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Kilgore Gifted Center students and teacher present poster at GLOBE Clouds Millionth Match celebration

Michele Ferrel and three of her former students - Dylan Hailey, Onisty Lawrence, and Liam Brock - toured NASA’s Langley Research Center and presented a poster of their work at the prestigious GLOBE Clouds Millionth Match Celebration on September 13, 2022. GLOBE, or Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment, provides opportunities for students and the public to contribute to our understanding of the environment.

Last spring, six students from Ferrel’s 4th-grade class participated in the GLOBE Mission EARTH Kids Club, which met virtually each Wednesday after school from April 13 through May 18. The students interacted with other learners and with NASA and GLOBE Mission EARTH scientists, learning how to use the GLOBE Observer app to collect observations about their environment. In between calls, students were tasked with collecting observations on clouds, plants, trees, and spring “budburst” in the form of photos, videos, and drawings and anecdotal data recorded in their notebook. These were shared through a collaborative Google folder. At the end of the program, each student received a GLOBE certificate of completion, signed by Dr. Kevin Czajkowski, principal Investigator of GLOBE Mission EARTH.  

Ferrel said, “The afterschool GLOBE Kids Club has increased the awareness of our environment for the students who participated. It is so neat to see students applying what they learned at recess and hearing parents report their child asking them to stop the car so they can take pictures of the clouds. The program is creating our future scientists!”

As a result of their work, Ferrel’s students had the honor of being invited to present at the GLOBE Clouds Millionth Match Celebration. In the morning, Dylan, Onisty, Liam and Ferrel received a tour of NASA’s Langley Research Center. They were able to get inside an aircraft, donned flight suits, and had their photos taken in the NASA hangar. They walked through NASA’s 14 x 22 foot wind tunnel, getting their photos taken next to the tunnel’s massive fan blades. They also had the opportunity to visit Larkworks MakerSpace and learn from aerospace technologist engineer Garry Qualls how NASA staff use state-of-the-art equipment to develop new ideas and solve complex problems.  

In the afternoon, the team was recognized for their efforts and presented their poster to guests from around the country, as well as NASA and community leaders. The students even had the opportunity to discuss their work with Clayton P. Turner (director, NASA’s Langley Research Center) and David F. Young (deputy director, NASA’s Langley Research Center), and Dr. Lin Chambers (physical scientist and mother of former Kecoughtan High School’s 2013 Valedictorian Lauren Chambers). Chambers is credited with starting the GLOBE Clouds program to provide opportunities for young students to become citizen scientists. 

According to Dylan, “It was a really good field trip. The best part was the wind tunnel and presenting the poster was pretty cool."