Adeena Teres, a teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Coral Springs, is going on the trip of a lifetime. She will be traveling with “PolarTREC” to explore the polar ice caps in Greenland. PolarTREC (Teachers and Researchers Exploring and Collaborating) is a company devoted to providing polar research-based travel opportunities to educators in grades K-12.
NASA will fund Teres as part of “Operation Ice Bridge,” a scientific exploration in its ninth straight year to measure changes in the elevation of the ice sheet and sea ice extent.
Teres is grateful for this incredible opportunity. She is looking forward to braving extreme weather and conducting real scientific research in the Arctic. A Philadelphia native, she knows the snow and what she has seen is nothing compared to what lies ahead. She will explore and share this experience with her students via the Internet.
Teres applied for the trip a couple of times before she was finally accepted. She was persistent because as she explained, “It’s just something I’ve never done before.”
Teres is going on a “Survey Mission,” where she will record the amount of ice in the Arctic, conduct basic research, and collect data. Her curiosity and passion for the subject will power her forward as she shares newfound knowledge with her students from this life-changing journey.
Teres already has plans for how she will incorporate the trip into her curriculum, and she knows that it will benefit her students. “They’re going to learn what it’s like to be a real scientist,” she said.
Teres will be collaborating with other teachers and posting about her experiences in an online journal, so everyone will be able to follow her on her mission. According to Teres, the journal will be interactive, allowing her students to ask questions, and her to answer them directly.
Teres is most excited to see what it’s like to do real field research. She anticipates recording personal memories based on these adventures. She hopes to gain “a fresh outlook on science” and bring her newfound enthusiasm to the classroom. “I would like to learn more about polar science, learn more about what NASA is doing, and what other projects are out there for different scientists and teachers,” Teres said.
She is eager to learn and grow as a person, a teacher, and as a student, herself. “This is a one-of-a-kind chance to have a cultural immersion and gain valuable life skills,” she said. “I definitely want to see a polar bear, a crevice, ice calving, (the breaking of ice chunks from the edge of a glacier), snow-covered mountains, an expanse of white…which in my mind is almost unfathomable,” she added.
For Teres, this mission of stepping out of her comfort zone and the Florida sunshine into the chilly Arctic air will be unforgettable. Her students are lucky to have a teacher who is devoted to her craft, passionate about delving into uncharted territory and sharing her knowledge with them.