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Heritage Middle School Scholars Work with NASA to Classify Snowflakes
Scholars in Ms. Aileen Toback’s science class at Heritage Middle School participated in a STEM engagement beta testing opportunity entitled: “MASC Snowflake ID.” Heritage Middle School scholars helped contribute to NASA’s work and NASA’s Global Precipitation Mission (GPM) in understanding climate change by categorizing snowflakes using a Multi-Angle Snowflake Camera (MASC). The purpose of the project was to involve students in the science of snowflake classification through Zoonverse, while simultaneously building a dataset that will be used to "teach" machine learning algorithms to automatically identify other, larger sets of snowflakes.
Through this project students had the opportunity to gain a better understanding of snowflake formation, growth, and sedimentation beginning with the initiation of ice crystals in cold clouds. They are also able to better comprehend how these small-scale processes influence larger scale events, leading to changes in cloud coverage, water distribution, energy balance, and global temperatures.
The science of classification is a common theme throughout all fields of science and is an important skill for our students to develop.
Ms. Aileen Toback was recently named a Climate Change Research Initiative Education Ambassador for NASA. This opportunity presented itself as a result of her work as an education ambassador.
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