Advice for NITARP teachers and students

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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

2010 class

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.

Student selection needs to be extraordinarily careful, because getting a lazy-excuse-making student causes terrible problems and throws unfair burden on all others. Be up-front with requirements and threats for kicking them out of the program, and be sure to make good on your threats, even if travel reservations have already been made.

Try making a poster and printing a poster early on so you have that part of the process under control. It could be the education side, with what the students were learning to prepare to go to Pasadena, what the science proposal is all about with what you anticipate you might find, what you learned at Caltech in the summer or anything else related.

The one thing I didn't know about making a power point poster was to look into the preferences when saving the file and make sure that the option for compressing graphics is NOT checked. The default is that the file is saved with graphics compressed, so one has to 'unclick' the radial button for that option. The poster that we displayed was actually saved as a huge jpg (42x42inches), without compression, and printed at the Kinkos/FedEx, or something like that. Trying to save it as a pdf, kept compressing the graphics which would make them fuzzy. I never tried saving it as a pdf without compression because the jpg choice worked.

The other advice I have is that the teachers/students should work 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.

Student to Student


Expect to need tow ork harder than you ever have in your life.