New Program Brings the Arctic to the Classroom
By: Janet Warburton, ARCUS Project Manager
The Arctic in the Classroom (TAC) is a recently developed program created by the Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. (ARCUS) that partners scientists, educators, and communities to improve Arctic education. This four-year program educates K-12 teachers, students, communities, and others about the Arctic. Our goal is to identify best practices for how to administer both citizen science and community-based monitoring programs that are applicable for Arctic communities. We aim to use this information to help researchers engage Arctic communities in their work and offer students and teachers a window into the relevancy of science projects in their communities. Support for this program is provided by the Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. (ARCUS) and applicable community service payments from federal court settlements.
Over the next four years, we will: 1) actively engage Arctic K-12 students, teachers, and community members with local research projects through a citizen science framework; 2) manage collaborative development of K-12 Arctic-focused educational resources based on citizen science contributions to research; 3) disseminate Arctic-focused educational resources and make these available to teachers in Alaska and nationwide; and 4) develop ARCUS' role in helping researchers to meet their outreach goals, including by utilizing citizen science projects. The project also involves an external evaluation being conducted by Goldstream Group Inc., of Fairbanks, Alaska.
In March 2016, our first workshop was held in Fairbanks, Alaska to coincide with the Arctic Science Summit Week (ASSW). At the Make an Impact workshop, seven K-12 educators who currently teach in Alaskan Arctic communities and ten researchers who conduct research in the Alaskan Arctic came together with the common interest of implementing a citizen science and/or community-based monitoring project in Arctic Alaska. For three days, they worked to co-create citizen science projects that will engage communities and students in local research efforts. At the end of the workshop, the self-selected teacher-researcher teams assembled their ideas into draft plans to bring citizen science into Arctic communities. These plans will be refined and implemented in the months and years ahead.
More information about The Arctic in the Classroom, including the report from the Make an Impact workshop, can be found here.
Inquiries about this program can be directed to info [at] arcus.org
Thank you to Sarah Bartholow, formerly with ARCUS, for her contributions and leadership throughout this project's development.