Executive Director of Communications
THE GLOBE PROGRAM: SCIENCE THE HANDS-ON WAY
GLOBE TRAINING EXPANDED TO TWO DOZEN QUEENS SCHOOLS
FLUSHING, NEW YORK, May 9, 2005 —Queens College is thinking globally and acting locally to create a better climate for the study of science from pre-kindergarten through high school. As southern New York State’s partner for GLOBE, an international educational initiative, the college has trained hundreds of metropolitan area schools to record environmental data and post it online. International and American scientists at national laboratories, federal agencies, and universities are accessing this valuable information on long-term global change.
GLOBE emphasizes hands-on, age-appropriate activities that can be integrated into daily classroom work at any academic level. Each school receives about $600 worth of equipment and instruction in its use on site. Participants turn their campuses into open-air labs where they monitor specific environmental conditions in five categories: air, soil, water, land use/land cover, and seasonal change. Then students enter their results into the GLOBE database.
Now, Queens College is bringing its three-year-old outreach effort to additional locations. More than two dozen elementary and middle schools in the college’s home borough have been involved in GLOBE this spring, thanks to $50,000 in funding from the City Council Queens Delegation. As a result, there are now 100 GLOBE schools in Queens. Since 2002, the college has trained a total of 300 schools—nearly 25 percent of the entire New York City public school system. Interest in the program is so keen that City College has agreed to set up a satellite training site under the direction of Queens College; Brooklyn College is expected to follow suit.
“This program is saving kids’ lives, literally,” says Norman Cohn, assistant principal of science at Franklin K. Lane High School in Brooklyn, which launched a GLOBE pilot in 2003. In good weather and bad, a small group of ninth graders has been venturing into nearby Forest Park to collect soil and water samples, measure rainfall and wind speed, and conduct other field research.
“The kids get their hands dirty doing real experiments and lab work,” says Cohn, who has seen participants’ attendance improve and lateness decrease—two reasons he’s extending GLOBE to all incoming Franklin K. Lane freshmen who need preparation for Regents science courses.
Meanwhile, Queens College faculty members are refining plans for the Globe School of
Environmental Research, a middle school that will open this fall in the Bronx’s Wakefield neighborhood. The new school—the first institution of its kind in the world—will base its entire curriculum on the inquiry-focused learning at the heart of GLOBE.
“The same sense of inquiry and rigorous research will permeate every aspect of the program, from math and science to the humanities,” says GLOBE-NY metro director Allan Ludman, a professor at the Queens College School of Earth and Environmental Sciences and director of Queens College’s GLOBE partnership for southern New York State, which encompasses New York City, Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester counties.
GLOBE was founded in 1994 by the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Science Foundation, and other federal agencies. More than 20,000 teachers in over 12,000 schools in 98 countries are now involved in the program.
“The point isn’t that students are learning chemistry or physics or biology,” explains Ludman. “They’re learning about the natural world in a way that makes science understandable.” At the same time, they are developing observational abilities, math skills, general literacy—and a sense of what research involves.
Because GLOBE teaches the process of science rather than just the facts of science, physicist Leon Lederman, a 1998 Nobel Laureate, praises it as the “quintessentially ideal program for involving kids in science.” But its benefits aren’t limited to children. Since January 2002, Queens College has been offering GLOBE training to pre-service teachers and NYC Teaching Fellows. “The GLOBE certificate has already helped several people get hired at choice positions,” reports Ludman.
Queens College's GLOBE initiative has been supported from its inception by the Consolidated Edison Company. In addition to funds from the City Council Queens Delegation, recent support has come from the City University of New York College NOW program and a major grant from the New York State Math/Science Partnership initiative.
Queens College of the City University of New York (CUNY) is dedicated to the idea that a first-rate education should be accessible to talented individuals of all backgrounds and financial means. Founded in 1937, the college offers an exceptional liberal arts curriculum, with over 100 undergraduate and graduate programs and a variety of specialized honors programs. Located on a beautiful, 77-acre campus in Flushing, Queens College enjoys a national reputation for its liberal arts and sciences and pre-professional programs. In fact, it ranks #8 in the nation according to the 2006 edition of The Princeton Review America’s Best Value Colleges. Queens College’s nearly 17,000 students come from more than 140 nations and speak scores of languages, creating an extraordinarily diverse and welcoming environment.