Integrating Geoscience Research in Primary and Secondary Education

  • Elena B. SparrowEmail author
  • Leslie S. Gordon
  • Martha R. Kopplin
  • Rebecca Boger
  • Sheila Yule
  • Kim Morris
  • Krisanadej Jaroensutasinee
  • Mullica Jaroensutasinee
  • Kenji Yoshikawa
Part of the Innovations in Science Education and Technology book series (ISET, volume 21)


The Monitoring Seasons Through Global Learning Communities project, also known as Seasons and Biomes, engages primary and secondary students in earth system and environmental science research in the learning of science in schools. The overall goal of this inquiry- and project-based International Polar Year (IPY) project is to increase precollege students’ understanding of the earth system. This project brings together students, educators, communities, and scientists in locally and globally relevant studies and provides opportunities for students to participate in IPY activities during and beyond the fourth IPY and to contribute to earth science studies. Seasons and Biomes primary approach is through teacher professional development (PD) workshops. We developed a PD workshop model that combines earth system science content, measurement protocols, a student scientific investigation model, and best teaching practices. We conducted regional, national, and international PD workshops for educators and scientists who in turn teach their students and/or train other teachers/trainers. More than 1,400 teachers and trainers in 50 countries have participated in Seasons and Biomes PD workshops, reaching more than 21,000 students. Students also participated in global learning community projects such as Pole-to-Pole Videoconferences, the Ice e-Mystery Polar e-Book project, GS-Pals (school to school across countries, web-based discussions and collaborations facilitated by GLOBE Alumni), and Mt. Kilimanjaro expeditions (mountain trek and virtual journey). Integrating geoscience research in precollege schools has resulted in numerous student research projects as well as data contributions to ongoing studies of the earth system. Additionally, project evaluation results and evidence submitted by teachers on student learning suggest high program implementation and understanding of earth system science and the science process.


Student Understanding Teacher Professional Development National Science Education Standard Vegetation Phenology Professional Development Workshop 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



 This chapter is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under Grant Numbers. GEO-0627941 (GLOBE Seasons and Biomes), OIA-1208927 (Alaska Adapting to Changing Environments), ARC-0806465 (ARCSS-Thermokarst project), DEB 1026415 (BNZ LTER: Regional Consequences of Changing Climate-Disturbance Interactions). The opinions expressed in this chapter are those of the authors and do not reflect the opinions of the NSF. We acknowledge Jessica Robin, Elissa Levine, David Verbyla, Martin Jeffries, Margaret “Peggy” LeMone, Gary Randolph, Martos Hoffman, Mark Brettenny, and Michael O’Toole for their contributions to the project. We also acknowledge the support provided by the International Arctic Research Center, the Alaska EPSCOR Program and the Bonanza Creek Long-Term Ecological Research Program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the GLOBE Program Office, GLOBE Thailand, the Institute for the Promotion of Science and Technology in Thailand, GLOBE Estonia, the US Embassy in Estonia, GLOBE Norway, GLOBE Africa, GLOBE South Africa, GLOBE Belgium, GLOBE Croatia, GLOBE Czech Republic, GLOBE Tanzania, GLOBE Argentina, and GLOBE Germany.


  1. Assembly of Alaska Native Elders. (1998). Alaska standards for culturally responsive schools. Anchorage: Alaska Native Knowledge Network.Google Scholar
  2. Ault, T. W., Czajkowski, K. P., Benko, T., Coss, J., Struble, J., Spongberg, A., Templin, M., & Gross, C. (2006). Validation of the MODIS snow product and cloud mask using student and NWS cooperative station observations in the Lower Great Lakes Region. Remote Sensing of Environment, 105, 341–353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barstow, D., & Geary, E. (2002). Blueprint for change: Report for the national conference on the revolution in earth and space science education. Cambridge: TERC.Google Scholar
  4. Bombaugh, R., Sparrow, E., & Mal, T. (2003a). Using GLOBE plant phenology protocols to meet the national science education standards. The American Biology Teacher, 65(4), 279–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bombaugh, R., Sparrow, E., & Mal, T. (2003b). Using GLOBE’s plant phenology to monitor the growing season. Science Scope, 26(6), 20–23.Google Scholar
  6. Butler, D. M., & MacGregor, I. D. (2003). GLOBE science and education. Journal of Geoscience Education, 51, 9–20.Google Scholar
  7. Carlson, D., & Salmon, R. (2010). Prelude, the past and present of polar science. In B. Kaiser, B. Allen, & S. Zicus (Eds.), Polar science and global climate, an international resource for education and outreach (pp. 5–23). Essex: Pearson Education Limited.Google Scholar
  8. Carnevale, A., Smith, N., & Melton, M. (2011). Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Georgetown University Report on STEM. Center on Education and The Workforce Washington, DC. Accessed 24 June 2011.
  9. Darling-Hammond, L. (1997). The right to learn. San Francisco: Jossee-Bass.Google Scholar
  10. Gazal, R., White, M., Gillies, R., Rodemaker, E., Sparrow, E., & Gordon, L. (2008). GLOBE students, teachers, and scientists demonstrate variable differences between urban and rural leaf phenology along a multi-continent bioclimatic gradient. Global Change Biology, 14, 1–13. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2008.01602.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. GLOBE Program. (2012). Accessed 20 Jan 2012.
  12. GLOBE Teachers Guide. (2005). CD produced and distributed by the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Program, Boulder, CO and also available at
  13. Gonzalez, L., Keane, C., & Martinez, C. (2009). Status of the geoscience workforce, 2009. Alexandria: American Geological Institute.Google Scholar
  14. Gordon, L. (2001). Breaking new ground in Alaska: The global change education using Native knowledge and western science program. Eisenhower National Clearinghouse Focus New Horizons in Math and Science, 8(4), 12–13.Google Scholar
  15. Gordon, L., Stephens, S., & Sparrow, E. B. (2005). Applying the national science education standards in Alaska: Weaving native knowledge into teaching and learning environmental science through inquiry. In R. E. Yager (Ed.), Exemplary science: Best practices in professional development. Arlington: NSTA Press.Google Scholar
  16. Gould, A., Willard, C., & Pompea, C. (2000). The real reasons for seasons – Sun-Earth connections (LHS GEMS Great explorations in math and science). Berkeley: Lawrence Hall of Science, Berkeley: University of CA.Google Scholar
  17. Guskey, T. (2000). Evaluating professional development. Thousand Oaks: Corwin Press.Google Scholar
  18. Hoffman, M., & Barstow, D. (2007). Revolutionizing earth system science education for the 21st century, report and recommendations from a 50-state analysis of earth science education standards. Cambridge: TERC.Google Scholar
  19. Huntoon, J. E., & Lane, M. J. (2007). Diversity in the geosciences and successful strategies for increasing diversity. Journal of Geoscience Education, 55(6), 447–457.Google Scholar
  20. Loucks-Horsley, S., Hewson, P., Love, N., & Stiles, K. (1998). Designing professional development for teachers of science and mathematics. Thousand Oaks: Corwin Press.Google Scholar
  21. National Research Council (NRC). (1996). National science education standards. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  22. Penuel, W. R., Shear, L., Korbak, C., & Sparrow, E. B. (2005). The roles of regional partners in supporting an international earth science education program. Science Education (pp. 85–98). Hoboken: Wiley Periodicals Inc.Google Scholar
  23. Putnam, R., & Borko, K. (2001). What do new views of knowledge and thinking have to say about research on teacher learning? Educational Researcher, 29(1), 4–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Robin, J., Levine, E., & Riha, S. (2005). Utilizing satellite imagery and GLOBE student data to model soil dynamics. Ecological Modelling, 185, 133–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Robin, J. H., Dubaya, R., Sparrow, E., & Levine, E. (2007). Monitoring start of season in Alaska with GLOBE, AVHRR and MODIS data. Journal of Geophysical Research – Biogeosciences, 113, G01017. doi: 10.1029/2007JG000407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Sparrow, E. B. (2001). GLOBE: A new model in K-12 science education. Global Glimpses, Center for Global Change and Arctic System Research Newsletter, 9(1), 1–4.Google Scholar
  27. Sparrow, E., & Yoshikawa, K. (2012). A Community based permafrost/active layer monitoring program. In K. M. Hinkel (Ed.), Proceedings of the tenth international permafrost conference, resources and risks of permafrost areas in a changing world, Salekhard, Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District, Russia, June 25–29, 2012 (International contributions, Vol. 1, pp. 395–400). Salekhard: The Northern Publisher.Google Scholar
  28. Stephens, S. (2000). Handbook for culturally responsive science curriculum. Fairbanks: Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative.Google Scholar
  29. Stevermer, A., Geary, E., Hoffman, M., & Barstow, D. (2007). A status report on K-12 earth and space science education in the United States, 2006. Boulder: UCAR.Google Scholar
  30. White, M. A., Schwartz, M. D., & Running, S. W. (2000). Young students and satellites team up to study climate-biosphere link. Earth in Space, 12, 4–7.Google Scholar
  31. Wiersma, W. (1995). Research methods in education. Nedham Heights: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
  32. Wongkoon, S., Jaroensutasinee, M., & Jaroensutasinee, K. (2013). A web database information system for mosquito surveillance: A case study for school research projects in Thailand. Tropical Biomedicine (in press).Google Scholar
  33. Wongkoon, S., Jaroensutasinee, M., & Jaroensutasinee, K. (2013a). The mosquito online advanced analytic service: A case study for school research projects in Thailand. Southeast Asian Journal of Tropical Medicine and Public Health, 44(4) (In Press)Google Scholar
  34. Wongkoon, S., Jaroensutasinee, M., & Jaroensutasinee, K. (2013b). Distribution, seasonal variation, and dengue transmission prediction in Sisaket, Thailand. Indian Journal of Medical Research (In Press).Google Scholar
  35. Yoshikawa, K., & Sparrow, E. (2013). Engaging Alaska Communities and students in cryospheric research. In V. Tong (Ed.), Geoscience: Research-enhanced school and public outreach. London: Springer.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elena B. Sparrow
    • 1
    Email author
  • Leslie S. Gordon
    • 2
  • Martha R. Kopplin
    • 3
  • Rebecca Boger
    • 4
  • Sheila Yule
    • 5
  • Kim Morris
    • 6
  • Krisanadej Jaroensutasinee
    • 7
  • Mullica Jaroensutasinee
    • 7
  • Kenji Yoshikawa
    • 8
  1. 1.The International Arctic Research Center, The School of Natural Resources and Agricultural SciencesUniversity of Alaska FairbanksFairbanksUSA
  2. 2.Science and Math EducationGordon ConsultingNeskowinUSA
  3. 3.The International Arctic Research CenterUniversity of Alaska FairbanksFairbanksUSA
  4. 4.Earth and Environmental SciencesBrooklyn CollegeNew YorkUSA
  5. 5.Science EducationNational Energy Education Development ProjectLouisvilleUSA
  6. 6.Geophysical InstituteUniversity of Alaska FairbanksFairbanksUSA
  7. 7.Center of Excellence for Ecoinformatics, School of ScienceWalailak UniversityNakhon Si ThammaratThailand
  8. 8.Institute of Northern EngineeringUniversity of Alaska FairbanksFairbanksUSA

Personalised recommendations