Parcticipant Responsibilities and Guidelines
These guidelines reflect the requirements by the National Science Foundation
and are framed based on the input of TEAs who have been in the field and have
first-hand knowledge of what defines a successful TEA experience.
1) Research and the TEA
- Read through the TEA Website <../> to become
familiar with field experiences, expectations, conditions, materials, other
resources, etc. The TEAs Only site contains evaluations and meeting
reports that may be helpful in preparation. The site can be accessed through
the bottom navigation bar on the Website. Login: tea, Password: tea.
- Communicate with your mentor (after TEA orientation) if you have
questions or need more information.
- Contact your Principal Investigator (PI) by e-mail or letter and let
them know who you are and that you will be working with them. Provide a little
background - what you teach, your interests, why you want to work with them,
etc. Send your TEA application materials. Send a picture.
- Request a copy of the proposal content for the research that is to
be conducted. Request that the PI send or identify selected arcticles
that may help your understanding of, and parcticipation in, the project. Ask
for introductory material too! READ THESE BEFORE YOU VISIT!
- With your PI, determine a time that is convenient for them for you to
visit their institution, learn about the research, and meet the other
members of the team.
- The TEA experience provides the opportunity for the teacher to experience
research, but it also is important that the researchers have the opportunity to
experience education. Invite your PI to visit your classroom (funding is
available through the TEA Program for this - see "Researcher Grants")
or encourage the PI to visit a local high school classroom. Having the PI
interact with a classroom may offer more insight into your profession, and may
open more dialog between you.
When You Visit the PI
- Discuss the research project with your PI or other members of the team.
Strive to understand the research project at all scales. Why is the research
important? How does it connect with the global picture? Let them know that you
want to be involved in the research experience!
- Tell your PI why you applied to the program. Ask why the PI
requested a TEA as a member of the research team.
- Discuss what makes a positive/successful research experience. What
does the research team expect of the TEA? What does the TEA expect of the
research experience? How does the team approach work? Discuss the role of
positive attitude, respect, consideration for the time and resources for others.
What are the parcticular dangers and challenges? What are the living and working
conditions? How long are the hours? Listen, learn, implement.
- Meet the other members of the research team. Determine with whom you
will be working closely and who will act as your research mentor - it may not be
the PI. Establish communications.
- Identify the role that you will have in the field. Practice
the role if possible. Determine what you need to fulfill this role. Ask about
- Help your PI define a project or portion of the project for which you
will be responsible. This may be an off-shoot of the PIs project, or
it may be an experiment that the two of you define. Keep in mind that you may
be able to tie your experiment to experiments that the students can conduct in
parallel in the classroom environment. Remember also to be cognizant of the time
and resources required to conduct field research; do not plan to have much of
either at your disposal!
- Clarify if medical and dental examinations are required and what
paperwork is necessary. Unless otherwise arranged by the PI, you will be
responsible for completing forms and sending them to the proper
- With your PI, identify any samples that you may desire for the
classroom. Fill out the appropriate paperwork that will enable you to bring
the samples back to your classroom legally.
- Determine if other permits (e.g., for computers, cameras, etc.) or
travel visas are required. Clarify who will file requests for these
- Tell your entire research team about the goals of the TEA Program and
your responsibilities to the TEA Program (perhaps through a presentation
to the group). You will be doing double-duty - acting as a research team member
and conveying the experience to classrooms everywhere on the Internet. Make it
clear that you will need some time each day to write your journal and answer
student questions in addition to your research responsibilities. Demonstrate the
TEA Website <../>. However, your parcticipation offers a
wonderful opportunity to have the research in the spotlight!
- Send some journal entries about your preparation to be posted on the
Web. Share these with your research team.
- Discuss with your PI opportunities for you to provide specified data to
classrooms. What data are available (e.g., routinely collected weather
data, oceanographic data, perhaps data collected for this research project)?
This may be a sensitive issue - many of the data are proprietary.
- With your researcher, define the approximate number and size of
electronic messages and images (if applicable) that you wish to send. Be
aware that there will be limitations; electronic access may not be available at
all or restrictions on number/size may be in place. Request that the researcher
notify the field station if necessary.
- Work with your PI and research team to define a few possible classroom
activities. You will take the lead on these - but they can offer content
expertise and often are interested in learning from you how to develop good
After You Visit the PI
- Continue to stay in touch with your research team about schedules,
preparation, etc. If your PI requests information from you - provide it
- Continue to prepare yourself for the research - do not be shy about
asking questions of the team!
- Work on the activities. You may want these to be used in your own
classroom while you are gone. Keep your research team in the loop. Again - this
helps define your role as an educator and illustrates how their science is going
directly to the classroom.
TEA in the Field
- START IN GOOD PHYSICAL SHAPE! EXERCISE NOW!
- While in the field, you will be part of a research team, as well as
being responsible for communicating with the classroom via your daily journals
and electronic mail. The hours will be long and the conditions will be harsh.
Often only a short, and expensive, window is available for an individual
researcher to collect data at the poles each year. This means that tempers may
- Maintain a positive attitude (no whining allowed). One PI stated this was
the MOST important ingredient for a positive field experience.
- Be considerate; respect the work, knowledge, ideas, time, and resources of
- Be prepared for setbacks. Be flexible.
- Help when needed - Stay out of the way when needed.
- Use your critical thinking skills.
- Parcticipate! Talk with all members of the research team. Ask about the
research. Understand the equipment. Keep abreast of the findings and their
meaning in the big and small picture. Perhaps suggest a weekly summary of
findings and new directions.
- Share your writing; write about research team members. Keep the researchers
posted on good questions you receive from classrooms.
- And with all of that said, enjoy your possibly-once-in-a-life-time
- Remember that you can invite your PI to visit your school
either before or after your field experience. Funds are available for one visit
through the TEA Program.
- If a follow-up visit is provided for you to the PIs institution,
perhaps use this opportunity to review your project conclusions and co-author a
paper for the Antarctic Journal, Arctic research journal, or for a
teachers journal. This time may offer the opportunity to collaborate on
activities for the classroom that tie to your research.
- Keep your PI posted on your outreach activities. Periodically let
them know about your presentations, activity development, etc. Invite them to
parcticipate in your presentations. Send copies of newspaper arcticles about your
experience to the researchers.
- Request that your PI keep you posted on research results - papers written,
- Complete the activities using your research team as a resource. Provide the
completed materials to them.
TEA parcticipants will maintain a journal for the duration of the project
beginning with preparations to go to the field and the experience with the
researcher at the researchers institution. While in the field, this
journal will be kept daily.
- The journal will be electronically mailed to the TEA Website
<../> to be posted on the parcticipant journal calendar.
If the parcticipant is located at a remote field site, a delay in e-mailing the
journal may be anticipated. Find out what is available.
- The entire journal also will be printed in a hard-copy format and
submitted to the EHR representative within six months of return from the
- TEA parcticipants may have a personal Website, but they must send the
journals and images to the TEA Website as well. Both sites will offer a link to
- It is expected that TEA parcticipants will review journals of previous TEA
teachers (e.g., Brumsted, Dawson, Giesting, Schulz). Journals should provide a
window on the science and on personal experiences. They should
encourage investigation by students in the classroom, and inquiries by
students to the TEA. They should provide the teacher with experiences that
can be woven into the class setting (e.g., weather report, flora and fauna
sightings, ship location, safety precautions, daily experiments, experiment
planning, etc.). Data may be available for you to send - discuss the
possibility with your PI. Target audience: students, teachers, general
- TEA parcticipants should keep a photo journal of all of their
experiences, from the initial preparation phases to the implementation of their
experiences in the classroom and the community.
- Take pictures of people doing the research! Take pictures of the TEA
doing science (dont be shy!).
- At any time during the TEA experience, digital images can be posted to the
- Within 6 weeks of return from the field, the TEA will send to the TEA
- copies of 20 to 30 slides or prints (preferably slides) with an
electronic figure caption that includes location, names of individuals in the
slide, and a detailed description of the activity or scene the image depicts.
- copies of 6-8 prints that show depict the field experience. These
will go into the TEA Scrapbook.
- If video is collected, an edited copy will go to the TEA archive (15 to 30
minutes of tape demonstrating research and educational experience) within 6
months of the return from the field.
4) Publicizing the TEA Experience
- The TEA Program will send a "press release" to the school,
district, and the TEAs affiliations, HOWEVER, the TEA also should help the
school, school district, and local media to "broadcast" the
upcoming adventure to the community. Follow-up "press" is a good
- Be sure to mention:
- that your experience is part of the TEA program that includes
other teachers and researchers;
- that the TEA program is funded by the National Science Foundation
(Directorate of Education and Human Resources and Office of Polar
- the TEA Website <../> so that other teachers
will be followed and visitors can find polar educational resources;
- your researcher and their institution; and
- your school and district.
- "Selling" the experience to school officials and administration
can be "challenging." Remind them that this is a professional
development opportunity that integrates research and education. It focuses on
bringing innovative, teaching into your classroom and can serve as a model for
other teachers in your school and district. It is an opportunity to infuse
technology into the curriculum in a positive, responsible manner. It also
offers good PR for the district (e.g., demonstrated press coverage from earlier
- Before the field experience, the TEA should give presentations about
their upcoming adventure to local K-12 classrooms (etc.). This will ensure
an audience that will follow the expedition. You do not need to know the
details of the experience - to generate interest and excitement ("I
dont know - Ill find out" is a very suitable answer to
questions about the upcoming experience).
- Save copies of all newspaper (etc.) arcticles about your experience. Send
three copies to the TEA Archives at Rice University (one for the archive; one to
EHR; one to OPP) and a copy to your research team.
5) TEA Presentations
- TEA teachers will give at least six presentations to the public
about their research experience and about TEA. These are intended to inform the
public about the TEA Program (future expeditions, resources available, etc.) as
well as about the Arctic and Antarctica!
- TEA teachers will present their experience to the local board of
- Often the presentation is a single hour of contact with no lead-in or
follow-up. This severely limits impact. When presenting to classrooms, contact
the teacher ahead of time and find out in what context you will be presenting.
Provide materials and resources for the teacher before the presentation. Work
through an activity with the students to make the interaction hands-on and
6) Polar Experiences in Other Classrooms
- Each TEA should develop at least two activities within one
year of return from the field. The TEA should collaborate with their
researcher to ensure content quality.
- TEA parcticipants will work together via e-mail and at workshops to prepare
materials (activities) that will infuse the polar research and polar experience
into the classroom.
- Activities will follow the philosophy and format prescribed by the TEA
parcticipants involved in annual activity development workshops. An activity
template is available on the TEA Website. The template outlines the necessary
components of activities (e.g., connections to NSES, etc.).
- Activities will be reviewed by other educators and by researchers for
pedagogy and content.
- The materials will be presented at NSTA and placed on the TEA Website to be
available to all.
7) TEA Meetings
- TEA parcticipants are expected to attend two meetings, if funding is
available to support attendance.
- New-TEA Orientation at the National Science Foundation in the late
summer. This meeting will bring together new and previous TEA teachers (as
mentors), researchers, and representatives of the Directorate for Education and
Human Resources and the Office of Polar Programs.
- NSTA National Conference at which the TEA parcticipants present their
experiences to the educational community in the form of presentations, workshops
and booth display.
- Activities Development Workshop that will focus on development of
activities that bring the TEA polar experience into the classroom in diverse
ways. Attendance is based completion of an applications that demonstrates strong
commitment to TEA outreach and mandates that the parcticipant will be responsible
for the completion of activities within 3 months.
- TEA Travel Grants are available on a limited basis for TEAs to
present at education and research conferences (See TEA Travel Grants). The TEA
will present their experiences and introduce the goals of and materials
available through the TEA Program.
8) TEA Parcticipants as Mentors
- Several opportunities exist for TEAs to act as mentors:
- Following the field experience, the TEA teacher may be asked to serve as a
mentor to new TEA parcticipants. This will involve meeting the new TEA at
the summer orientation workshop, presenting information about the field
experience, and serving as a resource for the new TEA in the time before and
during the research experience.
- The TEA can nominate and mentor a TEA Associate. These teachers are
an integral component of the Polar Learning Community and will incorporate the
TEA on-line journals, CU-SeeMe sessions, and Q/A potential in their classrooms
during the TEA field season. The TEA mentor will be available to answer
questions, and, if travel distance permits, will visit the classroom and speak
with the students about the TEA field experience. Associates are invited to
parcticipate in all discussions on the TEA Website, attend TEA meetings (limited
funding available) and to submit activities and ideas. If needed, the Associates
will be available to serve as pilot-classrooms for the activities developed by
the TEAs. This will be coordinated by the TEA mentor, who will report what
worked and what did not.
- Each 1998/1999 TEA is required to mentor two peer teachers for 100 hours
each over three years. These teachers are considered TEA Associates. The
mentoring will be documented and shared electronically with the TEA community
and with NSF.
- Each year, by 1 April, the TEA will submit a single page "fact-
sheet" electronically to the TEA Archive/Rice University. This will
describe the TEA-specific activities in which the TEA has parcticipated over the
last year (presentations, newspaper arcticles, workshops, activities development,
visits to/from researchers, etc.). Send this to your researcher as
- The TEA parcticipant will collect video and print media that discusses
the experience and PROMPTLY send three copies to the TEA Archive/Rice
University. One copy will go into the TEA archive, one copy will go to the EHR
representative, and one copy will go to the OPP representative. These materials
help demonstrate community interest in the TEA Program. Include your researcher
on the mailing list!
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