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Satellites & Education Conference

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Conference XXXIII Program

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Satellites & Education Conference XXXIII Goes Virtual
July 25, 2020

See videos of
Keynote Speakers  •  Presenters  •  Exhibitors  •  Special Thanks

View/print Full Conference Program

Satellites & Education Conference XXXIII Goes Virtual

The 33nd annual Satellites & Education Conference, was held July 25, 2020, entirely online at no cost to attendees. The conference was hosted on ZOOM by the Charter College of Education at California State University, Los Angeles. All prospective attendees were asked to register before attending. Attending teachers received professional development credit.

The conference program can be downloaded in PDF HERE


Satellites & Education Conference XXXIII
Hosted on ZOOM by Charter College of Education
at Cal State LA
July 25, 2020

Informative and Supportive Keynote Speakers...

Steven Miller

Steven D. Miller, Ph.D.
The Sky is Not the Limit; It's Only the Beginning!

Dr. Steven Miller is a Senior Research Scientist at Colorado State University (CSU), and Deputy Director of the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA). He received a PhD from CSU Atmospheric Science, with specialization in atmospheric radiation and satellite remote sensing. He worked for seven years at the Naval Research Laboratory, Monterey, where he supported U.S. and Coalition forces in the post-9/11 military responses in southwest Asia—becoming proficient in a broad range of environmental parameters from ocean to sky.

At CIRA, he leads a Meteorological Satellite Applications Team as part of the Regional and Mesoscale Meteorology Branch (RAMMB) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). His research passion is working with new kinds of measurements, discovering their unforeseen potential to benefit research and operational users, and designing future observing systems for an ever-increasing scope of user needs and scientific challenges.

To escape the ordinary, he lives vicariously through the satellite sensors with which he works—whisking around the globe at 16,000 mph in search of nature’s wonders and mysteries. Through far more capable eyes than our own, he finds new ways to characterize and visualize the complex environment of our planet and its atmosphere for operational forecasters. His core research explores the unique phenomena of the nocturnal environment via “night vision”—using powerful new instruments capable of sensing moonlight, the light produced by our cities, boats, and other sources both natural and man-made.

The tools and techniques Miller uses for his everyday work draw heavily upon all the principal tenets of STEM—the Science of understanding our planet and its weather, the Technology needed to observe Earth from space with optimized ‘eyes’ far superior to our own, the Engineering needed to design, build, deploy, and operate complex satellite systems, and the Mathematics and the Physics needed to turn the ones and zeros of a digital data stream downlinked from the satellite sensor into meaningful insights about our environment. In this presentation, he concentrates on some the exciting new capabilities available from the new-generation NOAA satellites that are constantly watching us from above. When it comes to STEM-enabled careers in space-based environmental science, the sky is not the limit; it’s only the beginning!

Watch Opening Keynote Address with Steven Miller (44:22)

Photo credit: Steven Miller

Joshua Willis

Joshua K. Willis, Ph.D.
Every Trick in the Book: Lessons on Making Science Fun from NASA's Funniest Climate Scientist

Josh Willis is a climate scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he studies global sea level rise and melting ice in Greenland. He's the lead scientist for the NASA Mission Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG, for short).

"I hate talk descriptions that start with “now more than ever,” but I honestly can’t think of a time in the last 40 years when it was more important to teach people critical thinking and get them excited about science. How do we get kids out of their seats and into the world, discovering it? How do we restore confidence in science? I don’t have the answers, but I’ll tell you what I’ve been doing the last few years. Talks, tweets, jokes, videos and even Elvis impersonations. All of it helps. I hope, anyway. Let’s make science cool again."

When he’s not flying around in a tiny plane dropping instruments in the ocean, he can sometimes be found on the internet wearing an Elvis costume and singing the “Climate Rock”. A student of comedy as much as he is a student of climate, Willis also loves to use comedy to communicate about climate change. Tho’ he dreams of a life of comedy, he has no plans to quit his day job.

Watch Closing Keynote Address with Josh Willis (31:16)

Photo credit: Joshua Willis

Satellites & Education Conference XXXIII
Hosted on ZOOM by Charter College of Education
at Cal State LA
July 25, 2020

Phenomenal Plenary Sessions

Seven great plenary sessions were offered during the one-day virtual conference. They are summarized here from the conference program with links for viewing presentation videos or downloading PowerPoint slides.

Using Augmented Reality to Access Satellite Date: HoloGLOBE
John Moore, Executive Director
Institute for Earth Observations, New Jersey
HoloGLOBE is an AR app that uses the Merge Cube. It allows users to view global satellite datasets in 3D. HoloGLOBE is essentially a hand held version of NOAA’s Science on a Sphere (SOS). It is available free of charge and has over 10,000 downloads around the world. This session will provide a demonstration, examples of applications, and lessons.
Watch video of presentation (34:52)
Link to presentation PowerPoint slides
Mars Student Imaging Project: Remote Sensing of the Red Planet
Dominique Evans-Bye, Educator, Madlen Jalalyan, Student, and David Abrmyan, Student
Clark Magnet High School, California
The Mars Student Imaging Project through Arizona State University guides students through the process of acquiring remotely sensed data and imagery from Mars, then analyzing and interpreting their findings. Students learn to identify geologic features and compare and contrast the formation of these features on Mars to how they form on Earth. Emphasis is placed on how to make scientific observations and ask scientific questions. Students collaborate on determining a big picture question, writing focused research questions and forming hypotheses. Students use the products of NASA’s Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) carried by NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft and the High Resolution Imaging Experiment (HiRISE) onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. NASA’s JMARS, a GIS tool for Mars, was used to analyze study areas designated by a THEMIS stamp chosen by students. This session will give an overview of the MSIP, resources available to educators, and showcase student Final Presentations from the project.
Special Note: The Mars Student Imaging Project was implemented as a fourth quarter unit in the Honors GIS & Remote Sensing Class at Clark Magnet High School. In the 2019-2020 school year, the MSIP was conducted entirely through distance education due to school closure. Students collaborated through Zoom and Google to successfully conduct their projects.
Quadratics; It is a Matter of Rocket Science
Anthony Armbrister, Teacher
John F. Kennedy High School, Maryland
Introduction to quadratics using the science of rocket trajectory as a precursor to deepening understanding of the quadratic equation. Using freely-available graphing software, rocket trajectories from a series of recently launched Space X rockets are modeled and explored.
Special Note: Being a mathematics educator for over twenty-five years, I have noticed that students often find that quadratics are a difficult concept to grasp when taught in an abstract only method. Using manipulation of the components of a quadratic equation, students learn how this ancient equation is used in modern science.
Watch video of presentation (34:52)
Link to GeoGebra
Victorian Ladies of Mathematics
Robert A. Black, Author
Royal Fireworks Publishing Co., New York
Author Robert Black returned to the Satellites & Education Conference with a closer look at two of the books in his “Mathematical Lives” biography series from Royal Fireworks Press. Ada Lovelace and Florence Nightingale were both born into the upper classes of 19th Century England, where proper ladies were expected to learn sewing, art, and music, and where doctors worried that studying too much mathematics could damage the fragile female mind. Lovelace was the daughter of notorious poet Lord Byron, and like the children of celebrities today, she grew up under the gaze of a gossip-hungry public. Nightingale became famous as “The Lady with the Lamp” for her work leading a team of nurses during the Crimean War, but found her public image frozen in time later in life. But despite the obstacles, both women had a passion for mathematics, and both made advances that still affect us today.
Ada Lovelace: Programming the Future describes Lovelace’s work with Charles Babbage on his idea for an Analytical Engine, a steam-powered clockwork machine that would have been the first computer. His descriptions of how a computer could work and what it might be capable of doing helped shape the course of computer science.
Florence Nightingale: The Lady with the Diagrams describes Nightingale’s work after Crimea, as a social reformer who used statistical charts and diagrams to make her case in ways the general public had never seen before. This presentation gave a look at both stories and what they can teach us in math classes today.
Watch video of presentation (50:10)
The Young Meteorologist Program
Ron Gird, Meteorologist
PLAN!T NOW, Virginia and California
PLAN!T NOW (P!N) advocates educating our children on severe weather and safety principles. The Young Meteorologist Program of P!N is an interactive game focused on teaching the science of severe weather and preparedness activities. This fun, educational game is highly interactive, and follows the National Weather Service (NWS) mascot, Owlie Skywarn, through a series of weather adventures. There are five modules on severe weather. P!N recommends students complete the entire game. A student and family might go on a trip or vacation to an area of the country experiencing severe weather. Having learned about both the hazard and the safety measures to take could save lives. After completing all of the modules, including quizzes, students will be able to print their own Young Meteorologist Certificate.
Preparedness for students, families and communities are accomplished through community based public outreach events. These “weatherfest” events are free to the public and held at a popular community location such as a library or a health facility. There are three main elements for a successful “weatherfest” event: P!N, the local NWS Weather Forecast Office, and a local TV Meteorologist. P!N or the NWS provides the Owlie Skywarn mascot and the Young Meteorologist Program (YMP). Other organizations, mostly local community-based, are added depending upon the city where the “weatherfest” is being held. The goal of “weatherfest” is to ensure families learn about severe weather and protect their families and communities when severe weather strikes.
Watch video of presentation (24:46)
Earth-Sun-Moon STEM Activities with NASA Resources
Joan Harper-Neely, STEM Education Specialist, Sharon Bowers, Teacher, Betsy McAllister, Teacher
National Institute of Aerospace, Virginia
NASA has many resources to support STEM integration in the science classroom. During this session, presenters demonstrated hands-on activities involving Earth science standards for grades 3 – 8. These STEM activities explore the unique characteristics of Sun, Earth, and Moon, as well as their relationships. Learn how NASA’s heliophysics and planetary science divisions study Sun, Earth, and Moon from space and how information is collected, analyzed, and shared with the public. Participants were able to learn about the variety of citizen science campaigns in which their students can participate.
Watch video of presentation (24:18)
Live! From Santa Ana! Weather Satellite Image Reception
Edward Murashie, President
ProEngineered Solutions, California
A survey of home built weather satellite stations that students can build and operate in the classroom was presented. The receiving stations receive image data, in both high and low resolution, from polar-orbiting and geostationary weather satellites including the United States NOAA and GOES, the European Metop, Russian Meteor, and Chinese Feng Yung satellites. There is a satellite station for every skill level! Some can be built in a day, others in a week.
Watch video of presentation (32:06)

Satellites & Education Conference XXXIII
Hosted on ZOOM by Charter College of Education
at Cal State LA
July 25, 2020

Extraordinary Exhibits...

The "Exhibit Hall" this year was virtual. It consisted of short, pre-recorded or live offerings between plenary sessions - sort of like advertising breaks during commercial radio or television broadcasts. Exhibitors shared something of who they were and the resources they had available for teachers and students.

Satellites & Education Conference XXXIII
Hosted on ZOOM by Charter College of Education
at Cal State LA
July 25, 2020

Special Thanks...

The Satellite Educators Association wishes to express its deepest gratitude to the many supporters of Satellites & Education Conference XXXIII without whom there would not be a conference. This year, special thanks go out to... Special Thanks to CCOE, NASA DIRECT STEM, Raytheon

For more about this and other conferences and activities of the Satellite Educators Association, please visit