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Government Data Put to Good Use

NOAA Satellite Collecting Weather DataNOAA satellite collecting weather data

Government agencies collect masses of interesting scientific data that’s in the public domain. So, why not put it to use educating students? That’s the gist of a new program in Northern California that’s being underwritten by an $11.96 million National Science Foundation grant, according to T.H.E. Journal. The money will be used to create a STEM curriculum that will get students at middle schools with large low-income and minority populations interested in those subjects. It’s being put together by researchers at California State University, East Bay, and will cover schools in a wide range of counties.

Researchers will create courses using real-time data provided by a host of agencies, including NASA, the Department of Energy, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. They hope to capture students’ attention by creating content that’s current and relevant, T.H.E. Journal says. For example, students will be able to track hurricanes, weather patterns, and even earthquakes as they happen.

A big part of the effort will focus on teacher training and support. Over the five-year grant period, the program should reach around 68,000 students–a pretty big bang for the bucks.

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