About Earth 2 Class

The seeds of the “Earth2Class” pilot program were planted in 1998 when Dr. Michael J. Passow, a national leader in the field of Earth Science Education and Teacher Enhancement, created a weekend workshop series bringing together Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University (LDEO) scientists and classroom teachers. For two years, these “Saturday Workshops for Teachers” allowed teachers to hear about the excitement of scientific investigations and obtain teacher-training materials developed by the American Meteorological Society Education Program.

In 2000, cooperation between LDEO and the Institute for Learning Technologies of Teachers College, Columbia University produced a pilot technology-infused distance learning extension of these “Earth Science Saturdays for Educators.” Through the partnership with ILT’s Professional Development Associate Director, Kelly Corder, ILT’s Professional Development Manager and Instructional Designer, Cristiana Assumpção, and ILT’s IT Manager, Frederico Baggio, the transition to a distance-learning “web-cast” model (“Earth2Class”) enabled teachers in the North Hudson Electronic Educational Empowerment Project Consortium to become “virtual participants” in workshops taking place on the LDEO campus, even though they are physically located approximately 200 miles north of LDEO. Although these teleconferences ceased when the NHEEEP grant ended, workshops continued on the LDEO campus.

“Earth2Class” involves a collaboration of the E2C Team (Passow, Assumpção, and Baggio), LDEO researchers, and teachers and, now, students from the New York metropolitan area and elsewhere. Pre-pandemic, each workshop typically included an introduction to the theme created by Passow, followed by presentations by the Lamont research scientist(s) about their cutting-edge investigative research. Following “lunch with a scientist,” participants spent the afternoon exploring how the science research could be incorporated into classroom-ready curriculum lessons and units that align with state and national Science Education Standards.

The scientists also helped teachers develop K-12 curriculum activities linked directly to “real world questions” and State and National educational Standards/ Drawing on the scientists’ expertise, teachers can show students how the science they are learning applies in the “real world,” as well as other aspects of the curriculum. Students who attend have the unusual opportunity to interact with ‘real’ scientists, something not always possible in most science courses. These discussions have been strongly influential, sometimes leading to college and careers decisions that might not otherwise have happened.

By the end of the 2022 – 2023 series, E2C has presented 229 Workshops featuring about 100 LDEO scientists to more than 400 attendees. Many thousands more teachers and students have used the online resources, which have averaged about 75,000 hits per month.

In January 2004, the National Science Foundation awarded a two-year grant to Dr. Gerardo Iturrino and Michael Passow to conduct a “proof-of-concept” study of E2C, seeking to identify which aspects of the program can serve as effective models for similar programs at other institutions. This support allowed for enhanced monthly workshops, and teacher conferences in the summers of 2004 and 2005. The E2C program received formal evaluation in conjunction with the NSF grant by Dr. Pearl Solomon and Dr. James Ebert. Informal evaluations have been provided by workshop participants, and through presentations at national and international conferences sponsored by the AGU, AMS, GSA, NAGT, NSTA, and other organizations. Examples of the abstracts from these are included below.

It was with great sorrow that we noted in Match 2014 the sudden passing of Dr. Iturrino. Gerry’s participation in E2C provided the program with scientific reliability and validity in the eyes of Lamont researchers that might not have otherwise been possible.

For both workshop participants and others who cannot attend in person, this “Earth2Class” website has become a valuable resource. Like the workshops, the website has been created through the combined efforts of the E2C Team, LDEO scientists, workshop attendees, and dozens of other teachers who have attended the summer conferences or provided online resources. The website includes archived versions of the workshop; resources for middle and high school Earth Science teachers and students; suggestions for incorporating educational technology into the classroom; links to science education and professional societies; and many other useful materials. During past years, the website has averaged around 5,000 hits per month.

Participants receive a certificate of attendance at each workshop that has been accepted for District professional development credits. Arrangements have allowed those interested to earn graduate credits through Teachers College and St. Thomas Aquinas College. E2C has helped link teachers with numerous other opportunities, including American Meteorological Society’s DataStreme courses, LDEO Research Experiences for Teachers, and “teachers-at-sea” and similar travel programs.

Cristiana Assumpção and Frederico Baggio returned to their home in São Paulo, Brasil, after Teachers College awarded Cristiana’s Ed.D. for her analysis of the impact of E2C. Since then, the E2C Team continues to work together closely through electronic telecommunications and visits between the two countries. In 2007, the E2C program began a new chapter by establishing connections with scientists and educators in Brasil. Beginning in 2017, E2C al established an expanded working relationship with Prof. Douglas Sathler of UFVJM in Diamantina, Minais Gerais, Brazil.

With the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and closure of the Lamont campus, E2C switched from “live” on campus programs to virtual zoom-based presentations, These were recorded and are available at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCadTrEtrumYSGOEcfMB4h-w.

Use of the zoom-based format opened E2C to participants at great distances, included deep in the Adironfacks and Spain.

Selected conference presentations about E2C:

GSA 2014 “Providing NGSS_Focused Teacher Professional Development through the Earth2Class Model”

AMS 2015 “Connecting Climate Change Education with ‘The Teacher behind the Closed Door’”

Overview Slideshow about E2C (2015) with

2020 GSA video with Journey Berry and Camille Lederer

Supporting Scientfic research outreach through the Earth2Class Model (AGU 2021 pptx)