Educator News

Extreme Conditions Provide Excellent Environment for HOW 2004
02.13.04
Dewayne Washington
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt
(Phone: 301/286-0040)

Release: 04-09

A NASA Goddard Space Flight Center scientist is preparing to host NASA Explorer School (NES) teachers for Winter Camp 2004 History of Winter (HOW) at Northwood School, Lake Placid, New York, the week of Feb. 15 - 21. HOW is a science learning camp that will allow teachers the opportunity to live among and work alongside snow and ice scientists as they study the records in the snow and lake ice.

"I have always been fascinated by ice and snow and I thought it would be a good way to enable teachers to be better science teachers, essentially introducing them to a teacher as scientist (TAS) role." said Peter Wasilewski, of the Laboratory for Extraterrestrial Physics at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., and director of the History of Winter expedition. He along with Dr. Robert Gabrys, Goddard Education Officer, created HOW in 2001.

According to Wasilewski, the goal of HOW this year, is to provide Explorer School teachers with a better understanding about how "as only NASA can," relates to ice on Earth and beyond. "Teachers will be active participants as they learn from hands on experience and then translate what they have learned into a teacher enhancement framework that they would take back to their schools," says Wasilewski. "Ultimately their work will be the resource for the resultant classroom enrichment products."

Twenty-one teachers from twelve states are participating, some coming from as far away as Oregon and Florida and including the mid-Atlantic region. "The teachers have to sleep in the tents for the entire five days to gain the total experience, but this is optional" said Wasilewski. "We also have the studies from previous years and will be using the same techniques as before. We will be comparing our measurements with those taken in the last three years."

The teacher teams will investigate ice crystal patterns from Lake Placid, Cascade Lake and the Icefall at the Cascade Lake site. They will learn about the study of solar system ice, tools to be used, cold weather camping and lots more. "In years past the experience has proven to be very effective and a great team building experience," said Wasilewski.

Tony Gow from the U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Lab with over 40 years of Arctic and Antarctic experience will be the scientific leader. Wasilewski will lead a team of experts to create an on-site and follow-on science structure. Technical experts will videotape, video stream and archive the events and the hands-on science details.

After the snow and ice studies are complete, teachers will use their history of winter experience to develop an innovative science curriculum that meets National Science Education Standards.

Lake Placid, host of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics, is considered an ideal location for non-polar snow-ice-cold investigations because of the extreme temperature and yearly snowfall totals.

For more information about HOW check out the website at: www.historyofwinter.org

Go to http://howexcite.gsfc.nasa.gov for exciting visual records of the HOW2004 experience.