Georgia Intern Fellowships for Teachers (GIFT)

Dr. E. Di Lorenzo worked together with a 6th grade Earth Science teacher at Dacula Middle School. Morris has been learning about ocean tides and creating visual models of the ocean tides on the computer as well as researching some of the oceanographic resources available on the web that could be useful for K-12 education. Their project was devoted to talks about the ocean, the science, the hot topics, the important questions, and an overview of mainstream research areas dealing with the ocean.

Dr. E. Ingall and his graduate student, Cynthia Vance-Harris Hall, are working with two high school teachers and four of their students from Cedar Grove High School in Dekalb county as part of the GIFT program (Georgia Intern-Fellowships for Teachers). The GIFT program is sponsored through CEISMC at Georgia Tech. In addition to activities throughout the school year, the teachers and students work in the lab at Georgia Tech on a project for the summer. In the summer of 2005 the group investigated the effect of burrowing infauna on nutrient cycling in marsh environments. As part of this investigation the teachers and students learned the techniques to measure many important geochemical species including dissolved oxygen, pH, nitrate, nitrite, phosphate, and ammonium. A highlight of the summer work was a trip down to the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography where the students collected mud and fiddler crabs from the marsh site for their experiments back at Georgia Tech. During the upcoming school year the students will be writing up their findings and submitting them to the Siemens/Westinghouse Science competition.

Dr. M. Taillefert's group participates in K-12 educational activities by welcoming, for the third year in a row, a teacher from a high school predominently populated by students from traditionally underrepresented groups in science. The teacher was partly sponsored by CEISMC at Georgia Tech through a NSF educational grant to increase the experience of teachers in lab science activities, and partly by Taillefert through a CAREER award from NSF's Ocean Sciences Division. The teacher, who spent her first eight weeks in Taillefert's group to learn chemical techniques for environmental applications, brought three students with her during her second summer to expose them to a research laboratory. Under the supervision of the teacher and some of Taillefert's students, these students have conducted several chemical analyses of watersheds around Atlanta.

An 8th grade teacher at McConnell Middle School worked in the laboratory of Dr. D. Tan developing a tool that will measure the level of formaldehyde levels in the air. The applications to society are enormous. The most obvious is the direct link to air quality standards and the impact it has on society (e.g., smog alert, limit outdoor physcical activity). Basically, formaldehyde is considered a volatile organic compound (VOC). VOC's and NOX (nitric oxide compounds) are the fuel that feeds a self-amplyfying cycle that produces more hydroxide and ozone. Ozone near the surface is NOT good for many reasons. If the Environmental Protection Agency can control VOC's (like formaldehyde) and NOX then they can control the levels of hydroxide and ozone. Thus the reason for creating a tool that detects formaldehyde levels. The teacher's GIFT Action Plan to share her experience with her students will be tied in with atmosphere learning standards. Students will learn about the layers of the atmosphere and how each protects us here on earth. They will concentrate mainly on the troposphere, where weather occurs and discuss the factors that go in to air quality (the positives and negatives) and ways to solve negative air quality problems and promote positive air quality conditions. The most obvious concern to the kids (health issues) is smog which is directly linked to the amount of ozone in the air. Thus the students will mainly be learning about the types of pollutants in the air (particularly ozone and particulate matter), how they get there, how we measure what's there, the air quality index, and how we can reduce air pollution.

Dr. R. Weber worked with an 8th grade Earth Science teacher at Summerour Middle School to develop a participatory project to teach her students about ground level ozone. During the course of the project, students will differentiate good ozone (stratospheric ozone) and bad ozone (ground level ozone). Students will use real time data to monitor ground level ozone and archival data to research correlations between meteorological events and ozone levels. They will research the formation of ground level ozone (including the sources), study the adverse health effects of elevated ozone levels, and postulate ideas to reduce the formation of ground level ozone.

[Participant Comments]