Regina Brinker is a middle school science and engineering teacher in Livermore, California. She believes that it is her job to have students become so interested in science and technology that they want to continue studying these fields in high school and beyond. Mrs. Brinker engages students through hands-on inquiry and collaboration. Projects range from raising trout eggs, monitoring a pond's ecosystem, sending ping pong balls into space, and building robots and ROVs to international exchanges. Mrs. Brinker's students monitor seasonal changes of campus trees; this makes them better observers of the world around them. Development of this project inspired Mrs. Brinker to create a TED-Ed talk on phenology.
Through work with PolarTREC, Mrs. Brinker plans to give students a better understanding of the interrelationships of Earth's systems. Ecosystems don't exist in isolation. Mrs. Brinker wants her students to know how our collective actions influence climate change, both locally and around the Earth, and then choose to act responsibly.
Why I applied…
"Increased student learning and engagement are my prime motivating factors for applying to PolarTREC. As a middle school science and engineering teacher, one of my job responsibilities is to have students become so interested in science and engineering, to find these topics so rewarding and fun, that students will want to continue to take science, technology, and engineering classes in high school and beyond. I try to bring relevance and real world application of lessons into class. Whether or not I am chosen to do field work, connecting students to PolarTREC scientists increases student interest and engagement in lessons. Hopefully, a few career aspirations occur are also sparked.
I hope to gain insight into what fieldwork is like, and what day-to-day experiences in polar climates is like. By experiencing a polar community and landscape, I will be better able to appreciate and understand the setting, and then better able to teach about polar issues. At IPY 2010, Sami gave presentations and displays. The Sami were referred to in a recent news story about mining in Norway. Without the IPY experience, I probably wouldn’t have read the story, let alone understood the nuances of it."
Education and Outreach Highlights
Regina's involvement in the broader dissemintation of her work to bring cutting edge science into the classroom has encouraged her students to present their work at regional conferences such as the International Teachers and Scientists Partnership meeting in 2015.