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 The TREC continues in Washington D.C.!!! View next topic
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Joined: 23 Mar 2004
Posts: 84

PostPosted: Mon Jun 28, 2004 2:08 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Wow, before I even begin, I must admit this is sort of funny to be writing this journal directly to the webpage--I'll miss you Ben!!

So, last week I had another incredible opportunity associated with TREC. I flew to Washington D.C. to present with Max at the National Science Foundation on Tuesday about the PARTNERS project and our experiences on the Lena River, and to talk about ways to expand student outreach. On Wednesday through Friday, Max and I along with about 50 other scientists, educators, museum people, media experts, and other people interested in the polar regions attended "Bridging the Poles" workshop. At the workshop we all brainstormed, in several different ways, ideas for the International Polar Year (IPY) which will begin in March 2007. As seems to be par for the course, it was amazing to meet so many people whom share a common interest.

Anyway, it was great to meet all the people at the National Science Foundation who were only names on paper for me before Tuesday. It was interesting for me to learn about how projects get funded too. I saw tons and tons of folders stacked up outside of some of the project leaders offices. These people have to read all of the proposals sent in and decide which projects get funded. This must be a terribly difficult job as there is never enough money to fund them all.

I was amazed about how willing so many people were to take time out of their day to meet with Max or myself even if it was an unannounced meeting. Max did a great job presenting to many of the project heads about our trip. the impact it had and hopefully will continue to have, and other ideas for expanding outreach. I hope that some of the ideas presented can see themselves to completion as many student in the arctic and stateside could reap huge benefits. There always seems to be the question of how to be the most effective with the scientist/teacher interactions and outreach. It was great to be a part of these discussions and I hope to be able to continue to discuss these issues in the future. My experience was so positive and influential for my classroom teaching, that I now have a vested interest in helping expand these experiences so that other classrooms can be involved to the highest degree possible!

The "Bridging the Poles" conference was also very interesting. It was great to meet other teachers who had similar experiences to mine but in Antarctica. I hope to team with one teacher who lives fairly close to me so that we may be able to do joint presentations on both poles. It was also nice to debrief with many of those teachers to learn that much of what I had been feeling upon my return from such an extraordinary trip was normal!

There were many great ideas presented at the conference and it will be interesting to see which ones pan out to really get people excited and knowledgeable about the IPY.

I was really happy that Max and I were able to work together again as I wasn't sure what was going to happen post-Siberia. It is great because Max is a scientist who is genuinely interested in learning more about the education end of things, and I am a teacher who is genuinely interested in connecting the science content taught in the classroom to real science projects and scientists. I think it is a powerful idea with real potential and I am glad the two of us are able to provide each other with such a wealth of information and ideas. It is fun to think and talk about new directions in science/education outreach and although I don't know where it will lead us next, I hope it can continue.

So, that is the direction this TREC is going now. I will also be continuing to post documents to this webpage as I work on developing the PARTNERS, Lena River project into a curriculum piece that I will teach next fall. So, the jouney truly isn't over!
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