Looking Back to the Future: Using Paleoclimate Data to Understand Antarctica's Ice Sheets

March 2015

Archived Webinar


This course will examine how geological records of past polar climate can inform our understaning of what may happen to ice sheets in the future. Dr. Cliff Atkins will describe how geologists interpret paleoclimate from drill cores and rocky outcrops offering tips on how to effectively communicate complex science in a simple way to engage and inspire a wide range of students. He will use examples from various Antarctic research experiences, including the Cape Roberts and ANDRILL projects that he worked on with Betty Trummel.

Betty will discuss her teaching techniques that challenge students' perception of scientists and describe key teaching strategies and resources including hands-on classroom activities and ANDRILL Flexhibit tools that engage students and provide a positive learning experience.


Cliff with sledge

Researcher: Cliff Atkins, Geologist, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

Dr. Cliff Atkins is a geologist and Senior Lecturer (equivalent to Associate Professor in North America). His research interest focuses on sediments and landforms in Antarctica with the aim of reconstructing past climates. Cliff has extensive Antarctic experience having participated in eleven science expeditions to Antarctica, including the international drilling projects (Cape Roberts Project and ANDRILL project). [read more="Read More" less="Read Less"] More recently, Cliff has led two expeditions to Antarctica studying the flux of windblown dust and its impact on ocean productivity and sedimentation. Cliff is also passionate about science education and has taught about Antarctica to university students for over 15 years and has just spent two weeks in Antarctica filming science lectures for a new innovative online course. He frequently engages in outreach and science communication ranging from schools to community groups and received a Victoria University 'excellence award' for science education outreach. He recently led a workshop on science communication at an international conference and has contributed to various magazine and radio artciles and also the recent 'Thin Ice' film (http://thiniceclimate.org). Cliff has a long-standing teaching collaboration with Betty Trummel involving numerous teaching events in New Zealand and the U.S. [/read]

Optimized-Betty at Barne Glacier

Educator: Betty Trummel, classroom teacher & Northern Illinois University

Betty Trummel is a veteran educator with thirty-five years of elementary classroom teaching experience. She also taught "Science Methods for Elementary Teachers" at Northern Illinois University for ten years. [read more="Read More" less="Read Less"]Three Antarctic deployments as part of educational outreach programs for the Cape Roberts, ANDRILL, and WISSARD Projects have been catalysts in her career and life, introducing her to polar science in action. These projects provided the opportunity to spend months working alongside outstanding science researchers doing valuable work in the field of Antarctic geoscience and climate change. Betty strives to bring the voices of these scientists and their experiences back to not only her classroom, but to many others through broader outreach on local, national, and international levels. She and Cliff have collaborated since 1998 on a wide variety of outreach initiatives, and exemplify the model of how scientists and educators can work together to reach learners of all ages and levels of scientific experience. Betty is the recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching, a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Illinois, and Outstanding Young Alumni Award from Northern Illinois University.[/read]