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 TEA partner (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.
- START IN GOOD PHYSICAL SHAPE! EXERCISE NOW!
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 (if necessary) 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
- Discuss if there are any field restrictions in terms of where you can
go, types of images you can acquire, content of your journals, etc.
- 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 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
- 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 used in your own
classroom while you are gone. Keep your research team in the loop - this helps
define your role as an educator and illustrates how their science is going
directly to the classroom.
TEA in the Field
- 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
- Remember that you are representing the Teachers Experiencing Antarctica
and the Arctic Program. Always remain a professional, even when those
around you are not! Many individuals at the field sites may not know about the
program and may begrudge "valuable research space being taken up by a
teacher." Invest in a little programmatic PR; share the impact the program
has in your classroom and the classrooms with whom you communicate. To date, no
one has developed a negative impression about TEA when they have learned a
little about it!
- 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
others; remember that many of the non-research staff at stations have advanced
- Be prepared for setbacks. Be flexible.
- Do more than your share - for research and house-keeping duties.
- 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 (if electronic access permits).
- 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 three 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., Trummel, Dawson, Giesting, Conner). 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 many pictures of people doing the research! Take many pictures
of the TEA doing science (dont be shy!). Dont take pictures of
equipment standing alone.
- 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. These will go on the Web page for others to download.
- 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 inquiry based.
6) Polar Experiences in Other Classrooms
- Each TEA will develop at least two activities within one
year of return from the field (note: there is an annual activities workshop
for which TEAs can apply). 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 (by invitation based on projects of new TEAs). This meeting will bring
together new and previous TEA teachers (as partners), 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. Attendance is based completion of an application that
demonstrates active involvement in TEA through development of activities,
continued presentation of experiences and resources to teachers and students,
mentoring of peers, etc. Note that the TEA does not have to be active on all of
these fronts at once!
- 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 application that demonstrates strong
commitment to TEA outreach and mandates that the parcticipant will be responsible
for the completion of activities.
- 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 Partners and Mentors
- Several opportunities exist for TEAs to act as partners and
- Following the field experience, the TEA teacher may be asked to serve as a
partner 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.
- Each 1998/1999 TEA is required to mentor two to three peer teachers for
100 hours each over three years - the number of teachers and hours is indicated
on your application and may be different from other years. These teachers
are considered TEA Associates. Mentoring is a critical component of the TEA
Program. It is an opportunity for development of content knowledge and
teaching/facilitation practices for the TEA and for the mentoree. Mentoring
allows the TEA to share the research experience, and ideas for bringing research
into the classroom with others. Just as we hope students become immersed in
investigations, the mentoring experience should be an immersion in the research
experience for the TEA and two or three peers. The mentoring will be documented
and shared electronically with the TEA community and with NSF.
- The TEA can mentor TEA Associates. 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 will be available to answer questions, visit the
classrooms to speak with the students about the research experience, host local
workshops to develop plans for integrating the TEA experience into the
curriculum, etc. Associates are invited to parcticipate in all discussions on
the TEA Website, attend TEA meetings (limited funding available) and to submit
activities and ideas. Associates are available to serve as pilot-classrooms for
the activities developed by the TEAs.
- At the close of the field season, each TEA will be asked to evaluate the
program formally (questionnaire provided). It is important to understand that
ideas, suggestions, and comments are necessary to help "grow" the TEA
Program - these ideas are always welcome!
- Each year, by 1 April, for at least the first three years, 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 well!
- 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!
TEA Responsibilities Agreement
TEA is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel to places few individuals
ever experience - the Earths poles. It is a program in which the Division
of Elementary, Secondary, and Informal Education and the Office of Polar
Programs of the National Science Foundation believe and invest resources - our
tax dollars. In turn, the program needs investment by its parcticipants; this
investment is longer-term than many other programs. TEA is a teacher enhancement
project; it seeks to immerse teachers in research so that they are better
prepared to facilitate real research experiences in their classroom and with
their peers. There are several responsibilities that go with this marvelous
Journals and Images
I will maintain a daily electronic journal (if
communication equipment permits) while in the field.
Within three months of returning from the field, I
will print a hard copy of my journal and mail or present it to the ESIE
Within 6 weeks of return from the field, I will send
to the TEA Archive at Rice University 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
the image depicts.
Within 6 weeks of return from the field, I will send
to the TEA Archive at Rice University copies of 6-8 prints that depict the field
experience with an electronic figure caption that includes location, names of
individuals in the image, and a detailed description of the activity the image
Within 6 months of return from the field, I will send
to the TEA Archive at Rice University an edited copy of video if collected (15
to 30 minutes of tape demonstrating research and educational experience).
I will give at least six presentations to the public
about my research experience and about TEA.
I will present my experience to the local board of
Polar Experiences in Other Classrooms
I will develop at least two activities within one year
of return from the field that follow the philosophy and format prescribed by the
TEA parcticipants involved in annual activity development workshops.
I will attend at least two meetings of Orientation,
NSTA, and the Activities Development Workshop, if funding is available to
support my attendance.
TEA Parcticipants as Partners and Mentors
I will mentor two to three peer teachers for 100 hours
each over three years.
I am willing to serve as a partner and resource to new
TEA parcticipants to help prepare them for their upcoming field experience.
I will be available to serve as a TEA facilitator to
local TEA Associates networks to answer questions, visit the classrooms, host
local workshops, etc.
At the close of the field season, I will evaluate the
program formally (questionnaire provided). I understand that my ideas,
suggestions, and comments are necessary to help "grow" the TEA
Program, and will offer this input throughout my parcticipation.
I will send three copies of all press-related material
concerning my field research experience to the TEA Archives at Rice University
(one for the archive; one to EHR; one to OPP).
Each year for a period of at least three years, by 1
April, I will submit a single page "fact-sheet" electronically to the
TEA Archive/Rice University that describes my involvement in TEA activities such
as presentations, activities development, visits with researchers or classrooms,
Back to: TEA
Information Front Page