NOAA 99-R306
Contact: Patricia Viets


About 150 classroom teachers from around the country are expected to attend the "Let's Do Launch GOES-L Education Symposium" at Cape Canaveral, Fla., May 14-16, the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced today.

The teachers will learn directly from the scientists and project directors responsible for the Atlas IIA rocket and propulsion systems and the GOES-L satellite and instrumentation systems. They will learn how to use weather satellite data to protect lives and property during hazardous weather situations.

"GOES satellites are a mainstay of weather forecasting in the United States," said Gerry Dittberner, NOAA's GOES program manager. "They are the backbone of short-term forecasting, or nowcasting. GOES images of clouds are well-known to all Americans; the images can be seen on television weather forecasts every day."

An advanced U.S. weather satellite, GOES-L, which will monitor hurricanes, severe thunderstorms, flash floods and other adverse weather, is planned for launch on May 15 from the Cape Canaveral Air Station, Fla. In conjunction with the launch, the Oklahoma Climatological Survey and the Florida State University are teaming up with NOAA and NASA to provide an education symposium for teachers who use weather satellite imagery in their classrooms.

Representatives from NOAA, The Weather Channel and the U.S. Air Force 45th Space Wing Weather Squadron will be among those presenting to the teachers.

Given the availability of weather satellite data over the Internet, as well as from media outlets such as local news, CNN and The Weather Channel, the workshop is designed to foster appropriate use of this imagery in classrooms across the nation, and integration of this real-time data into multidisciplinary curriculum areas.

Workshop presentations will cover many aspects of interpreting weather satellite imagery and how to access and use weather satellite imagery in the K-12 classroom.

"By providing teachers with an opportunity to meet with the scientists and see the launch first-hand, we are trying to make them realize that without their science, math and communication skills instruction efforts at the K-12 level, none of what they see before them would be possible. Also, it is great motivation to be able to use the same data in the classroom that scientists use in their research labs," said symposium coordinator Kevin Kloesel, distance education director at the Oklahoma Climatological Survey.

The workshop is a collaborative venture between the Project EARTHSTORM teacher outreach program in Oklahoma and the EXPLORES! teacher outreach program in Florida. Teachers from both of these programs will share ideas on how to effectively teach weather in K-12 classrooms.

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