ERC's Space Weather Reporting Workshop

Josh Revels works in IV&V’s Educator Resource Center (ERC) as the Technical Librarian. He helps maintain their social media accounts and also assists with internal communications. 

During the week of July 16, 2012, the NASA IV&V Program Educator Resource Center (ERC) was home to 12 West Virginia teachers. The teachers, who traveled from as far as Parkersburg and Paw Paw, engaged in the ERC’s 2012 Space Weather Reporting Camp. The camp was combined with the Space Weather graduate course, instructed by West Virginia University’s assistant science education professor Dr. Jeffrey Carver and research assistant professor of physics Dr. Amy Keesee. Prior to attending the hands- on activities, teachers spent time online with readings about the sun and sun-earth relationships.

This workshop was very different from others, as many teachers directly observed the sun with a special solar filter for the first time. Additional mechanisms for observing the sun included the use of “Sun Spotters”, which allowed for sunspots to be visible as a shadow of the sun appeared on a piece of paper. Alongside WVU associate professor Margie Darrah, teachers solved real-life space scenarios that involved mathematics. 

After building their very own candy, paper, or LEGO models of Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS), the teachers took a day trip to tour NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, where they were able to interact with NASA mission specialists, including MMS. As part of the tour, the participants explored the Space Weather Control Center, which helped inspire the production of Space Weather Reports, much like below. 

At the end of the week, it was the teachers who were expressing their gratitude for the free ability to use the equipment available at NASA IV&V’s ERC. One teacher stated anonymously, “The most valuable part of this experience is gaining the ability to borrow kits such as the iPads, solar telescopes, sun spotters, and the electromagnetic spectrum kit.” 

The ERC staff eagerly waits for next summer’s camps and hopes it is as much of a success as the 2012 Space Weather Reporting Camp.

Josh Revels
Technical Librarian
NASA’s Independent Verification & Validation Program
Educator Resource Center

Storm signals Sun Storm Weather report from Nasa Erc on Vimeo.