Mission Earth: West Region

WestEd and the College & Career Academy Support Network (CCASN) at UC Berkeley are collaborating in the implementation of the GLOBE (Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment) California Academy Program (CAP), with new funding from NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), as part of a national project called “MISSION EARTH: Fusing GLOBE with NASA Assets to Build Systemic Innovation in STEM Education.”  MISSION EARTH supports STEM education in elementary school through middle school, high school, and college by integrating GLOBE/NASA materials into K-12 science instruction. The overarching aim of MISSION EARTH is to produce national systemic change in STEM education through the creation of a recommended curriculum progression for diverse school districts across the United States. The curriculum will incorporate design principles that will make it appropriate for all student populations, especially those currently underrepresented in STEM careers. 

The goals of the MISSION EARTH project are to help learners build critical skills over time and to build community among teachers and thereby promote deeper learning and innovation. This project enables teachers and their students to use GLOBE and NASA materials throughout their schooling. Through field-based science using high quality research protocols, students have the opportunity to collect environmental data, interact with scientists, carry out local projects, and connect with students in countries throughout the world. This form of “real world” learning strengthens students' facility with science practices while providing opportunities for civic engagement and for the development of critical 21st century skills in preparation for future careers in the STEM fields and beyond. 

MISSION EARTH brings together scientists and science educators to develop a K-12 “Earth as a system” curriculum progression following research-based best practices. The team consists of partners committed to working with urban and rural school districts in the northeast, midwest, southwest, and northwest. Our core members, University of Toledo (middle school project based science), WestEd (high school career readiness), Boston University (elementary and college engineering practices), Tennessee State University (college service learning) will share their results as the team builds a K-12 progression of activities. The team works closely with schools to ensure that the innovations take hold. The MISSION EARTH team also works with districts, state educational agencies, and key networks to leverage existing professional development infrastructures and to foster long-term sustainability of the program.

To arrive at these goals, MISSION EARTH engages in the following activities:

1. Develop Earth systems curricular materials that fuse NASA learning assets with GLOBE activities
to support K-12 STEM education.

2. Develop models of educational professional development (EPD) that result in teachers’ use of NASA and GLOBE learning and teaching assets, especially in high need districts.

3. Develop sustainable models for schools to integrate NASA/GLOBE materials into  learning and teaching assets.

4. Support STEM career development through linkages to sciences, real world application, and service learning.

5. Collaborate and build capacity with district and state agencies, including train-the-trainer approaches.