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University of Alaska Fairbanks distributes educational “Learning Lunchboxes” for kids

Published: Mar. 28, 2022 at 4:10 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) Geophysical Institute partnered with the Center of Science and Industry in Ohio to develop a ‘Learning Lunchbox’ to educate children on the science of snow.

According to Serina Wesen, Education and Outreach Designer with the Snow, Ice, and Permafrost Group at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the kits were developed through collaboration with several groups. Wesen explained, “We also developed these with people at the Geophysical Institute, snow scientists, as well as Alaska Natives from throughout the state that kind of helped volunteer with the kit project so that we would try to get appropriate feedback - both for snow, and for Alaskan people and culture and climate.”

The program originated in Ohio where kits were given out at food drives along with meals to kids.

“When they were picking up food, they would be able to also get an educational kit and try to do some sort of STEM activities, and they have a lot of other kits, but these snow kits are completely new and are being rolled out as of this month.” Wesen elaborated. “We are going to receive 300 kits that we are going to try to distribute throughout the state, and if they are successful we’re going to ask NSF (National Science Foundation) for more money and hopefully get thousands more.”

According to Wesen, the kits contain hours of content including activities on animal tracks, making a snow flake, and water and ice. “The kit contains five activities and some of them have multiple parts, and these five activities produce about 10 hours of content. It allows the students to be able to do it at home or at school with a teacher or a parent or a sibling, and the targeted age range is from about third to fifth grade, but we’ve had interests from kindergarten through adults for these.”

More information on the educational kits can be found on their website.

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