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Michael R. Wing
Science Teacher Sir Francis Drake High School
San Anselmo, California
Spaceward Bound Namibia 2010, UAR 2011,

I grew up in Massachusetts and attended the University of Chicago. I earned a Ph.D. in earth sciences at the University of California’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 1991. I am the author of ten papers in scientific journals on topics in geochemistry, oceanography, limnology and planetary science.

Since 1998 I have taught at Sir Francis Drake High School <http://www.drakehs.org/> in San Anselmo, California. Most of that teaching has been in the ROCK program <http://drake.marin.k12.ca.us/academics/rock/rock.htm> , an academy within Drake High consisting of four teachers and one hundred 9th and 10th graders. I love this program because it rewards initiative, creativity, engagement, teamwork, and coping with ambiguity. Traditional school mostly rewards doing what you're told and having a good work ethic – worthy attributes, but hardly enough for success in the real world.

One of the ten week long projects we do is to design a sustainable human colony on Mars. To extend this project, my students have built an insulated mini-greenhouse at the University of California’s White Mountain Research Station (elevation 12,470’.) It is the highest altitude cultivated ground in North America. We find quartz hypoliths in the nearby landscape.

In 2009 I went to the Mojave Desert to study cyanobacteria with Spaceward Bound. Also in 2009, I went to northern Finland with the National Science Foundation - funded PolarTREC Program <http://www.polartrec.com/prehistoric-human-response-to-climate-change> (I worked on an archaeological expedition) and won the Amgen Award for Science Teaching Excellence. I am using the award money to take my students on field-oriented expeditions modeled after this one.

 

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Editor: Linda Conrad
NASA Official: Liza Coe
Last Updated:February 2010