EO-09. The Drifting North Polar Planetarium Experience, engaging middle and high school students with the MOSAiC Expedition
The 2019-2020 MOSAiC (Multidisciplinary Drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate) research expedition was one of the most extensive multinational expeditions ever conducted in the Central Arctic. Involving hundreds of people from nearly 20 nations, the expedition was a testament to what can be achieved and overcome through teamwork and collaboration, creative problem solving, grit and perseverance, and curiosity. In the science classroom, it isn’t uncommon for these real, important, and relatable facets of the nature of science to be left out of the science content taught, to the disservice of students’ learning experiences. Science learning can be much more engaging for students when taught through the context of an exciting expedition, like MOSAiC, that allows students to see the authentic process of science in action, including the people involved, the challenges faced, and the food consumed on board a research ship. Members of the CIRES Education & Outreach (E&O) team will share three key lessons learned from more than a year of MOSAiC E&O efforts on how to engage both students and scientists in science learning and outreach: 1) Expeditions like MOSAiC can be compelling hooks for engaging students in science learning, especially when students can make authentic connections to people and places; 2) The nature and process of science is about more than the scientists and successes. This is important to teach in the classroom; 3) Variety is the spice of life for both science students and scientists. We will expand on these lessons learned by sharing examples of the MOSAiC outreach resources and opportunities that we developed, facilitated, and shared after the expedition. These resources include two full-dome planetarium shows about the expedition (Drifting North: Into the Dark; Drifting North: Arctic Pulse) and a curriculum that is built to support field trips and student engagement. The Drifting North Polar Planetarium field trip features the Drifting North films paired with immersive polar learning activities and pre-/post-field trip classroom curriculum, full-length units for middle and high school classrooms, and virtual reality experiences. We hope what we learned from our MOSAiC outreach experiences will be useful for informing future E&O projects within CIRES and beyond, and inspire scientists to participate in educational outreach opportunities that inspire them.