Promoting Scientific Literacy in the Nation's Schools:

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AMS Educational Initiatives

Today's Science Education Challenges

  • Human - environment interactions and impacts, local to global scale
  • A growing, highly competitive world economy
  • Worldwide spread of technology and information access

Meeting the Challenges

To help young people face these challenges, the American Meteorological Society (AMS) conducts programs primarily directed towards teachers to encourage educational activity promoting interest and literacy in science, mathematics, and technology at the pre-college(K-12) level. In recognition of the under-representation of certain groups in the Earth system sciences, AMS education programs incorporate a special AMS/NOAA initiative to promote minority participation in science.

To date, over 100,000 teachers have received training and instructional resources which have benefited millions of students.

Why AMS Conducts Educational Activity

  • Weather and climate impact all of society and the ocean affects the whole world
  • Young people's fascination with weather and the ocean provides strong motivation to learn
  • Earth system studies provide learning opportunities for students regardless of ability, age, gender, and cultural/ethnic background
  • These sciences have pioneered the use of Information-Age technology and skills
  • They use the most modern technology, including satellites and super computers

Goal of the AMS Education Program

The AMS goal is that all students become scientifically literate enabling them to lead satisfying and productive lives as contributing members of a democratic society. To help attain this goal, the AMS:

  • provides up-to-date teacher training,
  • produces instructional resource materials,
  • conducts activities to make the information highway an avenue for learning,
  • promotes minority participation in science.

How the AMS Promotes Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Hydrologic Educational Activity

  • Actively encourages scientists, science educators, and teachers to work together
  • Provides training for K-12 teachers, and produces instructional resource materials
  • Prepares teachers to be peer trainers
  • Empowers teachers as change agents in local, state, and national curriculum reform

The AMS Approach to Attaining Scientific Literacy

  • The AMS believes scientific literacy starts with well-trained teachers supplied with quality instructional resource materials
  • AMS education programs include leadership development
  • AMS teacher-leaders promote educational reform at local, state, and national levels
  • AMS programs promote educational reform aligned with National Science Education Standards and the No Child Left Behind Act.

AMS Educational Partnerships

  • AMS educational initiatives are based on partnerships
  • Governmental, academic, and private sector partners work together in teacher training and educational materials development
  • Teachers and scientists act as colleagues, beginning in workshops held at the National Weather Service Training Center and at the US Naval Academy

Major funding has been provided by the National Science Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the US Navy, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

AMS/NOAA Cooperative Program for Earth System Education (CPESE)

CPESE is a major collaboration between AMS and NOAA, designed to enhance public understanding of the fluid Earth system emphasizing the atmospheric, oceanic, and hydrologic sciences and to promote activity that will result in greater human resource diversity in these sciences. CPESE assists NOAA in the advancement of its goals directed towards environmental assessment and prediction, protection of life and property, and the fostering of global environmental stewardship. CPESE nurtures this synergy between NOAA and the users of its products and services, through pre-college teacher, introductory undergraduate, and general educational activity.

Current AMS Educational Initiatives

A major component of the AMS K-12 educational initiatives is the AMS Education Resource Agents (AERA) Program. AERAs are specially trained pre-college teachers and science educators who:

  • act as points of contact for teachers seeking information on meteorological, hydrologic, and/or oceanographic topics,
  • act as liaison among teachers, schools, teacher organizations, and scientists,
  • participate in the development and implementation of instructional materials.
  • act as Local Implementation Team leaders, alongside college and professional scientists, for one or more of AMS' distance-learning DataStreme courses for pre-college teachers.


Project ATMOSPHERE promotes studies in the atmospheric sciences in elementary and secondary schools. Project ATMOSPHERE:

  • conducts a two-week pre-college teacher workshop each summer at the National Weather Service Training Center, Kansas City, Missouri to prepare peer trainers on atmospheric topics,
  • contributes to the national network of AMS Education Resource Agents (AERAs),
  • produces and implements instructional resource materials.

For further information see:

The Maury Project

The Maury Project is a pre-college teacher enhancement program which focuses on the physical foundations of oceanography. Major components of the program include:

  • developing a cadre of master oceanographic education resource teachers who provide peer training throughout the country,
  • disseminating and implementing Project-developed instructional resource materials directed towards teachers.

The key component of the Maury Project is a two-week workshop held each summer at the US Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland. The workshop prepares teachers to be peer trainers.

For further information see:

The DataStreme Atmosphere Project

The DataStreme Atmosphere Project is a major pre-college teacher enhancement initiative. It trains resource teachers who promote the teaching of weather across the K-12 curriculum.

The DataStreme Atmosphere Project's foundation is a distance-learning course offered nationally twice each school year through Local Implementation Teams. This course guides teachers through the study of the atmosphere in near-real time based on Internet-delivered information. About 400 teachers complete the course each year. They, in turn, have peer-trained tens of thousands more and impacted millions of students.

For further information see:

DataStreme WES Project

The DataStreme WES (Water in the Earth System) Project centers on a distance-learning course with online components, which incorporates inquiry-based instructional strategies and a holistic concept of Earth from oceanic, atmospheric and terrestrial water and problem-focused perspectives. The course investigates the mass and energy flows associated with the global water cycle, and with related issues. It is offered nationally to nearly 400 teachers each year.

For further information see:

DataStreme Ocean Project

DataStreme Ocean focuses on the ocean in the earth system. Its design and goals are consistent with the other DataStreme teacher enhancement courses. The most recent of the DataStreme suite of courses, it trains 400 teachers each year.

For further information see:

Online Weather Studies and Online Ocean Studies

The AMS views introductory college-level science courses to be important avenues for promoting scientific literacy. Additionally, it is from such courses that future teachers often receive their college-level training in the sciences.

The AMS offers Online Weather Studies and Online Ocean Studies, turn-key courses with electronic and printed components. Each course focuses on the study of the weather and ocean respectively by utilizing Internet-delivered learning materials. The courses are available for licensing by colleges and universities. Inquiries are invited from academic departments and offices of distance and/or continuing education.

For further information see:

Enhancing Diversity in the Geosciences

The national dissemination of the Online Weather Studies and Online Ocean Studies courses is the focus of a major AMS effort to provide students at minority-serving institutions with greater opportunities to study weather and climate. Through support from the National Science Foundation's Course, Curriculum and Laboratory Improvement – Dissemination (CCLI-ND) and Opportunities for Enhancing Diversity in the Geosciences (OEDG) programs, these courses have already been introduced to over 150 minority-serving institutions. Details can be found via the Online Studies website addresses above.

International Education Activity

AMS actively promotes science literacy worldwide. Professional meteorological and oceanographic societies in Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom have sponsored teachers coming to the AMS programs. Also, educators from Argentina, Croatia, Japan, Mexico, South Africa, Belize, St. Maarten and Switzerland have attended AMS summer workshops. Canada has adapted Project ATMOSPHERE materials for nationwide use.

AMS Fellowships and Scholarships

The AMS offers approximately 50 minority and other undergraduate scholarships, and graduate fellowships to future meteorologists, hydrologists, oceanographers, and climatologists each year.

For further information see:

Education Program
American Meteorological Society
1120 G St., NW, Ste 800, Washington, DC 20005
Tel: 202-737-1043 Fax: 202-737-0445

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