Polar Science: JSEP and Beyond

Over the past three years, Dartmouth graduate students and faculty have been working with high school educators from New Hampshire and Vermont to develop a set of polar science lesson plans for use in high school classrooms. Each JSEP Graduate Fellow is tasked with developing a stand-alone lesson plan, based on their work with JSEP students in Greenland, that will become freely accessible as a community resource for K-12 teachers. Each lesson plan targets specific Next Generation Science Standards or Common Core while highlighting the importance of polar environments and polar science.

Today we are excited to share the first of those lesson plans. Created by recent Earth Science graduate Dr. Ruth Heindel, The World of Lichens introduces students to these symbiotic organisms that can survive in some of the harshest environments on Earth. Students complete an inquiry-driven project and get hands-on practice with the scientific method while learning about the important role that lichens play in ecosystems and as a scientific tool. Follow the link above for the lesson plan and supporting materials, including Dr. Heindel’s video: The World of Lichens: Beautiful & Underappreciated.

We owe a huge thanks to Dr. Heindel for her great contributions to JSEP and her dedication to inspiring students though her science, teaching, and art. Dr. Heindel is now a post-doc at INSTAAR in Boulder, Colorado where she is continuing her research on landscape evolution and biogeochemical cycling in rapidly changing alpine and polar environments.

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Dr. Ruth Heindel speaks to JSEP high school students in Greenland, July 2016. 




Dartmouth’s new partnership with JSEP

The National Science Foundation recently awarded Dartmouth the lead role in implementing the U.S. contributions to the Joint Science Education Project (JSEP) in Greenland. Since 2011, our graduate students in the IGERT Polar Environmental Change program have been contributing to this program by sharing their science with the JSEP students and teachers from Greenland, Denmark, and he U.S. We are looking forward to our leadership role in Science Education Week and our continued, but now formal, collaboration with Kasper Busk, the lead JSEP educator from Greenland.


Kasper Busk and Erica Wallstrom (Einstein Fellow) designing the JSEP curriculum in Hanover, New Hampshire. May 2015.