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Polar Scientists Collaborate With Students for Crow Education Partnership

A team of Montana State University Polar scientists, graduate students and outreach personnel are collaborating with students and teachers on the Crow Reservation in South Central Montana. This partnership provides science enrichment activities for 10 fourth-grade classrooms in three different schools on or near the reservation, and professional development for their teachers. The Crow Education Partnership includes monthly hands-on science activities, field experiences and video conferencing technology to increase student's excitement about science.

The project supports hands-on science for students, and professional development for teachers through face-to-face workshops, video-conferencing and modeling in the classroom. Students work one-on-one with the scientists, which allows them to envision their own future as scientists, and understand the critical role of the Poles in the health of our planet.

The project also provides opportunities for graduate students and early-career scientists to learn more about the challenges of K-12 education and strategies for communicating. The monthly interaction is integral to building trust and maintaining a relationship with the community.

The project has been developed in partnership with the Crow Education Department and the Hardin School District. It is building a strong foundation for STEM learning in a cultural context. As a result of the partnership, 80 students, teachers and parents participated in a 4-day environmental science program in Yellowstone National Park and more than 250 kids have visited the MSU campus for hands-on STEM activities.

For the 2012-2013 school year now, the program added four participating classes. The students will follow the NSF WISSARD (Whillans Ice Stream Subglacial Access Research Drilling) science expedition to Antarctica in winter 2013.


Images (1 of )

  • photo of five students, three with hands inside plastic bags in plastic tub; they are investigating temperature changes
  • photo of smiling student
Students investigate animal adaptation to cold by measuring temperature change and experimenting with blubber gloves.
Angie Solvie, Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences, Montana State University
Future polar scientist modelling gear worn by Antarctica scientists.
Susan Kelly, Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences, Montana State University

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