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1 May 2010 Apun: the Arctic Snow (second edition)
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Apun: The Arctic Snow is a great resource for teachers and students to better understand the complexities of snow in ways they probably never imagined. The Teacher's Guide provides very good background information for teachers. I found Sturm's explanations of each subject quite sufficient to assume the necessary level of expertise in my class of third graders. I have a fair amount of my own scientific background knowledge, however, and I wonder if some teachers will be intimidated by some of the terminology. The text and illustrations in the student booklet are age appropriate and very understandable. Sturm also includes many applicable photographs for every subject in the Teacher's Guide that teachers can show children. Internet links to photographs and videos of subject matter (that teachers could project in the classroom) would be even more captivating for students. I was also hoping for a list of recommend resources (books, videos, websites, etc.) for further study.

This resource is divided into four parts in this sequence: Snow and Life, Snow Crystals, Changing Snow, and Snow and People. If I were to use this resource in my class, I would probably want to start with the study of what snow is and how changeable it is before studying its relationship with life. I believe Parts 1 and 4 are more useful together. Through each of the four sections, Sturm introduces the Inupiaq words for many snow-related things. Students will find these very intriguing, and many teachers and students will want to know how to pronounce them properly. The Inupiaq Glossary in the back would benefit from this. Additionally, I believe a glossary of pertinent scientific vocabulary would be useful, also.

Ultimately, I found Apun to be a fascinating exploration of a subject that all children like. Clearly, it will be most relevant to those that live in areas where snow falls. I can imagine this resource leading students toward their own further study of arctic and alpine life or more in-depth snow and meteorology explorations. I hope that associated learning activities can also be created to complement Matthew Sturm's intriguing publication.

John LeMasurier "Apun: the Arctic Snow (second edition)," Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research 42(2), (1 May 2010).
Published: 1 May 2010

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