Developing atmospheric science tools for teachers based on research at the Pico Mountain observatory, Pico Island, Azores
Atmospheric science and climate change are becoming increasingly important, especially in education, as the Next Generation Science Standards now include climate change. A collaborating team of research scientists and students are studying the free troposphere, specifically the aerosol composition and properties, on the island of Pico in the Azores Archipelago. The research station sits in the caldera of Mount Pico, 2225 meters above sea level. At this elevation, the station is above the marine boundary layer, thus placing it in the free troposphere. In this work, collaboration between a high school Earth Science teacher and university researchers was formed with the goal of developing classroom and outreach materials regarding atmospheric science. Among the materials, a video was created containing: site and project background, explanation of some of the instruments used and candid conversations regarding science and research. The video serves several purposes, such as informing students and the general public about what is happening in the atmosphere and informing students about the importance of science and research. The video could also be used to educate the local island community and tourists. Other materials designed include data directly obtained from the project, such as measurements of aerosol particles in electron microscopy photos (which were imaged for particle morphology and size), and composition of the aerosol particles. Students can use this evidence, as well as other data, to gain a better understanding of aerosols and the overall effect they have on the climate. Students will discover this evidence as they work through a series of experiments and activities. Using the strategy of Claim-Evidence-Reasoning as a way to answer scientific questions, students will use the evidence they gathered to explain their ideas. One such question could be, 'How do aerosols affect the climate?' and the student's 'claim' is their answer to that question. In the 'evidence' portion, the student lists the evidence they gathered that supports their claim. Some evidence could include the shape of the aerosol (has it traveled a long distance or is it local), the composition (does it contain carbon or mineral dust for example), the color (does it reflect or absorb light). Finally, the student explains how their evidence relates to the claim and question in the 'reasoning' section. While learning about the atmosphere, students would also be learning about science and the importance of research.
Fall Meeting 2013
Harkness, Lorentyna M.; Mazzoleni, Lynn; Dzepina, K.; Mazzoleni, Claudio; and China, Swarup, "Developing atmospheric science tools for teachers based on research at the Pico Mountain observatory, Pico Island, Azores" (2013). Department of Chemistry Publications. 37.