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May 3, 2010

UW receives NASA grant to bring climate science course to Washington state high schools

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has awarded the University of Washington (UW) a $448,000 grant for development, implementation and evaluation of a climate science course to be offered to high schools throughout the state.The course incorporates cutting edge NASA-sponsored research done at UW and is the latest offering by which the university seeks to inspire high school students and prepare them for college study in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, mathematics).

The climate science course will be available to high schools participating in the UW in the High School (UWHS) program. UWHS is designed to help strengthen upper-division high school offerings and give students a head start on college. Students complete these UW courses – and earn UW credit – in their own classrooms with their own teachers (who work with a UW academic liaison). Offerings include English composition, history, languages, mathematics and sciences. In 2009, more than 2,500 students in 60 schools throughout Washington state were enrolled in a UWHS course. UWHS is administered by UW Educational Outreach, the UW’s primary professional and continuing education unit.

The two-year grant project is called “Earth Observations and the Learning of Climate Science, Math and Technology in the High Schools: Partnership of NASA Science with High School Teachers and Learners.” In year one, 10 high school teachers will receive professional development to acquaint them with the latest research in climate science and work with UW scientists on preparing and delivering the UW course in the classroom. In year two, those high school teachers will form a leadership group to disseminate project knowledge and materials to colleagues. A second cohort of 10 teachers will also be trained.

The $448,000 grant covers both direct and indirect costs of course development. Project team leaders are Dr. LuAnne Thompson, grant principal investigator and professor, UW School of Oceanography, and co-principal investigator Dr. Thomas Ackerman, director, Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean (JISAO) and professor, UW Atmospheric Sciences. They are working in collaboration with the UW Department of Atmospheric Sciences and UW Program on Climate Change.

Washington state K-12 partners include the Kent School District, Toppenish School District, Marysville School District, Gonzaga Prep, Everett School District and the Environmental and Sustainability Education Program at the Washington state Office of  the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI).

About UW Educational Outreach

UW Educational Outreach (UWEO) is a professional and continuing education unit of the University of Washington (UW), the nationally ranked public research institution based in Seattle, Washington. UWEO partners with the UW academic units to offer master's degrees, certificate programs, short courses, and more in addition to programs for youth, K-12 teachers, international outreach and English language programs.

About UW Program on Climate Change

UW Program on Climate Change (PCC) is an interdisciplinary program in climate science that strives to integrate education, research and outreach activities on campus.  The program brings together UW's world-renowned departments and institutes in all the geophysical sciences for a truly interdisciplinary immersion in the latest findings and ideas from paleoclimate to sea-ice to clouds to chemistry to rocks to ecosystems to human impacts, policy and solutions. The UW PCC offers a Graduate Certificate in Climate Science (GCeCS) to provide participants an interdisciplinary training in methods, research issues and communication of climate science.


Dr. LuAnne Thompson
Professor, UW School of Oceanography or 206-543-9965

Dr. Thomas Ackerman
Director, Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean
Professor, UW Atmospheric Sciences or 206-221-2767

Dr. Miriam Bertram
Program Operations Coordinator, UW School of Oceanography or 206-543-6521

Tim Stetter
Manager, UW in the High School or 206-221-6223

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