Center For Ocean Sciences Education Excellence COSEE Alaska
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COSEE Alaska Publishes New Science Fair Manual - 04.22.2010

New Manual provides "How To" for Ocean Science Fairs

The COSEE Manual for Science Camps, Fairs, and Projects provides “how to” information for organizing fairs and camps and hundreds of science fair project ideas focused on the challenge of dealing with accelerating change as the effects of a warming climate ripple through Alaska’s ocean ecosystems, watersheds, and communities.

Ocean science fairs are designed for the unique situation of Alaska's rural areas, where everyday life requires pragmatic scientific, and often traditional cultural knowledge, to survive and thrive. Ocean science fairs require that students not only engage in scientific inquiry but also in meaningful interactions with their culture or their community or both. They are a continuation of a science fair model developed by the Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative and the Alaska Native Knowledge Network which was one of several successful strategies to guide Alaskan K-12 school curriculum and teachers to become more culturally-responsive. The projects are judged by two types of criteria and two types of judges - scientists and elders or other long-term community residents.

“ Economic change, climate change, political change, social change, technological change, who can keep track of it all?” the manual begins. “Alaskan Elders, in both urban and rural areas are saying that the animal cycles are changing, the weather is changing, and our relationship to the land is changing. Alaska is fortunate in that our traditions and heritage are near at hand. We know where we have come from, but, who knows where we are going? While change is unsettling, it presents a wonderful opportunity for young Alaskans to work with Elders and scientists in observing, documenting, experimenting and projecting what the future will bring. Alaska has over 33,000 miles of coastline and rivers. We have opportunities to observe wildlife like no other state in the Union. We have the ultimate opportunity. The possibilities are endless for science projects that involve young people with the questions and answers that modern change brings every day. Rural students have one advantage. When they step out of their front door, they are in Nature’s laboratory. While urban students have farther to go to reach the wilderness, they have the advantage of easy access to numbers of professional advisors.”

Alan Dick, a retired teacher, developed the manual for COSEE ocean science fairs on behalf of COSEE partner, the University of Alaska Fairbanks' Center for Cross-cultural Studies. The manual also includes guidance for summer youth camps that combine science and culture. These camps have proved to be a successful strategy for providing rural youth with opportunities to "do" science often with the help of local scientists, in a setting where they can also learn traditional ways of connecting with the environment with the help of elders.

COSEE Manual for Science Fairs, Projects, and Camps (PDF, 4.35 MB) To entire manual can be downloaded or it can be downloaded in sections:
Introduction (PDF, 396 KB)
How to Organize an Ocean Science Fair (PDF, 127 KB)]
Developing a Science Fair Project (PDF, 192 KB)
Ideas for Ocean Science Fair Projects (PDF, 676 KB)
Science Fair Forms (PDF, 57 KB)
Ocean Science Fair Scoring Guides (PDF, 57 KB)
Ocean Science Fairs - Additional Resources (PDF, 80 KB)
COSEE Science/Culture Camp Manual (PDF, 170 KB)
Conclusion (PDF, 36 KB)

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