Connecting to the Poles through TEA E-Mail
Steve Stevenoski Lincoln High School Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin email@example.com Stephanie Shipp Rice University Houston, Texas firstname.lastname@example.org
Engagement and Exploration (Student Inquiry Activity
Keep a list of student ideas.
2. Explain that the students are going to investigate polar research and exploration through the journals of Teachers Experiencing Antarctica and the Arctic (TEA). TEA teachers parcticipate in polar research and share their experiences through on-line journals and letters.
3. Have each student visit the TEA site. Ask them to select a teacher who’s research or experience interests them. Why does a parcticular teacher capture their attention?
4. Ask each student to write a series of questions they wish to ask the TEA before they explore the TEA’s journals in detail.
5. Provide the students with the reproducible masters and ask that they review the procedure and fill in the information for teacher background.
Ask each student to read the journals of their selected TEA. What new questions interest the students? Do they find answers to their original questions? Remind the students to use other resources, such as the library and Internet searches to investigate their questions further.
As the students continue their investigations and reading, what questions remain unanswered?
7. What were the student’s original questions?. Can the class answer the questions? Have the student share the answers they found with the class.
Remind the class that all questions are valid - but that many questions may have been answered! Calling in the "specialist" should be done selectively - when the student has exhausted the resources to which they have access.
8. Explain that the students are going to write a pleasant, formal letter to the TEA to ask their questions. Ask the students what needs to go into the letter? Some areas for discussion include:
9. Have the students write their letters and then exchange them with other students for a critique. Does the letter have a proper address and date? Is it polite? Does it demonstrate that the student has some knowledge of the TEA’s research and experiences? Are the questions phrased clearly and concisely? Is the letter easy to read? Is the salutation and sign-off appropriate?
10. Ask that the students rewrite their letter incorporating the comments of their colleagues. Review the "final" letter and assist the student in sending it to the TEA through electronic mail.
Note that there may be a delay of several days for the responses; the TEA may be in transit between field stations, at a remote field site, or out of town. If a TEA has not responded, you may wish to resend the letter and contact another TEA.
Exchange (Students Draw Conclusions)