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2012 Annual Science Report

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory - Icy Worlds Reporting  |  SEP 2011 – AUG 2012

EPO Activity: Icy Worlds E/PO: Crow Education Partnership: Science in a Cultural Context on the Crow Reservation

Project Progress

a. Monthly Classroom Visits: Monthly classroom visits with students and teachers were conducted by the MSU Education Specialist and graduate students. Visits have continued each month since the beginning of the project in December of 2009. The Crow Education Partnership works with two schools on or adjacent to the Crow Reservation (Hardin Intermediate and Crow Agency School) and focuses on 11, 4th and 5th grade classrooms and teachers with a record 16 visits during the 2012-2013 school year (11 teachers; 185 students). Topics covered included polar science, adaptations, microorganisms and batik, geology with plate tectonics and seismic waves (Slinkies); Yellowstone extremophiles, invasive species, rock identification and mineralogy, glacier dynamics, and a variety of lessons on climate change using the Environmental Literacy Framework curriculum (ELF). To date three trips to both schools have been accomplished as of October 2012. We will connect with schools remotely while in the field in Antarctica November 2012-Febuary 2013.

b. Student Climate Change Summit: Building on the 2 day teacher workshop offered in partnership with the Crow Tribe Education Department in October 2011(47 teachers attended), thirteen teachers and their students participated in the C2S2 climate change summit held March 3rd, 2012 (See newspaper article,) attached. Teachers used the Environmental Literacy Framework (ELF) activities demonstrated during the teacher workshop in their classrooms from October –March. Teachers across the reservation participated, and in response we travelled to Hardin, Crow Agency, and Lodge Grass twice a month from January to March. The summit consisted of students talking with scientists, presenting their science projects to the scientists and student peers, and participating in a video conference with students and teachers in Virginia and North Carolina. Eight graduate students from Montana State University participated.

c. MSU Fieldtrip: For the second year, 150 students travelled to Montana State University to participate in an afternoon of science activities on the MSU campus. Students enjoyed a lunch surrounded by scientists and graduate students in the football stadium. MSU President Wadad Cruzado, and student athlete and American Indian Science and Engineering Society President, Steven Davis spoke to the kids from Hardin Intermediate School. After the lunch sponsored by the Priscu Research Group, students participated in 2 of 10 different science activities offered. Students learned about robotics, rocks and minerals, nanotechnology, avalanches and snow science, Yellowstone ecology, and astrobiology.

d. Yellowstone National Park Fieldtrips: Through leveraging of partnerships with Yellowstone National Park, 3 different groups of students ~60 in total visited Yellowstone. In addition to repeat trips for Hardin middle and 4th grade students in the spring of 2012, we are able to offer an additional field trip opportunity to the Crow Agency School so that 20 4th and 5th grade students from Crow Agency, and their teachers and chaperones, spent 3 days and 4 nights participating in the residential environmental science camp Expedition Yellowstone. MSU Education Specialist, Susan Kelly participated in this experience. Thirty 4th graders from Hardin Intermediate will participate in Expedition Yellowstone in November 2012; with Crow School students participating in spring 2013. Over 100 kids, teachers, and parents from the community have experienced Yellowstone’s extremophiles firsthand as a result of this partnership as of October 2012.

e. Purchase and delivery of weather station: Weather station and rechargeable batteries were purchased in February and delivered to Hardin Intermediate School in April. The weather station was purchased because weather has been included in the 4th grade science standards and provides a real date experience for the students across the district. The weather station was installed in August 2012 due to building construction at the Hardin Intermediate School.

f. Participation in the National Science Teachers Association Conference, April 2012. Three teachers involved in the Crow Education Project co-presented at the NSTA national meeting. Ms. Devon Flamm from Hardin Intermediate School, Ms. Lisa Stevens from the Crow Agency School, and Ms. Jennifer Flatlip from the Crow Education Department attended the meeting and participated in the talk. Their participation was funded through an additional grant from the National Science Foundation and provided them with a professional development experience at the national level. We are very encouraged by increased interaction with the Crow Agency School this year, as teacher participation in monthly activities and in the Expedition Yellowstone experience catalyzed more interaction among teachers and the community.

g. Graduate students and the MSU Outreach Coordinator presented a poster about the Crow Education Project at the Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research (SCAR) meetings in Portland, Oregon, and facilitated a discussion about the success and challenges of integrating American Indian culture and science in the k-12 classroom with participating scientists and outreach personnel.

h. It is important to note that Icy Worlds monies have been used effectively to leverage additional funding for the project from the National Science Foundation, the American Honda Foundation and the Washington Foundation (~120K). Without the vital funding contribution by the NASA Astrobiology Institute, the success and growth of the Crow Education Partnership would not have been possible.

It’s Cold Outside!

Showing students from the Crow Nation how an astrobiologist needs to dress when conducting field research in Antarctica.