Permafrost science and secondary education: Direct involvement of teachers and students in field research

Anna E. Klene, Frederick E. Nelson, John Nevins, Don Rogers, Nikolay I. Shiklomanov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Permafrost and periglacial geomorphology are absent from the science curriculum in most secondary schools in the United States. This is an unfortunate situation given the recent increases in development and environmental concerns in northern latitudes and high-mountain areas, and the interesting examples of basic scientific principles found in the history of research on periglacial geomorphology and permafrost. In 1997 and 1998, a University of Delaware research group studying permafrost and periglacial geomorphology in northern Alaska participated in the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Teachers Experiencing the Antarctic and Arctic (TEA) Program. In each of these years, a high school teacher and a student traveled as part of the research team to the North Slope of Alaska. They learned about the landscape, collected active-layer thickness and temperature measurements, and assisted in data analysis. Results from studies of active-layer thickness variability and ground temperature contributed to a series of long-term observations and international research on the impacts of global climate change. Since their expeditions, the teachers have shared their experiences with their classrooms and communities in several ways, including public lectures and the Internet. Classroom activities are available to the public through the TEA web site (<>). This experience may heighten public awareness of permafrost and contribute to it becoming a useful part of the secondary curriculum.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-287
Number of pages13
Issue number2-4
StatePublished - 2002


  • Alaska
  • Education
  • Frozen ground
  • Geomorphology
  • High school
  • Periglacial features


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