out in the winter (in the northern hemisphere), and we have had the data to prove it since the 1960s?

 

Things to Look for (or Look Out for) in March

Things are really picking up!

Check out all the 2018 Green Holidays.

What to Look for Right Now - MDC's list of What's Out There in March!

MEEA News

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Coming Up in the Next Two Months

(These count for Environmental Educator Certification categories 1, 2 or 3. Visit the EE Certification page here)

EE Jobs more info here

 

Feature MEEA Resource: Cloud ID Guide

A one-page guide to the principle types of clouds (there are many more kinds) associated with particular weather systems. Click on the image to download the document.

Cloud Types

 

 

 

 

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