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Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday March 4, 2003

New program awards small grants to encourage science

The Arizona Space Grant Consortium and University of Arizona Cooperative Extension Program recently launched a new statewide plan, the Pre-College Mini Grants Program, to help Arizona educators inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.

The Arizona Space Grant Program has given learning opportunities for more than 13 years to students at Arizona's state universities, Pima Community College and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. The universities are now expanding the circle of learning with the new Pre-college Mini-Grant program.

The program, started in November 2002, awards small grants for innovative science, mathematics and technology-related projects and activities.

Program managers recently announced eight winners of the first statewide competition for pre-college mini-grants: Elfrida Elementary (Elfrida), Sierra Middle School and Donaldson Elementary (Tucson), the Pima County 4-H Program, Hendrix Junior High (Chandler), Oak Tree Elementary (Gilbert), 4-H Youth Development Program of Apache County and Rock Point Community School (Rock Point) will each receive $400 grants to conduct a broad range of educational programs involving more than 2,400 Arizona pre-college students in exciting, inquiry-based, hands-on learning.


UA hydrologists seeking young climate modelers

University of Arizona hydrologists are looking for a few thousand grade school and high school students to help them with a real-life science project.

They want the students to collect data on soil moisture twice a year at sites around the world. The data will be used to calibrate computer software that scientists use to model global climate.

Climate modelers often use soil moisture data that is collected by satellites. The students' data will help scientists check the satellite readings against on-ground measurements and will provide additional measurements from places where satellite data has not been collected.

The project is funded for three and a half years by GLOBE, a worldwide, hands-on, science-education program for K-12 students. The program includes more than 12,000 schools in 102 countries and is supported by NASA, NSF, EPA and the U.S. State Department.

The UA researchers plan to ask the students to collect soil moisture data near their schools twice a year once in April and once in October. The students will collect as many samples as possible within an hour's drive of their school and record the types of soil and land cover.


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