GLOBE students in France, U.S. meet via video conferences

Connecting with students across the globe, Felten Middle School students have been learning about a global environmental science project called, appropriately enough, GLOBE (Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment).

They have also been communicating with international students with the help of Dr. Paul Adams, Anschutz Professor of Education at Fort Hays State University. Adams is a GLOBE partner and the director of FHSU's Science and Math Education Center.

Felten Middle School students have been focusing on CALIPSO (cloud-aerosol lidar and infrared pathfinder satellite observation) a satellite launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompoc, Calif., on April 28, 2006. The students of T.J. Trout's class have been collecting and reporting GLOBE data, including observations on air temperature, clouds, contrails, precipitation, aerosols and water vapor. Across the globe, students from the College La Chenaie, Mouans Sartoux, France, have also been taking measurements and reporting their data.

"This puts an application to science and lets students see that science crosses earth science, chemistry and physics, and that science isn't just an individual topic," said Trout. "This way, they see that it's being used somewhere in the science field or community and they're actually contributing to something. It gives them more of a look at the big picture."

Adams met Trout during one of his summer workshops. They discussed the value of connecting French and American students through the study of the ambitious satellite project launched by the two countries, and Adams began working for a collaboration between the two classes. The video conference resulted. It was held in English with French translation provided by Dr. Sandra Milburn of Hampton University, Hampton, Va.

A second video conference was held with Hays High School students. Dr. M. Patrick McCormick, co-principal investigator of CALIPSO, gave a presentation about the mission and the importance of collecting aerosol data and using the GLOBE protocols. The students had an opportunity to ask questions of one another about the cultural differences between France and the United States.

Kathy Rome's sixth-grade students at Otis-Bison Middle School participated in a third video conference. Rome's sixth, seventh- and eighth-grade students have been collecting date with GLOBE for eight years.

"It is a great experience and we are planning on connecting with the French students again," said Rome.

This conference focused on discussing GLOBE measurements, geography and climate differences. The recent tornado in Greensburg turned the discussion personal. The French students said they have very little experience with violent weather. The Otis-Bison students shared their experiences with tornadoes and thunderstorms and safety procedures during dangerous weather.

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