National Science Teachers Association

According to the National Commission on Mathematics and Science Teaching for the 21st Century (U.S. Department of Education (2000), “The most direct route to improving mathematics and science achievement for all students is better mathematics and science teaching.” To this end, WISSARD has been actively involved in teacher professional development opportunities. Using polar research as the hook, we have delivered science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) based concepts, hands on activities and curricula to K-12 teachers from across the United States. Building a strong educational presence for the Office of Polar (OPP) programs at the National Science Teachers Association National (NSTA) meetings and effective professional development for teachers is a focus of the WISSARD project which supports teacher professional development activities at the National Science Teacher Association annual meetings. 

WISSARD has supported four different types of professional development opportunities for teachers at the NSTA conferences, including the 4.5 hour symposium, Clues to the Cryosphere:  Lessons from the Ice, featuring Polar scientists and polar educators.  Six, one-hour in depth lectures from polar scientists followed each symposium (a total of 12).   

The third professional development activity organized for teachers was the organization and staffing of an Office of Polar Programs booth in the exhibitor hall for the duration of the 4-day conference in 2012, reaching more than 7,000 teachers. Materials for distribution were coordinated with the Office of Polar programs and various scientific groups.  The booth was staffed by scientists participating in the Clues to the Cryosphere symposium as well as scientists involved in other outreach efforts at the conference.  Graduate students, PolarTrec teachers and Outreach and Education Coordinators working on a variety of Polar science projects all worked together to staff the booth, and NSF had a bigger cohesive presence at the NSTA conference as a result. 

The fourth deliverable for teachers consisted of a total of 7 NSTA Web Seminars from 2009-2012. Anyone can participate in the 1.5 hour online sessions synchronously via the NSTA webpage with a free registration, and all Web Seminars are archived and accessible for future viewing asynchronously, www.

A fifth deliverable was the delivery of a Polar Science Short Course specifically developed for elementary science teachers during the NSTA meeting in 2013.  This format provided modeling of hands-on Polar science activities for teachers.

WISSARD discoveries from the 2014-2015 season will be highlighted at 2015 NSTA conference in Chicago, April, 2015.  Join the WISSARD outreach teams and selected WISSARD scientists!

Links to  WISSARD webinars and podcasts