NCAR Educational Activities
Education and Tour Program
Since 1986, the Education and Tour Program (ETP) has coordinated a program
providing information and interaction between NCAR staff and the
visiting public. Throughout the year students, teachers, scientific
visitors and members of the general public come to NCAR for self-guided tours or to attend presentations on the Center and its research activities. During FY 1997, an estimated 50,000 visitors toured NCAR's Mesa Lab and new Walter Orr Roberts Weather Trail; ETP staff provided guided tours to more than 11,600 of those visitors, including 7,067 students ranging from preschool through college level. This represents an increase of nearly 20% over the number of student visitors in FY 1996.
Increasing numbers of visitors, together with increasing amounts and forms of information available for visitors, led ETP staff to focus on expanding the content of services to visitors and to determine the optimal method of introducing substantive information to visiting students. The program developed a number of technology-based approaches, including multi-media to present information in ways that complement the needs of students.
The following is a sampling of programs developed and presented to visiting students during FY 1997:
Sometimes the support to one classroom or school can be developed into a resource for a much larger audience. For example:
- Two elementary school students with strong interests in science sought assistance from the ETP in the construction of a microburst model for their science fair project. The project was later displayed at NCAR for several months. In addition, the students and their project were featured at a Denver Public Schools "Science Night" program.
- After a computer graphics specialist with a special interest in Mars visited a local elementary school to talk about science and careers, the students were inspired to do a semester-long, school-wide study of every aspect of Mars. Their resulting creative designs and discoveries were displayed in the Mesa Lab lobby, which thousands of summer visitors enjoyed, in conjunction with the country's fascination with the Pathfinder spacecraft's exploration of the Martian surface.
Other in-depth educational activities, which bring enjoyment as well as learning to students include:
- An annual meteorology career day for middle school-level students who are dedicated weather watchers to show them some the many job opportunities in the atmospheric sciences. The ETP maintains contact with each student to track and support their interest in weather as they continue their education.
At UCAR's Marshall Field Site, Jeff Cole shows the students the snow measuring instruments he is currently testing.
- The 11th annual Egg Drop Contest, at which local elementary school students and scientists combine scientific investigation with creative expression. Frequently the students' successful designs outnumber NCAR's.
Students watch as their contest entries are dropped from the one of the Mesa Lab towers.
- A Day at NCAR for winners of the NCAR prizes for excellence in the atmospheric sciences, which are awarded annually at the regional science fair. One purpose of the activity is to expose these students to the variety of careers involved the enterprise of science.
1997 winners meet with Bob Serafin, Rick Anthes, and Harriet Barker.
NCAR FY96 ASR |
NCAR FY97 ASR