2010 Fall Meeting          
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Cite abstracts as Author(s) (2010), Title, Abstract xxxxx-xxxx presented at 2010 Fall Meeting, AGU, San Francisco, Calif., 13-17 Dec.

HR: 0915h
AN: ED51B-06
TI: A Physics MOSAIC: Scientific Skills and Explorations for Students
AU: *May, S
EM: smay@mxschool.edu
AF: Middlesex School, Concord, MA, USA
AU: Clements, C
EM: cclements@haystack.mit.edu
AF: Marlborough High School, Marlborough, MA, USA
AU: Erickson, P J
EM: pje@haystack.mit.edu
AF: MIT Haystack Observatory, Westford, MA, USA
AU: Rogers, A
EM: arogers@haystack.mit.edu
AF: MIT Haystack Observatory, Westford, MA, USA
AB: A 21st century education needs to teach students how to manage information in an ever more digital age. High school students (like all of us) are inundated with information, and informed citizenship increasingly depends on the ability to be a critical consumer of data. In the scientific community, experimental data from remote, high quality systems are becoming increasingly available in real time. The same networks providing data also allow scientists to use the ubiquity of internet access to enlist citizen scientists to help with research. As a means of addressing and leveraging these trends, we describe a classroom unit developed as part of the NSF Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program at MIT Haystack Observatory in the summer of 2010. The unit uses accessible, real-time science data to teach high school physics students about the nature and process of scientific research, with the goal of teaching how to be an informed citizen, regardless of eventual vocation. The opportunity to study the atmosphere provides increased engagement in the classroom, and students have an authentic experience of asking and answering scientific questions when the answer cannot simply be found on the Web. MOSAIC (Mesospheric Ozone System for Atmospheric Investigations in the Classroom) is a relatively inexpensive tool for measuring mesospheric ozone by taking advantage of the sensitivity of commercially produced satellite TV dishes to the 11.072545 GHz rotational transition of ozone. Because the signal from ozone in the lower atmosphere is pressure-broadened, the system is able to isolate the signal from the 1% of Earth’s ozone that comes from the mesosphere. Our teaching unit takes advantage of measurements collected since 2008 from six East Coast observing sites at high schools and colleges. Data are available online within a day of their collection, and an easy to use web interface allows students to track mesospheric ozone in frequency, time of day, or day of year. The MOSAIC unit begins with a series of activities and lessons designed to take advantage of the large data sets MOSAIC is collecting all the time to teach students about measurement, uncertainty, and data analysis. The curriculum develops an intuitive approach to thinking about numbers in science, focusing on both implicit and explicit expressions of uncertainty. Our teaching unit concludes with a final research project to provide students with the opportunity to pursue an area of interest within mesospheric ozone. This project is conceived in such a way that it can be as self-directed as a teacher or student needs. Given current concern for the state of our atmosphere and ozone, MOSAIC provides a unique opportunity for student engagement in an area of scientific research that has not been extensively explored. MOSAIC data can be compared with online resources for other atmospheric, astronomical, or geophysical data, and have been analyzed for the effects of such variables as seasonal and solar flux variations, lunar phases, shuttle and rocket launches, and sudden stratospheric warming events.
DE: [0340] ATMOSPHERIC COMPOSITION AND STRUCTURE / Middle atmosphere: composition and chemistry
DE: [0805] EDUCATION / Elementary and secondary education
DE: [0820] EDUCATION / Curriculum and laboratory design
DE: [0845] EDUCATION / Instructional tools
SC: Education and Human Resources (ED)
MN: 2010 Fall Meeting