NASA’s Global Precipitation Measurement Mission Launches Hands-On Field Campaign for Students With GLOBE

This spring, students worldwide are invited to grab rain gauges and learn how scientists use ground measurements to validate satellite precipitation data.

NASA’s Global Precipitation Measurement, or GPM, mission is partnering with the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment, or GLOBE, program to conduct a field campaign where students will measure rain and snow in their hometowns through April 15, 2015, and then analyze the data.

To evaluate how well satellite instruments observe precipitation from space, NASA collects data in field campaigns on the ground. In formal ground validation campaigns, teams of scientists deploy rain gauges and ground-based radar instruments to measure precipitation in different terrains, like the Appalachian Mountains, the flood plains of Iowa or snowy Finland. Then they compare the collected data to measurements from satellites and aircraft instruments that simulate satellite observations.

The GLOBE-GPM field campaign is designed to give students a similar experience. Students will use simple manual rain gauges to collect precipitation data and enter them into the online GLOBE database. Using an example analysis as a template, the students will then analyze their data.

Students also will be encouraged to develop their own scientific questions to be answered by the data and compare their observations to ground observations from other sources — nearby GLOBE schools, National Weather Service ground stations or other citizen science data sources — as well as to satellite precipitation data available from NASA.

Educators will have access to a series of blog entries where scientists and engineers describe their research and how they became interested in STEM fields. The campaign will post a discussion board for educators to share ways to use citizen science, GPM data and NASA activities with students.

For more information about the GPM-GLOBE program, visit

For more GPM Precipitation education material, visit

For more information about GPM, visit or

Please email any questions about this opportunity to Kristen Weaver at

Nathan Smith

Nathan Smith is Director of Technology for the College of Education and Human Services at Utah State University. In that role, he also directs The Adele & Dale Young Education Technology Center (The YETC) located in room 170 of the Education Building on Utah State University's Logan campus. The YETC is a combination student open­access computer facility, a K­12 curriculum materials library, a NASA Educator Resource Center for Utah, and a technology training center. Nathan served eight years (2004­2012) on the Board of Directors for the Utah Coalition for Education Technology (UCET) He was re­elected in 2014 to serve another two year term on the board. A former elementary school teacher, Nathan has taught students every age from young children to senior citizens. He has had the opportunity beginning in 2011 to train international high school teachers from all over the world about technology in education, through the U.S. State

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