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The first page in FLORIDA TODAY  
SWEDISH EDUCATORS observe several students from Enterprise Elementary Shool in Port St. John.

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Students observe their world for analysis

By Dan Klepal

PORT ST JOHN – Teachers from Sweden are visiting Enterprise Elementary school this week, hoping to make the globe a little smaller and a lot greener.

The high school and college instructors are learning about a program called Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environrnent, or GLOBE. It is a program started  by Vice President Al Gore that now is taught at 5,000 schools in 70 countries, from Argentina to Uruguay.
The idea of the program is to have a worldwide network of primary and secondary students making observations about their small slices of the world, then reporting those findings over the Internet, where adult scientists analyze the data.
   Dr. Eilert Hornberg, managing director of the International Education and Development Centre in Umea/Uppsala, Sweden, said he hopes 'the teachers from his country who are visiting Florida will spread the word about GLOBE and become certified GLOBE instructors.
"It is a new approach," Hornberg said. "It's a way of letting children see for themselves how to check the factors in their environment and the consequences of change. It's a wonderful way to learn."
   Five schools in Brevard County have GLOBE instructors - Eau Gallie High School, Cape View Elementary, Meadowlane Elementary, Indialantic Elementary and Enterprise Elementary. Brenda Dibler, a fourth-grade teacher at Enterprise and a trainer for GLOBE at the University of Central Florida, said GLOBE studies can be applied to many curricula math, science and social studies.
Dibler's students have performed experiments, such as testing pH the degree of acidity or alkalinity in ponds, evaluating cloud cover and calculating tree height by using data about the tree's diameter.
   "The children become scientists," Dibler said. "It's a way of bringing the world of science and math close to them in a meaningful way. Then real scientists use the data for their own research."

  GLOBE studies include:

  • Atmosphere/climate: Measuring air temperature, cloud cover and precipitation.
  • Hydrology: Measuring surface water temperatures, wather chemistry and transparency.
  • Soils: Measuring moisture, temperature and characterization.
  • Land cover: Measuring the extent of canopy and ground cover, tree height and species identification.

Dibler said the students in different countries talk over the Internet so they learn about different cultures and customs.
   Staffan Hornberg, who is vice president of IEDC, said his country faces many, of the same problems as the United States - spiraling growth, pollution, species extinction and the need for conservation. "The most important thing we can take home is the inspiration," Staffan Homberg said. "We all have the same problems, so getting children involved in those discussions is very important."

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