Earth Camp: Exploring Earth Change through the Use of Satellite Images and Scientific Practices
Earth Camp is a NASA-funded program that gives students and teachers opportunities to explore local, regional, and global earth change through a combination of hands-on investigations and the use of satellite images. Each summer, 20 middle school and 20 high school students participate in a two-week leadership program investigating contemporary issues (e.g., changes in river sheds, water quality, and land use management) through hands-on investigations, analyzing remote sensing data, and working with experts. Each year, 20 teachers participate in a year-long professional development program that includes monthly workshops, field investigations on Mt. Lemmon in Tucson, Arizona, and a week-long summer design workshop. Teachers conduct investigations of authentic questions using satellite images and create posters to present results of their study of earth change. In addition, teachers design lesson plans to expand their students’ ability to investigate earth change with 21st Century tools. Lessons can be used as classroom exercises or for after-school club programs. Independent evaluation has been an integral part of program development and delivery for all three audiences, enabling the program staff and participants to reflect on and continually improve their practice and learning over the three–year period.