K-12 Education

The Augmented-Reality Sandbox

Alaska EPSCoR' K-12 program supports Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education efforts across the state. These include:

The Modern Blanket Toss. Funded through a separate grant than EPSCoR's main award, this project uses unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to interest Alaskan high school students in STEM fields.

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 on it. The project is detailed in this video.

Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Seasons and Biomes. GLOBE Seasons and Biomes is a worldwide educational project in which K-12 students discuss climate change and learn about scientific inquiry through observing and documenting seasinak changes. Activities 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 EPSCoR supports GLOBE by providing funding and personnel for teacher training workshops.

Permafrost and Active Layer Monitoring. The PALM project is the work of University of Alaska Fairbanks faculty Kenji Yoshikawa, who has installed permafrost temperature monitoring systems at hundreds of public schools across Alaska and the Yukon and taught students how to monitor the sites as well as to record and report data. Alaska EPSCOR is supporting Yoshikawa to expand and continue the program in the areas of our test case sites.

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

The Kachemak Bay 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 EPSCoR research. 

MapTEACH. The Northern Test Case has 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.

Research Experience for Teachers. The Southeast Test Case has initiated a program to partner local teachers with test case scientists to conduct summer research and to discuss the projects in their classrooms. The program is an outgrowth of the Hike With the Scientists events, which are also the subject of this video.

Alaska Native Engagement Grants. Alaska EPSCOR is awarding 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. The first three grants were awarded in 2013: they went to UAF Instructor Jan Dawe, for “Integrating Cultural and Historical Knowledge with Ecological Processes Through Multimedia Visualization” (in connection with the Northern Test Case);  UAF Upward Bound Director John Monahan for “An Analysis of Ecological Change and Adaptation in Shishmaref Simulating the Northern Test Case model” (Northern Test Case); and KPC Anthropology Professor Alan Boraas for “Generational Perceptions of Kenai’s Changing Landscape” (Southcentral Test Case).

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