Interested in bringing something like the Sci-I Project to your area?

We developed a “Polar-ICE Sci-I Project Development & Implementation Manual” to share our approach, process, and lessons learned. Check it out! (coming February 2019)

What is a great way to increase students interest in science?

Support them in doing the authentic science with real world data!


Some of the Polar-ICE Sci-I Project 2016 participating teachers (left to right): Tom Grych, Jennifer Smolyn, Dolores Taylor, Carolyn Laymon, Kimberly Kellam, Kelly Terry, Denise Hardoy, Sue Morrow, Stacia Lothian; and Dr. Bridgette Clarkston (co-facilitator, California State University, Monterey Bay) touring the RU COOL lab.

The Polar ICE Science Investigations (Sci-I) Project (2015-18) was designed to increase educator and student skills in designing and conducting open-ended science investigations as well as analyzing and interpreting online data in alignment with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) through the lens of polar science. The Sci-I Project focused on grades 6-9 from throughout the United States. Preference for participation in the project was given to educators that work in school districts that serve predominately underserved and underrepresented communities.

Summaries of the various components of the year-long Sci-I Project are included below:

  • A 4-day Summer Educator Workshop (attended with a partner science teacher from their school)
  • Student teams designing and conducting student-lead investigations using real world polar data (during the school year)
  • A culminating Student Polar Research Symposium with the top student teams presenting their findings to polar and university scientists.

4-day Summer Educator Workshop

Participating educators explored polar science, real world data, and the process of developing an open-ended science investigation during the summer workshop.  Educators interacted with polar scientists and engaged in open-ended science investigations to learn themselves and to explore how to effectively lead students in designing, developing, and conducting polar science investigations.

Cohort 2016-17: (included schools from New Jersey and California) June 27-30, 2016 at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 

Sci-I Project Cohort 2016-17 Announcement Flyer 

Sci-I Project 2016 Educator Workshop – participants, resources, and media coverage

Cohort 2017-18: (included schools from New Jersey, Ohio, Missouri, Colorado, Utah, and California) June 25-30, 2017 at Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 

Sci-I Project Cohort 2017-18 Announcement Flyer

Sci-I Project 2017 Educator Workshop – participants, resources, and media coverage

Student-lead Science Investigations

During the year, students conducted their own open-ended, student-developed investigations using authentic, real world, online polar data. Students were empowered to develop questions and an inquiry-based scientific investigation that built upon their knowledge of the process of science. Students developed scientific posters to communicate their results.

Sci-I Project Resources included:

  • Taking a Topic Area Question and making it into a Testable Question
  • Tips for writing Mini-Proposals
  • Available research data to utilize in the investigations
  • General information about open-ended science investigations

Student Polar Research Symposium

Towards the end of each year, participating students presented their results and findings to polar scientists and to one another at the Student Polar Research Symposium as a culminating event. The Symposium excited and engaged students about the polar regions and science by enabling students to act as science communicators and peer educators.

Cohort 2016-17: (New Jersey & California schools)

February 24, 2017: California State University – Monterey Bay, Seaside, CA

June 8, 2017: Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ

Cohort 2017-18: (New Jersey, Ohio, Missouri, & California schools)

March 1, 2018: Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO

March 8, 2018: The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH

March 15, 2018: California State University – Monterey Bay, Seaside, CA

June 5, 2018: Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ