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Airplanes and the Atmosphere Short Course

Do you want to learn more about weather and climate? Are you interested in lesson plans and supplies for your classes? The NYCCSSE and the American Museum of Natural History have teamed up to create an exciting new curriculum called Airplanes & the Atmosphere: Investigating Human Impact on Earth’s Climate.  This summer we are offering a p-credit course to support the use of this curriculum.   

Participating teachers will received the complete curriculum, including all lesson plans, student sheets, overheads, and assessments; AMNH Membership; AMNH Science Bulletins DVD; PBS DVD “Dimming the Sun”; and a classroom set of stop watches or a digital scale.

Using an inquiry-based approach, the curriculum module is structured to systematically explore the connections between the atmosphere, weather, climate, and airplanes. In the p-credit course, teachers will strengthen their knowledge of weather and climate as they develop strategies for implementing the curriculum in their classroom. Emphasis will also be placed on assessing student work.

The course will meet Monday to Friday from August 4th to August 8th.  Course sessions will be either at the NYCCSSE or the AMNH. P-credits can be applied towards salary differential (3 credits) or professional development hours (30 hours). The curriculum is intended for Regents Earth Science classes. For more information, call (212) 608.6164 x112.

To register, go to . The course number is P17-200SS08.

A Curriculum Module for New York City Earth Science Teachers

We live at the bottom of an ocean of air that is 10 miles deep. This ocean of gases pushes on us from all directions and contains all the weather that we experience. It is our blanket of protection against the vacuum of space. Humans have designed and built airplanes that soar through our atmosphere just as boats move on over oceans of water. However, as global air traffic rapidly expands, its impact on the Earth’s environment is increasing as well. This curriculum module will guide you and your students through an exploration of this important topic in the context of an Earth science curriculum.

The New York City Center for Space Science Education (NYCCSSE) and the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) are partners in the effort to bring real-world science to life for students in ways that supplement and strengthen their classroom experience. The NYCCSSE offers in-depth, hands-on laboratory experiences in aeronautics and space science. AMNH offers scientific research, real-world exhibits, objects, professional development, and online resources that tap into the authentic questions that students are faced with in their curriculum. Together, this module will develop a connection and continuum between the NYCCSSE and the AMNH that will support Earth science teachers and students in New York City.

This module is structured around essential, authentic questions such as “How do airplanes affect the atmosphere?” A question like this one provides students with a motivation for understanding climate change and weather, two topics that are addressed at both the NYCCSSE’s aeronautics laboratory and the AMNH’s Gottesman Hall of Planet Earth. We hope you and your students enjoy exploring the air that surrounds you and the airplanes in the sky above you.


Many of the lessons in Airplanes and the Atmosphere use resources that can be found on the internet. For the links to those resources, click here.


For a list of all the materials used in Airplanes and the Atmosphere, click here.