Advice for NITARP teachers and students
This page is meant to be a collection of advice within NITARP -- from educators to educators, from students to students, and every other possible permutation! The original list has been assembled from the 2010 and 2011 class discussions at the AAS, but you should all feel free to add to it anytime.
Teacher to Teacher
Use the wiki early so you are not intimidated by it when you team really needs it to communicate or when you need to find resources that are on the wiki. Figure out who on your team loves this sort of stuff or wants to become good at it and let them get the rest of your team involved.
Meet with your scientist on a regular basis through telecons. From becoming familiar with the science, reading journal articles related to your area of study, asking questions because you really don't understand, etc. Encourage your scientist to share power points that he/she has made, send them to you so each of you can access them on your own computer while there is a discussion via a telecon. Or, vice versa, prepare a power point for your scientist about the learning your students are doing. The scientists love seeing pictures of your students and work and having quotes from you and from your students. This encourages everyone.
Try to arrange a virtual meeting with students from all of your schools involved so they can get to know each other.
Read "How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming" by Mike Brown. The settings include Caltech, and it shows the human side of doing science.
Any students you select should possess a strong desire to participate and be good at timely communication. We had a couple enthusiastic students change their minds midstream, (things like finding a new romance) so emphasize to your students about staying committed to the task.
The other advice I have is that the teachers/students should try to get started on the data analysis before they go to Pasadena. If there are several programs and mathematical analyses that they will be needing to use to analyze the data, they should learn the basics of these before they come so they can just go ahead with understanding the analysis and not learn multiple programs as well as the science. I think the way you made the video of the routines for the finder charts was helpful. I need to do this myself for the programs that processes that I expect teachers and students to be able to do.
Use the team wiki.
Meet on a regular basis - teachers with scientist on the phone or Skype, and teachers with their students at school.
Talk to people. Communicate.
Keep a lab manual with notes - you won't remember what you were thinking when you did your initial analysis. Give them to your students too.
Make sure all software and hardware works before the Caltech trip.
Try to have a Skype session between schools between in-person visits.
There are no bad questions. Ask your questions, because someone else is likely to have the same question.
The end of summer is a looooong time. There is brain drain between your summer visit and starting up again in the Fall. Keep good notes.
Color-code your xls spreadsheets.
Say thank-you. Thank your principal for letting you go, thank your teachers for rearranging homework, thank your teachers for chaperoning you. Even just a simple email with a picture of you by your poster would be great.
Even though it's been said previously but communication is the most critical element in the key to success in this project. If you're struggling to complete tasks, speak up. If you're not sure you're understanding what you're doing or why you're doing it, speak up. If you're feeling overwhelmed, speak up. Don't be afraid to contact your mentor teacher with questions and suggestions. The main point ... communicate with your team.
Student to Student
Expect to need to work harder than you ever have in your life.