Our changing global climate has been linked to increased use of carbon-based fuels and other activities by humans. Increasing greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, are changing the balance between incoming solar energy and outgoing energy. The complexity of the relationships involved, often subtle changes people have perceived to date, and difficulties in addressing the global problem, make the topic difficult to understand and sometimes controversial. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) seeks to improve public understanding through incorporating climate change principles into elementary and high school education. Many of NASA's spacecraft are satellites that image earth. These satellites provide myriad images that can be used to characterize changes in earth's ecosystems related to its changing climate

NASA's interest in improving science content in education dovetails well with needs in our area. In northern Colorado, only 59% of White students and 21% of Hispanic students in 8th and 10th grades scored proficient or above on standardized science tests. Student enrollment and graduation rates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics majors are low.

The NC-GCCE project is a collaboration between:

  • Colorado State University ecosystem scientists and education staff
  • Poudre and Weld County District 6 high school and middle school teachers and their students
  • Teachers in Residence at Colorado State University
  • Colorado State University Graduate Student
  • Poudre Learning Center education staff

Module Development
The pre-quel and all four modules are aligned with both the state of Colorado and national science standards.

Year 2 (2011): Two modules and assessments developed, and a third being modified to include the High Park Fire

  • NASA Pre-quel : Introduction to Remote Sensing and Electromagnetic Energy
  • Earth's Energy Budget
  • Fire Ecology - Version 1 is under further development

Year 3 (2012): Three modules and assessments developed

  • How Does Climate Change Impact the Earth's Four Spheres?
  • Climate Change, Past and Present
  • Oceans, Ice and Climate Change

Year 4 (2013) : One module and assessments currently under development

  • Fire Ecology - Version 2

Melissa Vigil, Lead Teacher from Fossil Ridge High School, explains the NASA modules to implementation teachers from the Poudre and Weld County School 6 School Districts.