Middle School Outreach K-12 – Eliot Art Magnet School Altadena

April 16th 2019 — As part of the Polar Research lecture series gave by Caltech researchers and coordinated by the Caltech Center for Teaching, Learning and Outreach (CTLO), I had the chance to talk about glacial landscapes and glacier field work in the Yukon and Alaska.

Thanks to my team of Lego scientists and two glacier gak models, I was able to show the students the basics of glacier flow and how to measure it.

The glacier gak is easy to make with white glue, Borax, water and some food coloring. The experiment is largely inspired from this page: https://serc.carleton.edu/eslabs/cryosphere/3c.html.

Lego helicopter carrying the scientist to their glacier gak field sites (©Kitty Cahalan, CTLO).
Beginning of the ‘glacier race’, right after the gak was released. The class was divided in two groups that could each choose the slope of their glacier model. (©Kitty Cahalan, CTLO)
Glaciers models after a few tens of minutes. The steepest glacier flows the fastest. Different colors in the gak nicely show the flowlines and the tooth pick (aka measurement stakes) show difference in flow velocity. The glaciers flow faster in the middle than on the side. (©Kitty Cahalan, CTLO)

Chasing Glaciers: An International Quest for Answers

For the 2018 International Education Week at Caltech, I had the opportunity to share how my international experience has helped me shape the scientist I am today. At every single stage of my academic career I have either changed country or spoken language, often challenging my own abilities in the least expected ways. I believe, however, that gaining knowledge from diverse countries and cultures represents extremely enriching life experiences.