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Have you ever thought about being a scientist? When I was a kid, that was what I wanted to be! I even set up a laboratory in our basement where I could do experiments. I raised brine shrimp, tested the rocks in my collection, and made volcanoes that erupted.

In college, I studied plant and animal science. Because I loved to travel, I decided to work in the Andes Mountains in South America, helping farmers grow better crops. That was a fascinating experience! What amazed me the most was seeing how the people grew all of their own food on really steep slopes way up at 10,000 feet elevation. They knew how to grow dozens of different kinds of potatoes - red potatoes, yellow potatoes, white potatoes, even purple potatoes - all in the same field!

After a few years, I learned that there was something I liked even better than doing science - and that was doing science with kids. So I became a teacher. I taught for eight years in Oregon and Washington. I even spent two years teaching in a tiny fishing village in Mexico. The older people in the village knew a lot about science, even though they never went to school and some of them didn't know how to read or write. Fifty years ago, when the old people were kids, there weren't any villages. Everyone lived by hunting and gathering their food in the desert. They survived by doing the same thing scientists do: making careful observations, asking questions, and testing out hypotheses. They learned so much about the ecology of the desert, they know things that even the scientists don't know! Just like those farmers in the mountains in Peru! While I was there, I worked with the elders and the teachers to design a science program that taught the students the things their grandparents had learned and know how to do.

Now I live in the Boston area, and I have another great job. I'm the elementary science specialist in Belmont. I don't have my own class, but I get to help all of the teachers in kindergarten through fifth grade teach science to their classes. We have a great program in Belmont, so I get to do a lot of different things with the students. I've learned so much about electricity and astronomy and geology just by working with the students. They always ask great questions that make me think. That's what I love about science - there's always more to learn!

Sea Ice Trials aboard the U.S. Coast Guard ice breaker Healy
Dr. Kelly Falkner, Oregon State University

I am going to spend two weeks in the Arctic on board the U.S. Coast Guard ice breaker Healy with my teacher colleague, Susan Klinkhammer, and a group of scientists. Susan and I are very lucky to be able to collaborate on this project and to have the opportunity to ride aboard the Healy on its maiden voyage to the ice. The Healy is a brand new ship, and it is the only ice breaker in the United States that will be dedicated to doing scientific research in the Arctic.

Susan and I will be working with scientists who are interested in learning more about the ice at both poles. They believe that there are amazing secrets frozen in this ice. These secrets may give us clues about the earth's climate, and how it changes. The scientists are also interested in what the bottom of the ocean looks like. You might think of the ocean floor as being flat like a pancake, but it isn't. There are mountains and valleys and even active volcanoes, just as there are on land. Using new and modern technology, they'll be able to map the ocean floor more accurately and to see the landforms hidden beneath the ice!

We will also be helping scientists measure the speed of the ocean currents using sonar, collect seawater for testing, and examine large drift nets towed behind the ship to see what kind of zooplankton and phytoplankton exist in these waters. Even though these plants and animals are very tiny, they are the basis for life in the ocean. While at sea, we hope we'll see a lot of larger wildlife, too. We might see whales, walruses, and even polar bears!

We invite you to join us on this amazing scientific adventure. We'll write to you in our journal from the field every day telling you what we saw and did. You can write back to us with questions. Even though communications onboard an ice breaker in the Arctic Ocean can be a little dicey, we hope you'll give it a try. If we can't answer your e-mails while we're at sea, we promise to write back once we're back on land.

So fasten your lifejackets and join us on this Arctic adventure!

8 June, 2000:

Fond Farewells

7 June, 2000:

Up from the Deep

6 June, 2000:

Growlers, Pancakes, and Bergy Bits

5 June, 2000:

The MocNess Monsters

4 June, 2000:

Current Events

3 June, 2000:

The Ping Puzzle

2 June, 2000:

Full Steam Ahead!

1 June, 2000:

Land ho!

31 May, 2000:

Lost and Found at Sea!

30 May, 2000:

Life Aboard the Healy

29 May, 2000:

Rock Ďní Roll Revival

28 May, 2000:

Rockiní and Rolliní in the Great Blue Labrador Sea

27 May, 2000:

Discovery in the Deep!

26 May, 2000:

And we're off!

25 May, 2000:

Greetings from St. Johnís, Newfoundland!

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