Hawkins Students Research For GLOBE
By EMILY GUEVARA
Katlyn Dunn already enjoyed science, but this past school year she got to take her love for that subject a little further.
The 12-year-old was among more than 60 Hawkins Middle School sixth-graders who contributed to scientific research on a global scale as part of The GLOBE Program's From Learning to Research project.
"With the project, me and my friend Cassidy ... we got to study clouds," Katlyn said. "Everybody had a different subject and we all had to teach the class what the subject was. ... I had a lot of fun with that because I did not have any idea that there were so many different clouds and the difference between a storm and a regular day cloud it was so awesome."
The Hawkins students sought to answer the question, "Do the changes in climate affect the timing of budburst of trees?"
Students selected three trees and tried to figure out when theirs buds were going to burst. They considered how temperature and humidity might affect the tree's growth.
The class hypothesized that bud bursting would occur earlier in warmer years and years with more moisture, according to a video about their project. Students daily measured soil and air temperatures and precipitation. They also checked the pH levels of water in a nearby pond.
"We collected a lot of data this year proving our hypothesis correct," one student said in a video about their project.
Participating teachers were Hawkins Middle School sixth-grade science teacher Audra Edwards, seventh- and eighth-grade science teacher Lisa Langford, and high school biology teacher Kim Walker.
Ms. Edwards said the students really responded to the project because they were participating in research that actual scientists were looking at. She said through the project, students learned about climate and weather, research and science investigation.
"It was great just watching the kids get excited about doing something like that," said Ms. Edwards, who was recognized by The GLOBE Program for excellent work. "The anticipation and excitement (they had about) getting to go out of the classroom, get outside and do things."
The From Learning to Research Project is part of The GLOBE Program's Student Climate Research Campaign.
Funded by a National Science Foundation grant, it is designed to establish a successful model for interaction among students, teachers and scientists using 21st century technologies, according to a GLOBE program website.
The program's primary goals include equipping teachers to better engage students in Earth system science research, exposing teachers and students to Earth science careers, and allowing students to experience Earth system science research through interactions with scientists around the world.
"One of the amazing things about GLOBE is that students and teachers from around the world are part of the program," Julie Malmberg, GLOBE science and education project manager, wrote in an email. "Students connect both with their community through science projects and with students and scientists worldwide who are contributing to global studies of the environment."
The Hawkins project will continue this year with the next class of sixth-graders collecting data, Ms. Edwards said.
In addition, a new group of teachers will participate in GLOBE's From Learning to Research program next school year. GLOBE has selected 44 teachers from 30 schools in 18 states to be a part of it.