GI scientists aid teacher workshop focused on cryosphere

Release Date: 
Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Fairbanks, Alaska—Despite the stark contrasts in terrain that surround middle schools throughout the state, the schools have one thing in common – access to an active, exciting cryosphere. The world of ice and snow is the arena in which 20 middle school teachers from across the state will explore in a three-day professional development workshop involving expertise from the University of Alaska Fairbanks Feb. 28 to March 2, 2013. Geophysical Institute professor Matthew Sturm is the scientific advisor for CryoConn, a workshop designed to provide secondary school teachers with outdoor activities, lesson ideas and materials that can be incorporated into their classrooms. The goal is to teach teachers, so they can better their science instruction and encourage young people to pursue science, technology, engineering and math for future study and careers.


“We have a huge multiplier when we reach out to teachers,” Sturm said. “The teachers each work with hundreds of students over the years. It would take me a long time to connect with that many kids when I’m out in the field in rural Alaska.”


CryoConn participants will earn continuing education course credits and will handle a variety of ice and learn about permafrost and the subnivean world where animals’ unique physiology allow them to endure the cold. UAF scientists will share their knowledge as part of the workshop that is slated to take part at the GI, the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory Permafrost Tunnel in Fox and the grounds at Chena Hot Springs Resort.


Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics for Alaska, a statewide K-12 program at the Juneau Economic Development Council, organized CryoConn, with help from the GI.  The U.S. Department of Defense National Defense Education Program, the State of Alaska and the NASA Space Grant Program sponsor the 2013 workshop.


ADDITIONAL CONTACTS: Matthew Sturm, GI professor, at 907-474-5257 or Mary Hakala, CryoConn program coordinator, 907-523-2334 or