2015 Denali Science School Teaches Students about Science in Parks

a student leans over to read a digital thermometer held by an instructor
Dana Lindauer (left), helps a student look for permafrost by holding a digital thermometer in the ground.

NPS Photo / Sierra McLane

During the fall of 2015, the Murie Science and Learning Center brought close to 200 Alaskan fifth and sixth-graders into Denali for a series of three-day, overnight field trips. During Denali Science School, students learned about how park rangers used science to protect and showcase this special place. The students conducted investigations, participated in discussions and collaborative activities, played games, hiked, and grew as individuals and as a team. 

Classes started by experiencing the four main habitats in Denali and learning how they are interconnected and affected by change. They then built upon this knowledge by using tools and the scientific method to understand the natural world around them. By the end of their trip, students used what they had learned to create their own national parks and understand the balance between protecting natural resources while giving visitors access to recreate.

The program was instructed by skilled Park Service and Alaska Geographic educators working in partnership to create an optimal learning experience