Saturday, March 10, 2012

Using satellite images, 5th and 6th grade students in a Laramie (WY) School learn about human impact on environment

With the help of satellite images fifth and sixth grade students at Mr. Tim Blum’s geography class (photo below) at the UW Lab School got a birds-eye view of how humans have impacted or modified their environments (31 January 2011).  Images acquired by satellites decades apart showed cleared forests, irrigated crop fields in the middle of the deserts, altered landscapes (new roads and water bodies), and urban growth.

As part of the Earth Observation Day (EOD) activities, WyomingView coordinator Ramesh Sivanpillai described the utility of images acquired by satellites are useful for monitoring changes on earth’s surface.   For example, Landsat images acquired in 2000 (bottom left) and 2009 (bottom right) shows the newly constructed roads (linear features), drilling pads (square features at the end of the roads), and ponds (in different shades of blue) for an area within the Powder River Basin.

The goal of EOD activities is to introduce teachers and students to remote sensing science and technology and is promoted by AmericaView.  Sivanpillai works with individual teachers in Laramie-area schools and develops remote sensing course materials that relate to the topics taught to students.

Blum and his student teachers introduced students to the human impact on the environment.  The remote sensing “presentation fit with our curriculum and the students were captivated,” Blum commented.  “Your presentation certainly made an impression on our students because the information you provided was referenced in several discussions that occurred later in our unit.”  Tailoring materials to individual class needs increases student engagement and learning.

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  1. Well done, Ramesh. You're helping to create the next generation of STEM professionals, something that this country needs desperately.

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