What better way to engage students in science than to apply lessons learned from fieldwork? This is the philosophy of Alaska teachers participating in the Arctic Expedition for K-12 Teachers, a program organized by the International Arctic Research Center (IARC) at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and a handful of international agencies.
For 33 days teachers from Alaska, Canada, France, Germany, Russia, Sweden and England will take atmospheric measurements, collect ice cores, install ice mass balance sensors and more, all under the guidance of an international team of polar researchers. Teachers and scientists will work together to collect data. Their work is based on the Kapitan Dranitsyn, an icebreaker currently cruising through the Arctic Ocean.
Todd Hindman, a teacher from Nome City School District, said This will give my students an opportunity to learn about the environment they live in, which will engage them in a meaningful way both inside and outside of the traditional classroom walls.
The experience will enhance my teaching by increasing my understanding of ocean systems, said Katie Turner, a science teacher at West Anchorage High School. It will give me real world experience and knowledge to share with my students.
The expedition advances scientists work in the fields of meteorology, biology, chemistry and oceanography. Five IARC scientists are aboard the Kapitan Dranitsyn, too, as part of the Nansen and Amundsen Basins Observational System (NABOS). Their aim is to better understand a flow of anomalous warm Atlantic water entering the Arctic Ocean. Preliminary data suggests this infusion of water from the Atlantic is increasing the temperature of the Arctic waters.
This is the Kapitan Dranitsyns fifth scientific cruise to the Arctic Ocean under the auspices of the NABOS program. The cruise ends Sept. 14.