​NJSTA Maitland P. Simmons Memorial Award

2022 Summer Institute 

   Observing Earth’s Climate            from Above

NJSC 2022 Presentation

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Please come to the table to share and discuss ideas from the 2022 Maitland P. Simmons Memorial Award Summer Institute and more.

Professional learning and collaboration is on the menu!

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2022 Report

2022 NJSTA Maitland P. Simmons Memorial Award Report 

Observing Earth’s Climate from Above 

Twenty-two science educators from the state of New Jersey participated in the 2022 Maitland P. Simmons (MPS) Memorial Award Summer Institute presented as a Hybrid program with Day 1 live as guests of the Nettingham Middle School, Scotch Plains-Fanwood School District on June 27 and the remainder of the Institute virtual online on June 28-30, 2022. While present on Monday, materials needed for the Institute were distributed and lunch was provided.  A variety of enjoyable snacks were distributed to take home to facilitate the deep thinking that was occurring during the online portion of the Institute.

Expert facilitators, Missy Holzer and Kate Soriano, led the MPS Institute entitled "Observing Earth’s Climate from Above: Lessons for a NGSS Classroom".  During the impressively organized program, teachers were prompted to access, analyze, and interpret satellite data in order to be able to create phenomenon-driven, three-dimensional lessons for their middle school classrooms.  Missy and Kate adeptly guided the Scholars through an extremely well-orchestrated selection of hands-on and online activities that provided participants GLOBE Certification and new ways to consider how they could support students in building conceptual understanding of Science ideas about Earth’s climate.   


Many thanks to the guest speakers who assisted and participated during the week starting with Dr. David Robinson,New Jersey’s State Climatologist for the past 30 years as well as Distinguished Professor of Geography at Rutgers University, who established a baseline of  issues and provided a plethora of resources pertaining specifically to New Jersey’s changing climate. The Task Lead for the My NASA Data team, Angela Rizzi, introduced the Scholars to My NASA Data, its featured links, My NASA Data Explorer, and the Surface Temperature protocol of GLOBE training.  Desiray Wilson, Scientific Programmer, SSSAI, introduced the use of a My NASA Data Story Map throughInvestigating Urban Heat Islands. Dr. John Hasse, Professor in the Dept. of Geography, Planning & Sustainability and the founder/director of the Geospatial Research Laboratory at Rowan University, the department's hub for funded projects and community outreach activities, provided the Scholars with a comprehensive view of the NJ Map Tool.  Finally, Dr. Rick Lathrop, the Director of the Grant F. Walton Center for Remote Sensing & Spatial Analysis Rutgers University Ecological Preserve, and the Johnson Family Chair in Water Resources & Watershed Ecology, and a Professor of Environmental Monitoring in the Department of Ecology, Evolution & Natural Resources, Cook College, Rutgers University, shared implications of a changing climate and other threats on the conservation of a long distance migrant shorebird, the Red Knot.

Multiple sources of evaluation data verify that the year’s Institute was a success and that the hybrid format was both productive and provided flexibility. One Scholar expressed, “This institute is a wealth of knowledge and resources presented by experts and is a wonderful PLC bringing together talented educators who are willing to share resources and ideas!  The materials and resources gained through this institute are excellent! ”  Another wrote, “Missy and Kate did a wonderful job leading the Institute! They made sure to have many opportunities and ways for people to engage. They did a great job mixing groups and having us connect with many colleagues. There was a great diversity of speakers and many useful resources shared!”  It is satisfying to realize that the 2022 Maitland P. Simmons Memorial Award Summer Institute provided an “introduction and explanation of numerous NJ based resources to explain the science of NJ and the world.”

Report prepared by: 

Cheryl Zanone

2022 Institute Administrator

NJSTA Maitland P. Simmons Memorial Award Committee


“Climate change ‘unequivocal’ and ‘unprecedented,’ says new U.N. report.” and “The report paints an alarming picture but emphasizes there is still time for swift action to mitigate the worst of the projected impacts of climate change. (AAAS, 2021) What is the evidence? Where did this evidence come from? This workshop will dig-deep into evidence from data collected using satellites that supports claims that our climate is changing. This workshop will focus on satellite data - how it is collected, and strategies and tools we use to analyze and interpret it to understand our changing climate. Participants will gain experience accessing, analyzing, and interpreting satellite data in the context of phenomenon driven, three-dimensional lessons. The workshop will target grade-appropriate knowledge and skills in the science and engineering practices of Analyzing and Interpreting Data, Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking and Engaging in Argument from Evidence to support students in building conceptual understanding of science ideas about Earth’s climate. At the end of this four-day session, participants will have a tool-kit of accessible satellite data sources and digital tools to use to implement lessons using satellite data designed for the NGSS classroom.

Reference: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2021/08/climatechange-unequivocal-and-unprecedented-says-new-unreport 


Teachers and Leaders of Middle School Science (Grades 6-8)

This four-day Institute took place Monday, June 27– Thursday June 30, 2022 from 8:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. daily.

Institute Model and Location:

Monday Face-to-Face at the Scotch Plains-Fanwood School District while Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were remote.


Kate Soriano and Missy Holzer


The Institute is supported by the NJSTA Maitland P. Simmons Memorial Award (MPSMA) Endowment.  It covers all Institute costs for participants who attend the full 5-day Institute. Participants, known as MPSMA Scholars, will also receive upon completion of the 5-day Institute:

  • One-year NJSTA membership;
  • One-year online access to NJSTA monthly newsletter and resources;
  • One-day admission to the October 2022 New Jersey Science Convention.
  • Certificate for 30 Professional Development hours

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