Chukchi Borderland Project

Daily Updates from

our Teacher at Sea


August 28

Saying "Hello!" in Barrow, Alaska

Rebecca and I visited four classrooms, one at the elementary school, two classrooms at the middle school, and one at the high school.  We taught the students about what we will be doing on a ship in the Arctic for five weeks.  Rebecca would begin by asking them,  "How many of you want to grow up and be Oceanographers? Teachers?, or Marine Biologists?"

We would then explain the difference between Oceanographers and Marine Biologists.  (If you do not know the difference, e-mail me and I will explain.)

Rebecca with the world in her hands.

Then, it was storytelling time.

Rebecca would talk about two drops of water in the Pacific Ocean.  Their names were Sid and Brian.  She would ask the students, "What would you see in the Pacific Ocean if you were Sid or Brian?" (Yes, we were using maps or globes.)   The students would then give their answers.



Watch out Ms. Grimes!  Behind you!
I would then talk about a few of the animals found in the Pacific Ocean: sea otter, great white shark, a jellyfish, or something else they may have mentioned.

Rebecca would continue the story of Sid and Brian.  They were now moving up through the Bering Strait.  At one point, they split apart, Brian heads to Barrow and Sid heads to the ship (Polar Star).

Next question posed to the students.  "What would you
see in the Arctic Ocean?"

Describing what is seen in the Arctic Ocean.


Styrofoam head prepared to send underwater.
I would then discuss those animals, for example, a walrus or a narwhal.

Rebecca would then pick the story up again and talk about what would happen to Sid if he were collected as a water sample on the ship.

The age level of the students would determine how much depth we would add to the story.

We told them about an instrument that we were going to send down deep into the ocean, the CTD.

"What would happen if Gail (me) were sent down with this instrument to the deep part of the ocean?  The pressure would squash my body."

We asked each of the students to take a Styrofoam cup and color it.  We will send the cups down deep into the ocean to see what will happen.  I will send a photo update after we do this.

Take a guess, what will happen if we
send Styrofoam cups underwater down to over 3800 meters (12,000 feet) ?

It was a great opportunity to teach in Barrow.  The schools looked brand new and the teachers were great.  The students were extremely nice and very bright.  It was great to watch their faces light up when telling them a funny story, for example, "What should you do if you are stung by a jellyfish?  Urinate on it!  YUK!"

And for any teacher that is reading this, the class average was approximately fifteen students per class.  It was not due to lack of students.  Just in case you were thinking about teaching in Barrow.