Project Atmosphere Details

Project Atmosphere Details

Pre-residence online work: July 5-23, 2022
On-site residence experience: July 24-29, 2022
Post-residence online work: July 30-August 4, 2022

National Weather Service Training Center (NWSTC)
Kansas City, Missouri


PLEASE NOTE: We are closely monitoring the potential impacts of the COVID pandemic on the planned residence component of this course. A decision regarding the residence component also going virtual will be made BEFORE invitations to participate are sent.


Project Atmosphere is an online and in-residence teacher professional development course with a one-week residence experience offered by the American Meteorological Society's Education Program in partnership with Pennsylvania Western University (PennWest) and the National Weather Service. This course is specifically designed for K-12 teachers who include weather content in their curriculum.

Participants will have the opportunity to:

  • Learn to interpret and analyze weather information acquired through direct and remote sensing of the environment
  • Gain an understanding of significant weather systems
  • Help promote atmospheric education by peer training fellow teachers in their community
  • Gain access to scientifically accurate and pedagogically robust instructional resource materials designed for teachers
  • Earn three graduate credits from Pennsylvania Western University upon completion of program requirements

Cost and Resources:

For Summer 2022, the Academic fee is being waived for all who are selected to participate.

Each participant will be supplied with a variety of instructional resource materials, including those to be used in peer-led teacher training sessions.

After successful completion of course activities, participants will:

  • Demonstrate updated knowledge concerning the sensing, analysis, and prediction of atmospheric conditions
  • Show evidence of being able to interpret and analyze weather information acquired through direct and remote sensing of the environment
  • Exhibit understanding of major weather systems and features, especially those that bring on hazardous conditions
  • Indicate how they intend to promote weather education in their home areas by peer training fellow teachers, especially those who teach students who are members of groups underrepresented in the sciences


To be eligible for Project Atmosphere, teachers including earth science in their curriculum should:

  • Have enough background knowledge or practice/experience with content to benefit from the course
  • Teach or supervise the instruction of weather or a similarly applicable course
  • Demonstrate interest in teaching, curriculum development, and/or the training of fellow teachers
  • Demonstrate willingness to promote the teaching of weather and climate in their home region through minimum of one training session for colleagues upon completion of the summer course

Participants will be selected to provide a national geographic distribution and a cross-section of school environments. Teachers interested in promoting participation by those traditionally underserved in STEM are strongly encouraged to apply.


There are three main components to Project Atmosphere: the residence experience, online activities, and post course peer training.  Successful completion of all aspects of these components is required to earn the graduate credits for the course.

Residence Experience: The Project Atmosphere on-site portion will be held at the U.S. National Weather Service Training Center (NWSTC) in Kansas City, Missouri.  The on-site, in-person portion of the course includes lectures, tutorials, seminars, hands-on laboratory exercises, and field trips.  The National Weather Service and other NOAA personnel will present a variety of topics dealing with the sensing, analyzing, and forecasting of weather.  Presentations will be articulated with science content and weather education presentations led by course faculty. Participants will have an active role and may be asked to share "best practices" from their home institution.

Online Activities: Prior to arrival at the NWSTC, teacher-participants will be enrolled in the PennWest Global Online program and course management system, D2L. Teacher-participants will be required to complete multiple online learning modules related to the atmospheric and related sciences. This preparatory work will enable teacher-participants to engage at a similar level of competency prior to arrival at the NWSTC. Participants will also have online modules/activities to complete after the conclusion of the in-person component of the course.

Post Course Peer Training: After the on-site and online components conclude, participants are required to lead a peer training for other K-12 teachers in their schools, districts, or communities that utilizes the concepts and materials learned during their Project Atmosphere experience.  More information about this component can be found on the page linked here (although in-depth details are shared with participants during the residence experience).

The course will include the following topics (online or on-site): 

  • Surface and upper-air observations and analysis
  • Radar imagery and interpretation
  • Satellite imagery interpretation
  • Weather forecasting
  • Thunderstorms and severe storms
  • Hurricanes
  • Global climate change
  • Teaching and dissemination of weather information

On-site activities typically extend from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM CDT each day.

Equipment Requirements

You will need a computer and high-speed Internet connection. If you are reading this on-screen with your own equipment and you can print it out, you are essentially ready for the online portion of Project Atmosphere. Course registration with Pennsylvania Western University will provide you with your own PennWest student email address and other resources and benefits available to all students at the University. Technical requirements for course engagement can be found here:

Participant Support

  • Stipend of $300
  • Single hotel room for six nights, arranged by AMS
  • Food and incidentals allowance of $200
  • Round-trip air or land travel from US home to Kansas City, MO
  • Instructional and laboratory supplies
  • Tuition
  • Set of instructional materials


The National Weather Service Training Center (NWSTC) will host the residential portion of the course.  NWSTC is one of the best equipped meteorological training facilities in the world.  It has computerized weather information systems found in NWS forecast offices, satellite and weather radar display systems, and is outfitted with classrooms, laboratories, and a full staff of instructors and support personnel.  NWSTC is collocated with the NWS Central Region Headquarters and the NWS Aviation Weather Center which is responsible for commercial and private aviation forecasting for the entire United States.


Participants will be expected to stay in hotel accommodations arranged by the AMS, as the course will be intensive and will involve several evening meetings. Informal interaction among participants during meals and evenings will be an integral component of the course.

Participants should attend without families as their presence is likely to detract from full participation. No support will be provided for dependents.

Academic Credit

Participants who complete all course requirements, including the submission of a follow-up report on their peer-training session, will earn three semester hours of graduate credit in ATMS 5014: Selected Topics in Atmospheric Studies through Pennsylvania Western University.

Credit will be awarded upon successful course completion and may be applied to a post-baccalaureate certificate from California University's School of Graduate Studies and Research.

Project Atmosphere Staff

  • Wendy Abshire, M.S., Director, Education Program, American Meteorological Society, Washington, DC
  • Chad M. Kauffman, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Math & Physical Science, Pennsylvania Western University, Curriculum Development Coordinator & DataStream Lead, AMS Education Program
  • Elizabeth Baugher, M.S., Content Specialist, Education Program, American Meteorological Society, Washington, DC
  • Abigail Stimach, K-12 Program Administrator, Education Program, American Meteorological Society, Washington, DC

Past Presenters:

  • Louis W. Uccellini, Director, National Weather Service, NOAA, Silver Spring, MD
  • Rick Knabb, Director, National Hurricane Center/Tropical Prediction Center, National Weather Service, Miami, FL
  • John Ogren, Director, Storm Prediction Center, National Weather Service, Norman, OK
  • Barbara Mayes Boustead, National Weather Service Forecast Office, Omaha, NE
  • Jerry M. Griffin, Master Instructor, Forecast Operations Programs, NWSTC, Kansas City, MO

Application Procedures

The 2023 application process will open in mid/late Fall.

Click here to learn how to apply to Project Atmosphere.

The application deadline will be posted in mid/late Fall, at the same time as the instructions to apply.

In selecting individuals for participation and otherwise in the administration of this course, the AMS will not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, religion, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, marital status, and status as a Vietnam Era or disabled veteran.


Questions regarding Project Atmosphere 2022 should be directed to