Product Type
Denali National Park, Alaska, United States

Climate Change: Seeing, Understanding, and Teaching   

The Denali field camp course, offered through Alaska Geographic, is a four-day immersive teacher professional development course held in Denali National Park. The course was developed by Sarah Bartholow with the assistance of various partners. PolarTREC and ARCUS staff play the role of lead organizer and facilitator for the course, as well as bringing in the invited program alumni as a guest instructor.  The course focus promotes developing teachers’ skills for integrating climate change content into their existing classrooms and/or curricula. A PolarTREC (Teachers and Researchers Exploring and Collaborating) program teacher-leader was a feature of the summer 2014 course; this teacher was involved in the course planning phase, and engaged both formally through giving lessons and informally through casual conversation with participating teachers throughout their field course. The intention of the inclusion of a PolarTREC teacher-expert is to enhance translatability between the experience of doing science as facilitated by the course scientists, and the practical constrictions faced by teachers when they then seek to engage climate change issues and ideas their classroom.  

As a requirement of the course, participants produced capstones based on their knowledge, interest, and teaching position. The related resources are lesson created by the 2014 participants.  

2014 Denali Climate Change Course Final Report

Denali Field Camp, offered through Alaska Geographic, is a four-day immersive teacher professional development course held in Denali National Park. At the end of the 2014 field course, Goldstream Group conducted interviews with five course participants, one participating National Parks scientist, the course facilitator, and the PolarTREC teacher-leader. Major themes emerged from respondent interviews, both with participants and staff that are expanded upon in the report.

Teaching Climate Change: Science in the Classroom

During the 2014 field course, PolarTREC instructor Bruce Taterka taught educators how to take complex science, like climate change research, and adapt it into a high school-appropriate lesson. NPS media team captured the impact of PolarTREC alumni teachers on the course as a whole.  

Credit / Author: NPS Video / Katie Thoresen  

AK to NSTA: Highlights of climate change course in Alaska for local and global teaching

Presenter: Sarah Bartholow  

A four-day field course?! Get the scientific highlights, skills to deal with skeptics, and educator's activities for climate change education in your classroom.

A four-day professional development field course, entitled "Climate Change: Seeing, Understanding, and Teaching" is held annually in Denali National Park, facilitated by partnering education organizations. Participants from around the U.S. join scientists and expert polar educators to view evidence of climate change in tundra dynamics, glaciers, and shifting habitats. The goal of the course is to provide classroom teachers with experience and information about climate change, which can integrate into existing science education curricula. Teaching climate change locally and globally is task best accomplished with a network of experienced educators. We bring that expert network to NSTA and empower educators to tackle the science and engage the students.  

With an overview of the field course, we will dive right into the issues of climate change and the activities perfected by polar educators. To bring home the message of the course, participants will try out climate change activities such as interpreting seasonal carbon graphs, creating vegetation plots to determine baseline data, and measuring CO2 flux straight from the tundra. Participants will See, Understand, and be better able to Teach climate change. Complimenting the hands-on components of the session, virtual resources as well as polar and climate professional networks will be highlighted.