DOINews: SC CSC and Partners Conduct Climate Change Activities with Native American STEM Students

Last edited 4/26/2016

Chickasaw Nation (CN) and Choctaw Nation of OK (CNO), the South Central Climate Science Center (SC CSC), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) held an event at Choctaw Nation's Jones Academy on July 14th, 2014 with the Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) students representing six tribes. There were 10 girls and 4 boys ranging from 9th to 12th grade. The tribes represented were Creek, Lakota-Creek, Cherokee, Cheyenne-Arapaho, Tohono O'odham and Choctaw. This event was coordinated through Karen McGaugh, Project coordinator for the Indian Demonstration Grant with Choctaw Nation.

During the event, the students were educated about what climate change is and why it happens. The students broke up into 3 groups and rotated through several different activities. They all participated readily and had great questions!

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April Taylor from CN, CNO, and the SC CSC had the Ocean Acidification station set up and the students were able to create carbonic acid and see how CO2 will acidify water and then see the effects of that acidic water on a mussel shell.

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Bob Rabin from the National Severe Storms Lab, NOAA, demonstrated surface temperature changes due to human activity. The students were able to record temperatures from satellite images online. They then used infrared thermometers to collect temperature readings from two sources outside. The students were able to see how different surfaces hold in more heat.

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Mike Langston then demonstrated Greenhouse Gas in a bottle. By using a heat lamp to mimic the sun on the bottles of air and CO2 the students were able to record the differences in temperature over time.

The students were very interactive with all the projects. After participating in all the activities the students stated that they now understand what ocean acidification is, what causes it and a few ideas for how to adapt. They also stated that Greenhouse gases trap heat. They noted that different colors of surfaces have different temperatures. They also had discussions on how to decrease their carbon footprint on the Earth. Thanks to all the great students that participated!