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Fifth grade students at Longmont Estates had the opportunity to visit NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, for an off-site learning excursion before spring break. One of LEE’s 5th grade teachers, Emily Burnham, received a grant from the St. Vrain Education Foundation to cover the cost of transportation for the trip and a laptop to run specific software from NOAA’s Science on a Sphere program. Ms. Burnham attended a workshop at NOAA in the summer of 2015 to learn about the program. She learned how to implement it into her classroom and integrate it with the 5th grade Earth Science standards.
During the trip, the students were very engaged in learning about different career opportunities at NOAA. NOAA works closely with NASA, and houses the National Weather Service in their building. Learning how these agencies work together was an eye-opener for students and chaperones. When asked what she wondered about during the trip, one young lady said, “I wonder if I should be a person who works at NOAA?” Students were able to observe the various tools used to monitor weather and geologic activity all over the Earth. In the Space Weather Prediction Center, they also had the chance to see what’s happening on the Sun and how solar flares affect what happens on Earth.
After a few short hours, the 5th graders had gained a new understanding of the wide variety of careers that are STEM-related. They enjoyed being able to apply their knowledge from using the 2D Science on the Sphere in the classroom, to seeing the 3D sphere in action at NOAA. Students were also able to see and touch the weather instruments they learned about in class. Overall, it was a wonderful opportunity for students to apply the knowledge they acquired during science class this year in a tangible way.