ESRL Global Systems Division

SOS Teacher Workshops: Hands-On Data-Driven Activities on Flash Floods

As we approach the one-year anniversary of the historic Colorado Floods on September 12, 2014, Hilary Peddicord, an Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL)/Global Systems Division (GSD)/Science On a Sphere® (SOS) Education Specialist, is preparing for a second round of teacher workshops to support Boulder Valley School District teachers with lesson plans for educating students about flash floods. This project is a collaboration with UCAR's education program and CIRES, and is funded by NOAA. These workshops will begin this month.

The workshops provide hands-on materials for educating teachers, as well as presentations by experts in the field. The materials include NOAA's SOS Explorer (a new tool developed at GSD for classroom education and used to showcase GOES IR imagery, provide access to SOS data sets, and allow a unique viewing capability of the Earth System), UCAR's new Flash Flood Teaching Box (a curated collection of online learning activities and resources),flood plain maps, weather storm totals, and climatological records.

In previous workshops, presentations by flood experts have included Kelly Mahoney, an ESRL/Physical Sciences Division (PSD) scientist, detailing the September 2013 flood as it compared to other historic floods, and Robert Glancy, a National Weather Service (NWS)/Boulder-Denver Forecast Office meteorologist, giving a summary of the atmospheric conditions that produced the 500-year rain event that caused the extensive flooding.

The educational activities, led by GSD and its collaborators, and with the use of SOS, are having a positive impact on science curricula in Boulder County schools. As an example, using the knowledge they gained through the workshops, teachers at Centennial Middle School in Boulder will be launching their flash flood educational series for their eighth grade students on the anniversary of the September 12, 2013 floods.

For more information on SOS educational efforts, visit

Contact information
Name: John P. Schneider
Tel: 303-497-4646