Polar Teachers and Researchers Exploring and Collaborating (PolarTREC) has been successfully partnering K-12 teachers with polar research scientists since 2007. The program brings K-12 educators together with Arctic and Antarctic-focused scientists to give the teachers the experience of participating in active science. It also provides researchers with outreach support as well as enthusiastic field hands.
The PolarTREC evaluation has utilized year-over-year program assessment and utilization of emergent themes to build a robust picture of this long-term program and further understand the program’s impacts on teachers, students, and researchers. The evaluation measures teacher STEM content knowledge gains, teacher confidence to teach STEM, student interest in polar science, and long-term impacts of the project on teacher and researcher relationships.
Our findings contribute to year-over-year program refinement to continually improve support for teacher learning and describe long-term impacts via annual alumni survey results.