Cover Photo Image

Science On a Sphere is location 4 on the tour. The following description also appears on the Story Map.

JMU was the first university to install Science On a Sphere® (SOS), which was developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as a captivating way to illustrate Earth System Science to people of all ages. To minimize environmental impact, some second-hand furniture and equipment, as well as environmentally preferable carpet, were selected for the facility. At JMU, faculty across many disciplines use SOS as a pedagogical tool in courses. The local community benefits too, as access extends to K-12 students through JMU’s Middle School Visit Program and the STEM Education & Outreach Center. The programs often highlight our globally-connected society and how the actions in one place affect the well-being of other places.

While SOS is most often employed at JMU for science education, it is applicable to any discipline. Students and faculty from Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication; Art and Art History; and the College of Education have completed projects with SOS. JMU faculty and staff who would like to use SOS should email

SOS Projection
SOS Projection
SOS Projection

Faculty and Student Perceptions of Learning on a Spherical Display System, Christie-Joy Hartman, Joy Ferenbaugh, Kristen St. John, and Jennifer Mangan, 14th Annual National Conference and Global Forum of the National Council for Science and the Environment: Building Climate Solutions, Washington, DC, January 28-20, 2014.


ASTR 120. The Solar System (General Education Course, Cluster 3)

ELED 432. Children and Science

ELED 434. Children and Social Studies

GEOG 350. Topics in Geography

GEOL 115. Earth Systems and Climate Change (General Education Course, Cluster 3)

GEOL 301. Earth Sciences for Teachers (General Education Course, Cluster 3)

GEOL 406. Paleoclimatology and Paleoceanography

SCI 166. Environment in Context

ISAT 100. Environmental and Energy Sustainability (General Education Course, Cluster 3)

ISAT 112. Environmental Issues in Science and Technology (General Education Course, Cluster 3)

ISAT 302. Instrumentation and Measurement of the Environment

ISAT 480. Selected Topics in Integrated Science and Technology

IA 342. Visualization Methods, Technologies and Tools for Intelligence Analysis

IDLS 395. Topics in Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies

SCOM 461. Public Relations Campaigns

Example Project: C. Ham satisfied a six-credit capstone requirement for a Master of Arts in Writing, Rhetoric & Technical Communication by completing a 300 hour internship in Spring 2019.  As part of that internship, the narrated movie below, which challenges us to think about how environmental stewardship is and can be integrated in our lives at JMU, was created for use with Science On a Sphere outreach programs.

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