Published: April 21, 2022 By

200 students from Angevine Middle School criss-crossed INSTAAR space this morning, engaging in hands-on science activities. Students touched and smelled permafrost, looked at algae through microscopes, tested water pollution in local streams, investigated soil texture, learned about chickadees, and checked out weather and climate measurements in fast-paced, hands-on activities.

Four 8th graders touching, smelling, and learning about permafrost.

8th graders touching, smelling, and learning about permafrost. Most common question: “is there animal poop in there?” Most likely. “Cool” they said.

The students participated in the INSTAAR Open House, a cherished tradition of INSTAAR that brings middle school students into our labs and workspaces. The event was the first after a two-year hiatus because of the COVID pandemic.

After 19 years of successful collaboration with Southern Hills Middle School in Boulder, INSTAAR is now partnering with Angevine Middle School in Lafayette for the Open House. More than half of the student population of Angevine are from traditionally marginalized backgrounds, including many from low-income families. Angevine has a focus on college and career readiness for their students, especially those traditionally underrepresented in higher education.

Julio Sepúlveda and Wendy Roth led an organizing committee to plan and carry out the day. Dozens of faculty, staff, and graduate students united to lead the activities and escort small groups of students from place to place. After the students returned to school, the INSTAAR team gathered for tacos and burritos, tired but exhilarated.

Students learn about Skywatch, a outdoor atmospheric observatory

8th graders watching a video about a permafrost tunnel