APS News Release

Washington-Lee Teachers to Embark on Polar Research Experience

Washington-Lee Teachers to Embark on Polar Research Experience

  • Teacher research experiences will improve and enliven science education by connecting teachers, researchers, students, and the public around the globe.

Washington-Lee High School physics teacher Kate Miller strives to make physics exciting and approachable. She will be living her lifelong dream of joining Jim Madsen and the Ice Cube Neutrino Observatory team at the South Pole to research high-energy neutrinos. In Winter 2016, Kate will participate as a research team member in an authentic scientific expedition in Antarctica, joining other K-12 teachers who will be working in research locations from the Arctic Ocean to Antarctica, as part of a program that allows teachers to experience first-hand what it is like to conduct scientific research in some of the most remote locations on earth.

Kate is one many teachers selected through a nationwide search to participate in PolarTREC, an educational research experience in which K-12 teachers participate in polar research, working closely with scientists as a pathway to improving science education. Through PolarTREC, selected teachers will have the rare opportunity to spend two to six weeks working with a research team in the Arctic or Antarctic. While on field expeditions, teachers and researchers will share their experiences with scientists, educators, communities, and students of all ages through the use of Internet tools such as online teacher and researcher journals, message boards, photo albums, podcasts, PolarConnect real-time presentations from the field, and online learning resources. After the field experience, teachers and researchers will continue to share their experiences with the public and create instructional activities to transfer scientific data, methodologies, and technology to classrooms.

The first expeditions depart in early spring 2016 with teachers deploying to Alaska and Greenland. Additional expeditions will take place throughout the Arctic field season in the summer of 2016. The Antarctic field season will be in full swing by October and continue through the winter of 2016-17. This year’s expeditions will range from the Arctic Circle to the South Pole and study a large scope of topics from marine biology to landscape ecology.

Follow Kate’s Journal for updates before and during expedition. PolarTREC is managed by the Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. (ARCUS) and funded by the National Science Foundation and additional partnerships.

For more information and to participate, see the PolarTREC website or contact the ARCUS Project Managers, Janet Warburton and Sarah Bartholow at info@polartrec.com or call 907-474-1600.

The Arctic Research Consortium of the United States (ARCUS) is based in Fairbanks, Alaska and was formed in 1988 to provide leadership in advancing knowledge and understanding of the Arctic. ARCUS is a member consortium of educational and scientific institutions. Further information is available online.