Penn. Chemistry Teacher Brings Alaska to His Students

By Francesca Duffy — October 14, 2011 1 min read
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Here’s a fun Friday tidbit: reports that Bill Smith, who teaches at Bristol High School in Pa., has been conducting class from a town about 800 miles from the North Pole this past week. Smith, who returns to Bristol tomorrow, received a grant from The National Science Foundation to study the interaction of various pollutants with snow and ice in Barrow, Alaska. He’s been conducting five lessons a day over webcast. Smith says of his journey:

This experience has been the high point of my 26-plus-year career so far...I also think that it is a special experience for the students. It's the getting out of the textbooks and into the laboratory that we find exciting. Actually doing science often provides otherwise disinterested students with the excitement and fun necessary to encourage them to focus on the more difficult tasks of learning science.

A student in Smith’s class commented that he has become more interested in Alaska after seeing the webcasts."It’s giving us a real insight into how scientists actually do research out in the field,” he said.

Maybe next time Smith will apply to do fieldwork somewhere with sand rather than snow and ice ...

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.