Science and Technology News

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

U.S. Students Experience Hands-on Science in Greenland

Joint Science Education Program brings high-school students to Arctic research sites

While most of the U.S. was battling record July heat, some U.S. students were seeing world-class research up-close in one of the world's coldest and most scientifically significant places: the tundra and ice sheet in Greenland.

The students--from the states of Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, New York and Washington--were in Greenland as part of the Joint Science Education Program (JSEP), a cultural and scientific exchange between Denmark, Greenland and the United States, under the guidance of teachers from all three nations.

The three-week JSEP experience was divided into two parts: the Greenlandic-led Field School--which took place in and around Kangerlussuaq, Greenland--and Science Education Week, in which students visited Danish and U.S. research stations on the Greenland Ice Sheet. The National Science Foundation coordinates the Science Education Week experience.

In addition to being on the ground during a rare widespread melt of the ice sheet's surface, the students descended into a pit at NSF's Summit Camp to see how annual snows turn into layers of ice; used off-the-shelf scientific tools as part of an NSF-funded distance-learning pilot project with students in Idaho; worked with researchers measuring Arctic methane releases as groundwork for building a sensor for a possible future Mars probe; and visited the multi-year, Danish-led North Greenland Eemian (NEEM) Ice Drilling project, a paleoclimate research program, just as drilling came to an end.


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