Resource Type
Completion Time
Less than a week
All Aged
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Kirk Beckendorf
General Polar Careers


This activity is designed to make a connection between a group of scientists and the students.


Students will learn that scientists are people too.


The teacher will need to contact a group of scientists to make sure they would like to participate in the project and to explain to them the goals of the project. These goals are to develop a connection between the scientists and the students and to help break the stereotype (often negative) many students have of scientists. Although this assignment is written specifically for teachers going out on a field research experience it could also be used by other teachers who are willing to contact scientists on their own. Many scientists would be more than willing to participate, even when approached cold turkey.


The goal of this assignment is for students and scientists to make a connection before the teacher's field research experience. This should provide a richer experience for all involved.

Prior to the teacher deploying for their PolarTREC experience it is beneficial for students and the scientists to make a connection. The teacher should contact the scientists with whom they will be working. Obtain from each researcher an "autobiography". The autobiography should be written at a level appropriate for the teacher's students. Ask them to include information that will inform the students about themselves at both a professional level as well as at a personal level. Also ask them to send pictures, again pictures that show students things about their professional and personal lives.

After these have been obtained, have students read through the autobiographies and select key pieces of information about that person that should be displayed on the classroom wall. Also have them write two questions that they would like to ask each scientist, one about their professional life and one about their personal life. Students should also review the pictures and decide which should be displayed.


  • Students could research more about the specific types of scientists involved.

  • Students could ask one of the scientists to "mentor" them on a science fair project.

  • A similar project could be done with students researching "historic/famous" scientists and then writing an "autobiography" as if they were the scientists. Students could then share their "autobiographies" with other students and make a bulletin board based on these reports. See the sample bulletin board at the end of this lesson.


Kirk Beckendorf, kirkbeckendorf [at] Some of these ideas were based on thoughts and suggestions from other PolarTREC teachers.


K-4 5-8 9-12 Content Standard G: History and Nature of Science: a. Science as a human endeavor Content Standard G: History and Nature of Science: a. Science as a human endeavor Content Standard G: History and Nature of Science: a. Science as a human endeavor

Standards Other


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This program is supported by the National Science Foundation. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed by this program are those of the PIs and coordinating team, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.