CoastLines NSF ITEST Project: A model for integrating GIS-based inquiry learning into LTER educational outreach

Poster Disciplines/Format:
Final Report (Required, .pdf format only) : 
Allison Whitmer
Nicholas Oehm
Steven Moore

The goal of the ITEST-funded CoastLines project is to facilitate efficient deployment of geographic information systems (GIS) in schools. It is accomplishing this goal by laying the foundation for sustained implementation of project strategies, materials, and technologies at three sites in the National Science Foundation’s Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) program. The five core areas of research for the LTER network—primary production, population studies, movement of organic matter, movement of inorganic matter, and disturbance patterns—provide foci for teacher and student investigations and afford connections to the curriculum taught at participating schools.

The project is iteratively building, revising, and improving a professional development model for helping K-12 teachers to use data from LTER science in authentic classroom explorations. During 2008, CoastLines introduced GIS and LTER science to thirty teachers and 30 students primarily from the Miami, Florida metropolitan region. The teachers completed 120 hours of professional development, which included twenty-five Webinars, a two-week summer institute held at Felix Verela High School, and implementation of an activity with students. The institute—which included GIS instruction, an introduction to Global Positioning System (GPS) technology and field data collection techniques, field data collection at the Florida Coastal Everglades LTER site, and practice teaching with students— was the cornerstone of the year’s activities.

After improving its professional development model during the winter of 2008-2009, CoastLines initiated its second project year with a focus on the Baltimore Ecosystem Study LTER. More than 30 teachers and 30 inner city students from Washington DC are currently using GIS and GPS to study linkages between urban watersheds and ecological conditions in Chesapeake Bay.

The purpose of this working group session is to explore extension of the CoastLines professional development model to coastal and other sites in the LTER program. Results of the first two years of the CoastLines project will be described and professional development strategies will be demonstrated.

Information about the CoastLines project and its Facebook page can be found in the working group materies.

Session Info

Working Group Session 4

Tue, 09/15/2009 - 3:00pm - 6:00pm
Longs Peak Boulder Field
Working Group Materials