CYCLES 2nd follow up workshop was facilitated in partnership with the Will Steger Foundation located in Minneapolis, MN. Ms. Kristen Poppleton, Director of Education presented the workshop to the CYCLES cohort through an environmental education perspective. The Will Steger institute emphasizes on education, interdisciplinary approach and cultivating an environmental responsible citizenship among learners. Staying true to their commitment, Ms. Poppleton guided the teachers for teaching various middle and high school activities about climate science using an interdisciplinary, place-based and experiential approach. Her activities were focused on building awareness, attitudes and skills toward adaptation and mitigation of global climate change. The workshop also provided climate change interdisciplinary curricula and books for grades 3-12 free of cost to teachers. Aligned with national standards, the state standards and the climate literacy principles, each curriculum has been reviewed by educational organizations and partners. More information about Will Steger institute and their educational programs can be found on their website http://willstegerfoundation.org/
The STEM Education Center at the University of Minnesota in collaboration with the Department of Natural Resources facilitated the Project Wet workshop for the CYCLES teachers. This workshop was the first of the five follow-ups after the annual summer workshop at Itasca Biological Research Station, for the teachers enrolled in the CYCLES project. This workshop was held at the American Indian Resource Center at the Bemidji State University, Bemidji and was led by April Rust, the Minnesota coordinator for Project Wet who provided hands-on, interactive lessons focused on water resources and their management.
The Project WET activities addressed water’s chemical and physical properties, quantity and quality issues, aquatic wildlife, ecosystems, cultural issues, and management strategies. Along with promoting the understanding of water resources in Minnesota, this workshop was a showcase of variety of inquiry –based formats, such as large and small group learning, whole-body activities, laboratory investigations and discussion of local and global topics, which not only improved the understanding of water resources but also modeled inquiry-based teaching in the classroom.
“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks…..” John Muir
Summer 2012 was an outdoor experience for the CYCLES group. Teachers, researchers and facilitators spent a significant time amongst the various elements of nature, enjoying and learning from it every possible way. The adventure began on August 5, 2012 when the 2nd annual workshop began at Itasca Biological Research Station. Located at the convergence of coniferous, eastern deciduous and tall grass prairie ecosystems, Itasca Biological Research Station provided an excellent opportunity for understanding habitats in their pristine forms. Workshop participants stayed on-site at the research station and engaged in hands-on activities, excursions and field trips about this year’s theme of the impact of Global Climate Change on Water Resources in US. Itasca being the headwaters of the Mississippi river turned out to be the most optimal location for having scientific and culturally relevant conversations around water.
We started off with a Native water blessing ceremony and then proceeded this culturally congruent experience towards discussions involving western science. Using limnological techniques to study various physico-chemical parameters like lake depth, turbidity, water temperature, dissolved oxygen (DO), salinity, and density, the participants examined Lake Itasca’s water quality. Then through extensive data-based discussions, the group was able to generate an understanding about how seasonal variations in lakes are experiencing long-term impacts due to the changing climate. By focusing on some key concepts like dissolved oxygen, salinity and pressure, the participants were able to understand the importance of watershed drainage and anthropogenic nutrient pollution in the water bodies of Minnesota.
As if canoeing on the lake and nature walks were not enough fun, we were also able to participate in a high altitude ballooning experience. High-altitude ballooning involves using helium-filled (or hydrogen-filled) weather balloons to lift payloads (boxes containing data collection instruments) into the upper atmosphere (up to about 90,000 feet). Balloons grow in the upper atmosphere until they spontaneously burst, after which the payload returns to the ground by parachute. On-board GPS receivers and ham radios send out location information using APRS format so the balloon can be tracked from the ground and recovered.
Through out the week, we were fortunate enough to have Native researchers and teachers on the team who guided our efforts and experiences and kept the knowledge flow culturally relevant. This cohort plans to meet for five follow up workshops where these conversations will be carried on in greater details and even more focused on specific issues related to water quality and global climate change.
The first group of the CYCLES teachers for lake core analysis visited LacCore laboratory at the University of Minnesota at Feb 11th to analyze the Lake Itasca’s lake sediment cores. The second group of the teachers will visit to do same analysis at Feb 25th. The lake core analysis workshop was started by Dr Amy Mybro’s presentation of the importance of studying lake cores for constructing past climate and description of the process of the lake core sampling at different geological locations as well as different seasons (on water or ice). After the presentation, the real analysis of the sediment core from Lake Itasca started by cutting the core’s plastic tube using a safe cutting machine. After cutting the core by half, the core were analyzed under different high tech machines to describe it’s color, chemical composition, magnetic minerals, density, etc. Teachers described the lake cores using a worksheet developed by the LacCore, made the smear slides using a part of the sediment they picked, analyzed the slide under high resolution microscope.
Please find detailed process of analyzing the lake core from the Initial Core Description website of the LacCore:http://lrc.geo.umn.edu/laccore/icd.html
The first 2012 CYCLES workshop was held at Lake Itasca, University of Minnesota’s
Itasca Biological Station and Laboratories at Jan 21st. The workshop was for collecting the lake’s sediment core samples at five different locations. The lake core team from University of Minnesota’s Limnology Research Center, LacCore leading by Dr. Amy Mybro helped the CYCLES teachers to collect lake sediment samples over the ice.
The five different locations were chose because of the lake unique topology to understand geological and biological interactions and events that have happened during last 10000 years. It will reveal the long ecological history of the lake when we do the analysis at the next workshop, which will be held in two weeks at the LacCore laboratory at the University of Minnesota at TwinCities.
The following information was found at Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Itasca
Lake Itasca is a small glacial lakein the Headwaters area of north central Minnesota. The lake is home to the University of Minnesota’s Itasca Biological Station and Laboratories campus, which offers summer courses and field research work year round. When it was founded the Lake Itasca region was able to boast that it was the juncture of the three great habitats of North America. The Great Plains, the Deciduous Forest of the south, and the Coniferous Forest of the north. To this day, remnants of all three may be observed in the park.The Ojibwe name for “Lake Itasca” was Omashkoozo-zaaga’igan (Elk Lake); this was changed by Henry Schoolcraft to “Itasca”, coined from a combination of the Latin words veritas (“truth”) and caput (“head”).
Find more information about Lake Itasca from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Itasca
USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Maps
Description: The US Department of Agriculture recently updated their plant hardiness zone maps, which are “the standard by which gardeners and growers can determine which plants are most likely to thrive in a certain location.” They calculate this map based on average minimum winter temperature.
Note: The Washington Post has a cool visualization that allows you to compare 1990 and 2012 plant hardiness maps here (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/local/planthardinesszones/index.html). Think about ways your students could use these maps to explore ideas about climate.
CYCLES’s November workshop was held at Bemidji middle school at Sat Nov 19th. The workshop is for helping teachers to understand Big Ideas in the climate change literacy and how to use the big ideas for their lesson planning to teach climate change.
During the workshop, we began by concept mapping to review what we learned about climate change over the summer and capture our growing understanding of climate change. From the concept maps, we talked about “Big Ideas” in climate change and how they relate to standards. We reviewed two documents – Climate Literacy Principles (from NOAA) and Science Literacy Maps (from AAAS) – that provide helpful language for setting goals for classroom activities and curricula. From there, we discussed a possible way of developing a unit on climate and weather, starting with standards and mapping them onto activities.
One of the activities we looked at was the American Museum of Natural History’s Climate Events visualization. We talked about how this could be used in a classroom as an introduction to weather and climate, and could connect with other activities that look at data. We also try to address the big ideas in Native perspectives. As an example, we read a Native American story – “Gluscabi and the Wind Eagle” – from Joseph Bruchac’s book, Keepers of the Earth. We took turns reading the story as a group and discussed appropriate ways in which teachers could incorporate these into their curriculum.
In the afternoon, we focused more on the Big ideas about “climate vs climate change”, which is addressed in the Climate Literacy Principle 4A and 4C. Teachers spent time in the computer lab manipulating climate data from a user friendly climate data website “NOAA’s US Climate at a Glance” http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/cag3/cag3.html. Teachers looked at different set of climate data by region as well as by different climate condition such as precipitation, temperature, and weather events. They manipulated the data to find if the change of climate conditions indicate climate change. Teachers also looked at different representation of the climate data and interpreted the representations to understand climate change by specific region they chose from the website.
The teacher resources are categorized based on 7 Climate Literacy Principles. You can find the page under the teacher resources tab. Or, Click Here to visit the page. While getting more resources, we will keep sharing them under these principles.
You can also use Blogroll at the right side of the page to see the resources easily.
Natural Wild Rice in Minnesota
Description: A Wild Rice Study document submitted to the Minnesota Legislature by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (February 15, 2008). To study natural wild rice in Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MNDNR) established a Technical Team of wild rice experts from State, Tribal, and Federal governments, as well as academia and the private sector. The MNDNR also established a Partnership Team representing major stakeholders. This document is a report of the study that includes: (1) the current location and estimated acreage and area of natural stands; (2) potential threats to natural stands, including, but not limited to, development pressure, water levels, pollution, invasive species, and genetically engineered strains; and (3) recommendations to the house and senate committees with jurisdiction over natural resources on protecting and increasing natural wild rice stands in the state.