Middle school students to learn rocket science and more at UAF

Release Date: 
Wednesday, April 19, 2006

For Immediate Release

Thirty-six rural students will visit the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus for a two-day intensive program meant to polish their science and math skills. Middle school students from Chalkyitsik, Beaver, Kaltag and Unalakleet will learn the basics of rocket science, climate and the water cycle as part of the Science &Math Enrichment Program (SMEP).

Through SMEP, students will participate in a variety of hands-on activities, such as building weather instruments and launching rockets. The activities will take students to the International Arctic Research Center, the Geophysical Institute, Poker Flat Research Range and the Institute of Arctic Biology’s greenhouse.

Beyond the immersion into activities focusing on science and math, students will have the opportunity to work directly with scientists and visit the university campus. For many students this will be their first trip away from family and into an urban setting. Organizers of the program hope SMEP will spur students to pursue science careers and attend college at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF).

The Science & Math Enrichment Program is sponsored by the International Arctic Research Center and funded by the National Science Foundation.



Media are invited to observe all SMEP activities and visit with students, their teachers, and UAF employees during the two-day event. All participating students may be photographed and/or interviewed.

Amy Hartley, Geophysical Institute Information Officer: (907) 474-5823 

Science & Math Enrichment Program Schedule

Thursday, April 20, 2006:
8:00-8:30 a.m. Welcome and student pretest in Geophysical Institute (GI) Auditorium.
8:30-10:15 a.m. Students are divided into groups. Group #1 travels to the International Arctic Research Center, Room 501, for rocket building. Group #2 boards bus to Institute of Arctic Biology’s (IAB) Greenhouse to learn about greenhouse effects, the water cycle and clouds.
10:30 to 12:00 p.m. Groups switch. Group #1 travels to the IAB greenhouse for activities, while Group #2 participates in rocket building at IARC.
12:10-12:40 p.m. Lunch in IARC 501.
12:50-1:20 p.m. Groups #1 and #2 learn about wind weighting. Group #1 is in the IARC Lobby and Group #2 is in the GI Globe Room.
2:00-3:30 p.m. All students launch rockets. Launching will take place in the field across from Georgeson Botanical Garden on the UAF campus.
4:00-5:00 p.m. Students apply data from their rocket launches in a rocket math activity. Group #1 goes to IARC 501. Group #2 stays in the IARC Lobby.
5:30-6:00 p.m. Eat dinner at Wedgewood Resort Café.
6:00-6:40 p.m. Each village school provides cultural presentations to one another.
6:40-7:15 p.m. Students sign T-shirts and distribute gifts.

Friday, April 21, 2006:
9:15-11:15 a.m. Students tour Poker Flat Research Range. Three groups rotate between the Blockhouse, the Launch Pad, and the LIDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) Observatory.

Amy Hartley, Geophysical Institute Information Officer: (907) 474-5823