Mr. Wille is a veteran science teacher at Aspen High School in Colorado. Andre teaches all levels of biology, as well as chemistry and integrated science. Andre actively utilizes the "outdoor classroom" to make scientific learning relevant. His students are involved in independent research and citizen science projects near the high school. Andre also leads a variety of outdoor education trips including a week long "Polar to Solar" ski mountaineering and desert canyoneering course. Andre's research interests include aquatic ecology, adaptation to extreme environments, and ornithology. When not teaching, Andre enjoys time in the outdoors with his wife Julie and daughters Anna and Sara.

Aspen High School

Aspen, CO
United States

Broader Impacts

Andre developed a book that chronicles his experience in PolarTREC to best convey the important messages of the program.

Why I Applied

My goal is to get students excited about polar research. Enthusiasm, personal experience, and relevancy will help to do this. These qualities will be integral to the new curriculum materials I develop. Lessons will start with multi-media presentations including still and video images, to provide an overview of the experience to students. From there, I will develop activities for students to learn more about the experience through personal and group problem solving. I have created a variety of activities from past experiences and find that they provide an additional opportunity for discussion on an individual basis as students generate questions. Another strategy that I find effective is to write an essay directed to my students, relating a topic to them with my own writing. This can then provide a great venue for discussion in the form of a Socratic dialogue.


Andre incorporates his experience into a unit on animal behavior for a Biology 2 course that includes squirrel research such as adaptations to extreme environments, circadian rhythms, and hibernation. His research experience also informs the content in his experiential education programming in the local schools called ""Polar to Solar"" Experiential Education Week exploring tundra and alpine environments at elevation with comparative studies to desert and lowland biomes nearby.

The experience has re-energized his instruction, and added new content. He is also making an effort to add new inquiry labs and field experiences. As a function of his community engagement Andre works closely on presentations with Aspen Center Environmental Studies (ACES) as part of a public Naturalist Nights speaker series.