SOS at National Science Teacher's Association National Conference

SOS Explorer
Showcased by ESRL at this year's conference was SOS Explorer – a new visualization engine, which can be used to create an interactive Earth for flat screen displays. It will provide teachers and students in the classroom access to a library of over 500 Science On a Sphere® datasets and movies.
March 25, 2015

The National Science Teacher’s Association (NSTA) National Conference was held this year in Chicago, Illinois during the second week of March, and educators from around the globe were in attendance offering unique sessions for teachers. In attendance and participating in sessions was NOAA Science On a Sphere® (SOS) Education Specialist, Hilary Peddicord from ESRL's Global Systems Division (GSD).

Each year NOAA has a prominent exhibit, easily identified by a large spinning mobile hanging from the ceiling announcing NOAA's line offices. NOAA's exhibit also had a wealth of resources for teachers. This year, the booth included SOS's new flat-screen classroom application, SOS ExplorerTM.

SOS Explorer is an effort by GSD's Advanced Technology and Outreach Branch/Exploratory Visualization and Outreach Section to bridge the gap between SOS Systems, which are typically found only in museums and science centers, and classroom teachers. With the adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards, comes a whole host of standards that urge teachers to practice science discourse and teach students how to construct explanations based on evidence for changes in the Earth's systems.

Peddicord offered sessions for the Natural Resources, Natural Partnerships conference theme entitled, "Don’t Tell, Let Them Inquire: Teaching Climate Science Through Data" co-taught with Dr. Deborah Morrison of the University of Colorado’s Learn More About Climate and "NOAA SOS: Earth and Space Science Data Visualizations in the Classroom," co-taught with Eric Hackathorn, part of the SOS ExplorerTM development team.

Teachers have expressed difficulty in finding appropriate resources for up-to-date data, especially regarding climate change, and repositories for lessons and supplementary materials. Science On a Sphere® global visualizations display a massive amount of data and information, which allow students and teachers to rapidly digest important global trends like the decline of Arctic sea ice and the increase in global surface temperatures.

"Our hope is that teachers from around the globe will take advantage of the wealth of data and information that SOS ExplorerTM will provide," says Peddicord, "including datasets across NOAA and from NOAA's partners."

SOS ExplorerTM is still in development and is set to be released in the Fall of 2015.