- Improve teacher content knowledge of multidisciplinary polar science.
- Improve teacher instructional practices, especially the use of inquiry-based learning to translate polar science to the classroom.
- Improve polar researchers' understanding of and engagement in K-12 education to strengthen and enrich the outreach and dissemination of their research.
- Increase students' understanding of and engagement in the polar regions and interest in polar science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) careers.
PolarTREC (2010-2013) was developed based on the strengths of the past PolarTREC (2007-2009) and TREC programs, as well as other teacher research experience (TRE's) programs.
Built on the successes of the previous three-year program and adapted to further meet diverse participant needs, PolarTREC is a four-year project with four major categories of interrelated activities making up the PolarTREC Teacher Research Experience Model.
The main components of PolarTREC Include:
- provide hands-on field research experiences that are implemented in the polar regions;
- broadly disseminate teacher experiences to students, professionals, and the public;
- develop a sustainable learning community; and
- provide clear and appropriate measures of project success.
Classroom and Public Connections: While in the field, teachers and researchers connect with classrooms and the public through use of Internet tools such as online teacher and researcher journals, message boards, photo albums, podcasts, "PolarConnect" calls and presentations from the field, and online learning resources. After the field experience, teachers and researchers continue to share their experience with the public through public presentations, scientific conferences, teacher workshops, and journal articles. Each PolarTREC teacher also creates instructional activities to transfer scientific data, methodologies, and technology into their classrooms.
Professional Development: PolarTREC provides professional development opportunities for teachers who participate in field research projects as well as educators who connect through the Internet. PolarTREC provides a variety of content, tools, and web seminars geared towards subject matter learning, teaching practices, and alignment of PolarTREC experiences with current professional teaching standards. At the end of the project period, a culminating ShareFair workshop will be held to present and share PolarTREC products and results among PolarTREC participants and other interested educators, researchers, and agency personnel.
Sustained Community and Support: The PolarTREC program is designed to extend the experience beyond field research to support a sustained community of teachers, scientists, students, and the public through online seminars, an e-mail listserve, and teacher-to-teacher peer groups. New PolarTREC teachers will have the opportunity to work closely with an experienced Partner Teacher (teachers that have participated in a teacher research experience) on aspects of their research experience and educational plans.
Funding and Support
The PolarTREC program is managed by the Arctic Research Consortium of the United States (ARCUS) and housed in Fairbanks, Alaska. ARCUS is a nonprofit member consortium of educational and scientific institutions that have a substantial commitment to arctic research.
Through a contract with the National Science Foundation, PolarTREC works closely with CH2M Hill Polar Services (CPS) and Lockheed Martin to provide logistical support to PolarTREC teachers embarking on field expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic. CPS is the National Science Foundation's (NSF) arctic logistics contractor and supports NSF-funded researchers and personnel working across the Arctic by coordinating travel, logistics and equipment needs. Lockheed Martin provides all logistical support to the United States Antarctic Program by arranging travel, medical clearance and providing cold weather clothing and equipment to all US participants.
info [at] polartrec [dot] com ARCUS, 3535 College Road, Suite 101 Fairbanks, AK 99709 Phone: 907-474-1600