The incorporation of informal science modules with traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) engages students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) courses. During the summers 2012–2015, Iḷisaġvik Tribal College, located in Barrow, AK, hosted an average of 12 rural Alaska Native middle-school and high school students per year in the college’s summer STEM program called “Climate and Permafrost Changes on the North Slope: In Cultural Context.” Teaching the carbon cycle as a core concept, this 2-week STEM program examined climate change and its effects on the local landscape from a multitude of perspectives. Elders shared their observations and experiences associated with climate change. Local and visiting scientists gave presentations and taught through games, hands-on laboratory simulations, and practical field work—all relevant to the camp’s science content. Pre-assessments and post-assessments using the Student Assessment of Learning Gains measured student interests and conceptual understanding. Students developed and enhanced their understanding of science concepts and, at the end of the camp, could articulate the impact of climactic changes on their local environment.
Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 2, 2016
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