Sixth Grade Science Ramping up Contrail Tracking

Dr. Caryn Long’s sixth grade classes are embarking on the second year of recording data using NASA’s GLOBE app as part of a research project that provides data for scientists all over the world. Students are collecting and uploading environmental data daily through specific protocols to provide information that is used in research by scientists all over the world.
“I'm very excited to continue this partnership with NASA in order to benefit not only our students at MVA by allowing them to participate to develop their scientific observation skills, but knowing we all are contributing to improve the data necessary to monitor our Earth's health,” said Dr. Long. “By contributing these observations our citizen scientists practice real scientific skills which makes their learning relevant. Our students understand complex and abstract concepts about meteorology and atmospheric phenomena far better than if they were just studying it in a book.”
The program began last year and is again partnering with Marilé Colón Robles, Project Scientist for NASA GLOBE Cloud, and picking up where it left off. The Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) program is described on the website as a “science and education program to connect students, teachers and scientists from around the world to better understand Earth as a system.” Through GLOBE, Dr. Long and her students learn and use protocols to collect scientific data using the GO app to help monitor, analyze and report local cloud patterns.
Sixth grade students make daily observations as part of their homework so they cover a broader area, there is even one student participating via distance learning who is in Dubai. They observe north, south, east, and west; take photos of clouds and contrails in the sky; make note of temperature; and record the information in the app. Students capture the ground information, while the Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO), captures measurements from the sky down. According to NASA, CALIPSO is a joint mission between NASA and the French space agency, CNES, that uses laser pulses to measure clouds and atmospheric aerosols capture data from the atmosphere down, providing an incredibly accurate record of weather. The data stored in the app is valuable to scientists because they can accurately record the ground truth and validate it with the airline height to make readings incredibly precise.

Mrs. Colón Robles and her team shared their research at the annual American Geophysical Union, which is the largest scientific global meeting in the world, and was surprised and proud of the attention that their display earned "Dr. Long’s sixth grade students are collecting observations that are unique and hard to obtain from any other scientific dataset. The impact these students are making to the research community is just starting and so far has caused a huge impact already. I am so proud of these students and delighted that Montverde Academy lets students do real science alongside NASA,." said Mrs. Colón Robles

We look forward to seeing what this continued partnership with NASA brings!