PHSC 420: Arctic Geophysics for Teachers

Students in PHSC 420: Arctic Geophysics for Teachers will assist PHYS 450 students in gathering sea ice data and will present those findings to students across southwestern Virginia via Skype. 

In addition to sharing the research findings, the education students will be showing students what Barrow looks like, conducting interviews with people who live in Barrow on Skype, conducting science experiments with the students from Barrow, and answering their students' questions. 

The education students will be talking not only with their students, but also with other schools throughout Southwestern Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina and Connecticut. The purpose of the Skype experience is to help to develop a better understanding of the scientific process, thus fostering critical thinking within young learners.

The education team will investigate whether Skype is a resourceful tool that can be used in their future classrooms to help students experience the world around them.

Taylor Hardwick will be examining what influences Skype sessions from Barrow may have on the books selected by elementary classroom students to read. She will keep a record of the titles that the students are reading in her class. Does talking more about Alaska and traveling to Barrow motivate her students to read more books related to Alaska? 

Erica Martin will be studying how using Skype and hands-on science activities that relate to Arctic research will influence how elementary students view science and scientists. By talking to the science students and viewing the research occurring in Barrow, she wants to understand what impact this will have on how they view science and who conducts scientific research. In particular, how does talking to females conducting scientific research in the field affect how her students view what a scientist looks like and where research is conducted?

Victoria Holdaway will not be traveling to Barrow, but will be helping Taylor’s and Erica’s students learn about the culture of Barrow. Her research will be using children’s literature books and Skype to see how elementary classroom students view different cultures. Victoria will read two different versions of Cinderella (Alaskan, Appalachian) to elementary students. The students will identify differences and similarities related to elements of a story as well as differences based on clothing, housing, types of animals and the landscapes. The students will be asked to draw a picture of what Cinderella’s house looks like, what she would be wearing, and what animals would be found near her house prior to reading the stories. After the stories and Skype sessions from Barrow, the students will be asked to draw Cinderella’s house, what she would be wearing, and what animals would be found near her house if she lived in Barrow, Alaska.