School of Ice

Providing participants the opportunity to expand their knowledge of Earth’s climate record through analysis of paleo-climate records in ice cores collected by the U.S. Ice Drilling Program.

You are eligible to attend if:

  • Your institution is on one of the following U.S. Department of Education lists:
  • Historically Black Colleges and Universities
  • Hispanic Serving Institutions
  • Tribal Colleges and Universities
  • Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions
  • Or your accredited post-secondary institution can document a minority enrollment of at least 25%

Participants will be provided airfare and travel support, four nights’ lodging, meals, and class materials.

Dates and times vary. Check back for details about the next School of Ice!

Locations vary. Check back for details about the next School of Ice?

Our nation faces serious challenges when attracting young people to science and its related careers. This is particularly true for members of groups under-represented in STEM and for minority college students majoring in the geosciences.

To address these issues, School of Ice partners have created a rigorous professional development workshop for faculty from minority-serving institutions (MSIs). This program will train participants to understand paleo-climate evidence derived from ice cores and to acquire the skills necessary to bring this exciting inquiry into new and existing Earth and environmental science classes on their campuses.

The experiential nature of this workshop will build background knowledge of cutting edge research and empower participants to communicate authentic paleo-climate research practices, ice core data, and results to their students.

Program Commitments
Within two weeks of workshop completion, participants will be expected to:

  • Write a summary of how they have professionally benefited from participation in this workshop.

Within a semester of workshop completion, participants will be expected to:

  • Write a plan of action to begin or expand paleo-climate study and research opportunities for their undergraduate students.
  • Demonstrate how they will integrate workshop information and climate change curriculum within new or existing geoscience courses by creating two written curriculum pieces dealing with the topic accompanied by an explanation of how the curriculum will be used.

2023 School of Ice Applications Open

School of Ice Application – Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH

If you live closer to the west coast, you may want to consider applying to School of Ice in Oregon when it becomes available. Attending School of Ice closer to home helps to limit the workshop carbon footprint. Either workshop will provide an exciting, active learning experience including interactions with scientists working on the cutting edge, field trips, and resources for your classrooms. If you have questions, contact Louise Huffman.


Program Evaluation

The School of Ice uses an outside evaluator, Hilarie B. Davis, Ed.D. & Bradford T. Davey, Ed.D. Technology for Learning Consortium, Inc., to conduct evaluations of our workshops. A combination of participant pre- and post-surveys for each workshop is employed. In 2017, all past SOI participants were invited to take part in virtual or phone interviews to identify how the workshop over time has impacted both the educators and their teaching, as well as their students.


Virtual School of Ice 2020 Workshop Evaluation
School of Ice 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 Workshop Evaluations
School of Ice Follow-Up Evaluation-measuring long term impacts of the workshop

Scientists, engineers, logistics specialists, and educators that make the School of Ice possible

Meet the School of Ice Experts

  • This is my second time participating in the School of Ice Program after 6 years. I know the first workshop provided some foundation for me to integrate and establish three curriculums for the labs in my Climatology class. Those are the Oxygen Isotope Exercise, sea ice versus land ice and sea-level rise, and thermohaline (salty cold dense ocean water versus hot less dense water) lab exercises. I feel comfortable to include three other lab exercises including Isotopic analysis with pennies, atmospheric CO2 measurement, Slip Sliding Away, and two great virtual labs by Drs. Osterberg and Kelly. I am so glad I participated in this workshop. Some of the contents I did not feel using or integrating or using the lab exercises in my Climatology and few for Environmental Science class (esp. atmospheric CO2 and sea-level rise exercises), I will be able to integrate into my curriculum for the Climatology class I am teaching in the fall of 2020 and Environmental Science class in the spring of 2021. I think tremendous benefits came from both workshops I have participated in along with the Scool of Rocks and AMS Diversity workshops. If it was not a workshop like this, I would not feel comfortable teaching my advanced Climatology class and offer the labs for the class full of hands-on exercises conveniently available for the students. By attending this workshop, I am really happy to know we will be getting supplies for the few hands-on activities of our choice for the students in my our classes. This is great. Every minute of my time was worth this workshop and I am very grateful for this workshop and NSF for funding the program and us. 

    Rose Ozbay
    School of Ice Participant
  • The School of Ice has been a wonderfully rewarding teacher experience.  I went in to the professional development with some decent background on the poles and I left with a wealth of resources and knowledge about the evidence of climate change.  The professionals hosting the School of Ice were very inclusive, supportive, and efficient at the many facets of putting something like this together from the well-organized lab kits and how to use them to their technologically verse abilities in the best teaching practices associated with NGSS and experience with fringe data from the poles.  A variety of participants were experienced to best virtual practices as well which is very helpful to be on the student side of high expectations and technological literacy.  I walked away with an appreciation for all of the work that not only goes into the efforts of research scientists about the evidence of climate change, but how to really teach it using best practices.  There is not one speaker, lab, or presentation we experienced that wasn’t useful in my classroom.   Rest assured that there will be a definite impact in my teaching, my classroom, and my personal gain from this rigorous and comprehensive virtual professional development.  I would heavily recommend this course to any of my fellow earth science colleagues.

    Matt Thomas
    Science Teacher, Alameda International High School
  • I teach earth science and environmental science to non-science majors. Sometimes it is difficult to make them understand the concepts of science. The lab activities presented in the workshop helped to formalize such concepts. From the workshop I gained knowledge about past climate, and proxy data analysis through the wonderful presentations of Prof. Erich Osterberg, Bess Koffman, Meredith Kelly and Bob Howley.

    Many of the concepts of climate change were known to me as theory. Through this workshop I learned and imbibed practical knowledge to use these as a model in classroom teaching and create a positive impact in the learning process. Each and every lab activities from Polar opposites like making venn diagram to CO2 measurements were very impactful and has opened new arenas of teaching climate change. I learned how a critical concept like Thermohaline circulation can be made as a teaching model with simple things like water and food dye.

    Paramita Sen
    School of Ice Participant
  • I am writing this letter to express my reflections about participating in the Virtual School of ice workshop-Summer 2020. First, I would like to thank both of you for an amazing workshop and healthy environment. I do not have enough vocabulary words to express my gratitude. However, the workshop was over my expectation as the first time I participate virtual workshop. The workshop was successful in terms of education, diversity, collaboration, and knowledge exchangeable. It provided me ways and methods to demonstrate scientific facts over climate change using ice cores and paleodate. The workshop provided wide information about climate change. Methods and experiments are used in the workshop over climate change topic were very useful and informative to pass explain the issues of climate change to students and society. Finally, all facilitators were successful to run the workshop. I felt a healthy environment with diversity and inclusion. This workshop gave opportunities to all participants to learn and pass the knowledge to recent and future generation about climate change. I would love to participate in this workshop again and recommend it to everyone who wants to improve his/her knowledge about using ice cores and other proxies to study climate change.

    Khaldoun Ahmad, Ph.D.
    Environmental Science Instructor Biogeochemistry, Hydro-biogeochemistry, Paleoenvironment Liberal Arts & Sciences Saint Cloud Technical & Community College

2022 Workshop - Oregon State University