Science Gets Real

For Greensboro Day School’s 8th grade science teacher, Tim Martin, it started in 2009 when he was selected as a Polar TREC teacher and accompanied an international scientific research expedition to Siberia to participate in the Lake El’gygytgyn drilling project. From there, his passion for bringing real-life experiments to his classroom grew.

“One of the greatest challenges of science is introducing and working with real world problems. I find students most engaged when they are learning about and addressing real world problems,” Martin says.

Since 2009, Martin has continued his relationship with Polar TREC and the scientific research group, and now, through a grant from the NSF, he is able to assist teachers around the country with getting the equipment they need to take their own core samples and apply their experiments in the classroom. In August, Martin led a geoscience teacher training workshop at UMASS to help teachers gain hands-on field experience and insights into the latest developments in environmental research.

“As I learned through my participation in Siberia and my interaction with other teachers, exposing highly qualified, creative teachers to research science frequently translates into creative lessons using basic science concepts to address real scientific questions. This process is accelerated when classroom teachers collaborate with members of the research community,”Martin explains.

Recently, Martin and his students collected sediment core samples from the GDS learning pond to be used for geology and climate lessons. “Studying climate proxies in the cores retrieved from the learning pond and Lake El’gygytgyn have the potential for students to contribute to the larger scientific process by analyzing real data that will help further our understanding of climate change in the high arctic. By participating in this research, climate science will be advanced and students become more literate in the realm of climate science and geology.”

Does your school do something similar?

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