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Students, Teachers Take Scientific Inquiry to Mount Kilimanjaro

Several U.S. students and their teachers are scaling Mount Kilimanjaro this week as part of an international expedition to gather scientific data about its six biomes.

But in this Web-savvy era, you probably won't be surprised to learn classrooms around the globe can also catch up on their adventure through webinars and a guided online tour.

Mount Kilimanjaro.jpg

"This is a unique opportunity not only for the students headed to Africa for the climb but also for those in the classroom worldwide, who will be able to follow along online and use the data that students and teachers gather in the field," said Ron Zwerin, the director of communications at the GLOBE program, which is overseeing the effort, in a press release. The trip and resources are part of the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Program, an international science and education initiative connecting students, teachers, and scientists.

To be sure, there is no shortage of, well, really cool opportunities out there for young people to learn about science and STEM more broadly these days. I hear of all kinds of examples, but with a trip to Kilimanjaro, I couldn't resist sharing this one, which is now in its fifth year.

During the trip, the students and teachers plan to look at air temperature, clouds, surface temperature, relative humidity, soil temperature, and several parameters of water on the mountain, the press release explains. The data will be used to validate permafrost studies being conducted by lead scientist Kenji Yoshikawa at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, as well as uploaded to a database made available to other scientists.

The first hourlong webinar for classrooms was hosted yesterday afternoon, but you can check out the archived version here. A second one is scheduled for next Monday at 1 p.m.

You can access some classroom resources related to the expedition here.

Photo: Mount Kilimanjaro rises above the trees in the Amboseli National Park 250 kilometers south of Nairobi, Kenya. Odd Andersen/AP

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