Nearly every year since 1999, INSTAAR and the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) have welcomed eighth graders from Boulder’s Southern Hills Middle School for a tour of INSTAAR/NSIDC facilities. The exact destinations of the tour vary somewhat from year to year, but they are always diverse and (we hope) fun.

Radiocarbon Dating

At INSTAAR’s Radiocarbon Lab students learn about radiocarbon dating and chemical half-lives through the use - and occasional consumption - of M&Ms. Photo by Jen Bowman.

Open House Kiowa Lab

Students experience a cool black light show at INSTAAR’s Kiowa Lab where they learn about dissolved organic matter in waters and how it fluoresces. Photo by Jen Bowman.

Open House Stream Team Station

At the Stream Team Station by Boulder Creek, students get their hands wet as they learn about pH, race oranges in the creek to learn the basics of measuring stream flow, and test their skills at identifying some of the cool aquatic insects found beneath the rocks and in the sediments of the creek. Photo by Jen Bowman.

Open House National Snow and Ice Data Center

At the National Snow and Ice Data Center, things take a “chilling” turn as teams of students compete against one another during NSIDC’s snow and ice game show quiz. Photo by: Jen Bowman.

Open House Ice Core Samples

Students can see ice cores from far flung places like Antarctica and Greenland at INSTAAR’s Stable Isotope Lab. Photo by: Jen Bowman.