UNC Prof Involved in NASA Grants Totaling $1.1M

A University of Northern Colorado faculty member in involved in two NASA grant-funded projects totaling more than $1.1 million.

Steven Anderson, Ph.D., was awarded a three-year, $410,000 NASA grant to establish a research program for teachers interested in climate change. The Earth Sciences professor and director of UNC's Math and Science Teaching Institute (MAST) will also partner on another $730,000 NASA project to offer professional development opportunities for elementary and middle school teachers.

For the first project, MAST and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research in Boulder will collaborate to establish the Global Climate Change Research Experiences for Teachers Institute.

Two groups of teachers will work with the institute at one of the nation's premier research sites to develop curriculum for incorporating into classrooms advanced concepts of global climate change. The institute will share curriculum developed during the program and work with MAST to provide support for teachers nationwide who want to use the curriculum. Lori Reinsvold, also of MAST, is a co-investigator on the project and will lead efforts to assess the effectiveness of the program.

For the second NASA grant, Anderson will work with the Planetary Science Institute and the Tucson (Ariz.) Regional Science Center to offer a series of professional development workshops for elementary and middle school teachers within the Tucson region and create a series of instructional rock kits for independent use and in support of the workshops.

In addition, state-of-the-art scientific visualizations will be created to help teach key concepts in Earth and space science. An interactive web-based tool will be set up for students, teachers and the public to communicate directly with Planetary Science Institute scientists.

Anderson, who has also been working on a $60,000 NASA grant to help understand the evolution of volcanoes on Mars, specializes in the relationships between teaching and learning in the geosciences, and the formation of lava flows on the Earth, Mars and Venus.

Funded primarily by the NSF and NASA, his work has resulted in numerous publications. As MAST director, he facilitates partnerships and collaborations that positively impact science and mathematics education on a regional and national level.