The (Cold and) Windy City
Chicago's famous football team, the Bears, was not named for the polar variety, but I came to this city to share about my Arctic expedition— a story of polar bears and sea ice! I was selected to deliver a workshop at the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) conference along with two other Grosvenor Teacher Fellows, Mrs. Bugg from North Carolina and Mr. Szymanski from right here in Chicago. We wanted to let teachers know about this amazing National Geographic/Lindblad Expeditions fellowship that brings teachers on voyages of discovery all over the world.
In Dr. Shubin's talk, and Your Inner Fish, he also tells the story of his research team's 2004 discovery in the Canadian Arctic of Tiktaalik roseae, a 375 million year old fossil fish that has both fish and amphibian traits. Thus, Tiktaalik is an important transitional fossil between fish and tetrapods (creatures walking on land). In delivering his address, Dr. Shubin emphasized that science is a collaborative endeavor; that is, scientists work together to conduct investigations and solve problems. Though now based at the University of Chicago, Dr. Shubin had also served as Provost of Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History. I planned to visit this museum before I left Chicago.
This morning, about 30 teachers attended our session, and they were a very enthusiastic audience! Our talk was entitled "Exploring Global Regions and Resources with National Geographic." Mrs. Bugg, Mr. Szymanski, and I had all taken different voyages aboard the National Geographic Explorer through our fellowship: Mrs. Bugg journeyed through the Canadian Maritimes, Mr. Syzmanski got to explore Antarctica, and I, of course, was cruising through Arctic Svalbard.
Our talk introduced the Grosvenor Teacher Fellowship and described our particular voyages using expedition photos. We emphasized the importance of imparting geo-literacy to students; that is, an awareness of global interactions, interconnections, and implications. So, we tried to describe how our adventures enriched our own geo-literacy of the regions we explored and how it impacted our teaching. Expeditionary learning can be incredibly powerful!
Soon I would be actually traveling back to Hawai'i. I have learned a lot, but I am anxious to get back home to the warm weather and my wonderful Star of the Sea 'ohana. Aloha Chicago!