Remote Sensing Technology
Remote sensing is the science of obtaining information about objects or areas from a distance, typically from aircraft or satellites. Here's a quick overview from NOAA.
Middle school students around the world can request images of specific locations on Earth during Sally Ride EarthKAM missions – periods when the Sally Ride EarthKAM camera in the International Space Station is operational.
Sign your class up for a space mission. Really!
Mapping the Invisible
This video explores the basic principles used by optical sensors like Landsat, AVIRIS, and other remote sensing sensors to record the things that we can't see with our eyes - like the health of plants on the ground. It explains the basic principles of the electromagnetic spectrum, bands and spectral resolution in data and the uses of spectral data to answer science questions.
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EarthShots, from the USGS, introduces remote sensing by showing how satellite imagery is used to track change over time.
The site provides outstanding images of sites around the world which have undergone significant environmental changes due to natural and human causes. A good site for students to illustrate contrasts in a research report.
Sometimes a photo is worth a thousand words – especially in a geographical region removed from the student's locale.
Dr. Anita Simic, a geology faculty member at Bowling Green State University, is a firm believer in engaging her students in scientific exploration. And for her there is no better way to demonstrate the power of science than to explore the concept of remote sensing using a drone. This article explores how she got started and practical remote sensing applications.
This article by Dr. S. C. Liew at National University of Singapore goes into detail about what is Remote Sensing, the ways it's done, and some of the challenges. A good introduction.
The Ozone and Air Quality NASA site illustrates the mapping of the ozone layer using spectrometers. It provides tools and data sets for student use.
The good news is your project works. The bad news is that you now have LOTS of data that needs to be analyzed. What do you do with big data sets?
This Concord Consortium decided what better way to learn the basics of this new, essential field than through games? A data science game generates data – lots of data – as you play. And the only way to win is to figure out a good way to visualize the data so you can see what's going on, improve your strategy, and level up.
At Space Weather, updated daily by Dr. Tony Phillips, students can learn about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids.
The Remote-Sensing Conference probably is not an option for high school science teachers. The site itself, however, includes good links to the entire field.
Ramapo College in New Jersey has invited teachers to participate in their RST2 – Revitalizing Science Teaching. Sponsored by NSF, the focus is on environmental studies and questions, both real world and what if scenarios. Historical data, such as maps, and the results of prior student investigations are incorporated into the study of current data samples.
Science in the making can be a very powerful motivator. Even if you are unable to participate in these particular projects, it may be worthwhile to contact them for future involvement and for understanding how your school could replicate this model of remote sensing technology, synthesized with historical data.