Since 2009, three teachers have gained research experience at the South Pole through a partnership between IceCube and PolarTREC, a National Science Foundation program that pairs scientists with teachers to provide field deployments to the polar regions. PolarTREC gives talented teachers an opportunity to gain knowledge, improve teaching practices, and increase students’ understanding of polar research.
Armando Caussade, a STEM educator from Puerto Rico, will travel to the South Pole, Antarctica, during the 2014–2015 polar season to support maintenance work on the IceCube Neutrino Observatory. As part of the PolarTREC experience, Armando is blogging regularly on the PolarTREC IceCube Neutrino Observatory 2014 expedition page. His posts are available in English and Spanish.
The blogs are one way he will share what he is doing during his expedition. Webcasts from the South Pole will also give students and community members the chance to hear firsthand about his research experience while he is on the ice.
Another way past IceCube PolarTREC teachers have brought their research experiences to students is through the Upward Bound program at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Upward Bound helps high school students from low-income families whose parents did not attend college prepare to succeed in higher education. A team of teachers, led by Wisconsin Rapids science teacher Steve Stevenoski, uses innovative, inquiry-based curriculum developed around a different theme related to IceCube research each summer. Participating in Upward Bound gives the teachers a chance to explore new ways of teaching and enhance their curriculum using new content knowledge and pedagogy skills.
Photos, journals, and resources from the explorations are available on the PolarTREC website.