K-12 Education

Modern Blanket Toss students

Alaska EPSCoR's K-12 program supports science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education efforts across the state. Over the six years of the current Alaska NSF EPSCoR project, these have included:

Teaching Through Technologies. "T3" is a nationwide program run by Alaska NSF EPSCoR and Alaska Upward Bound that uses unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), 3D printers and codeable digital devices to excite high school students across the nation in STEM fields. The program is a successor to The Modern Blanket Toss, a three-year project that used UAVs and GIS technology to interest Alaskan high school students in STEM.

The Augmented-Reality Sandbox. EPSCoR collaborated with the Geographic Information Network of Alaska to create this novel K-12 outreach tool, a sandbox with an interactive topographic map projected onto it.

Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE). GLOBE is an international science and education program that provides students and the public worldwide with the opportunity to participate in data collection and the scientific process, and to contribute meaningfully to our understanding of the Earth system and global environment. GLOBE activities in Alaska have included an international videoconference and Web forum; professional teacher development workshops; and class and individual investigations into plant and ice phenology and other climatic topics by K-12 students across Alaska and the world. GLOBE teachers and students have developed protocols for measuring climate change through phenomena such as times of river freeze-up and break-up, permafrost measurements taken through frost tubes, and mosquito observations and statistics. Alaska NSF EPSCoR has supported GLOBE by providing funding and personnel for teacher training workshops.

Association of Women in Science. Alaska EPSCoR has partnered with the Alaska chapter of AWIS to provide small cash prizes to female winners at Alaska science fairs.

The Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. The Southcentral Test Case has contributed to several "Discovery Lab" events at this Homer-based reserve, which expose schoolchildren to aquatic science and some of the ideas behind Alaska EPSCoR research.

MapTEACH. The Northern Test Case led several school activities through MapTEACH, a program in which students use GPSes and maps to understand the local landscape from scientific, cultural and personal perspectives.

Hike With the Scientists. The Southeast Test Case held two "Hike With the Scientists" events, in which local educators were taught about test case research during an expedition to Herbert Glacier outside of Juneau. The first event is detailed in the video below.

Adventure Learning. The Southcentral Test Case conducted an "Adventure Learning" program in 2015-17 in which test case researchers and staffers worked with teachers in the Kenai Peninsula and Anchorage to engage students in outdoor activities and excite them about STEM fields. SCTC personnel helped organize multiple field experiences for students, such as ice coring and fish surveys.

Janteh Science Camp. Alaska NSF EPSCoR assisted with this summer science camp put on for young members of the Kenaitze Tribe on the Kenai Peninsula.

Alaska Native Engagement Grants. Alaska NSF EPSCoR awarded two rounds of grants to UA faculty to undertake projects designed to increase the interest of Alaska Native K-12 or university students in STEM research.

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