Arctic Wednesdays: Professional Development for Teachers in Extreme Weather & Climate

Mount Washington Observatory is excited to continue our popular Arctic Wednesdays professional development program this winter, introducing teachers and students to the arctic landscape of Mount Washington, often dubbed the “Home of the World’s Worst Weather.”

Our deadline to apply has passed for Winter 2024. Visit our Professional Development page to learn about more upcoming opportunities.

On select Wednesdays between January and March, teachers can apply to join our weather observers on their snowy commute to the Mount Washington Observatory. Once at the summit you’ll tour our legendary weather station, take part in a weather observation and report your findings live via videoconference to your students back in the classroom. What’s more, our Education team will provide additional resources including Observatory data to support continued discovery after your trip.

Space is limited to two teachers per trip. Lunch will be provided. Advanced booking required; the cost is $249. Additionally, if you’d like to follow along with our participating teachers this winter, check out the Arctic Wednesdays Community Blog

Made possible with generous support from Cormack Construction and McLane Middleton

To apply, visit this link to submit an application for the program: HERE

o   January: 1/10/24 (back up date 1/24/24); 1/17/24 (back up date 1/24/23)

o   February: 2/7/24 (back up date 2/28/24); 2/21/24 (back up date 2/28/24)

o   March: 3/6/24 (back up date 3/20/24); 3/13/24 (back up date (3/20/24)

8:00 AM Meet at Maintenance Garage (Mt. Washington Auto Road)
8:15 AM Orientation/Safety Talk/Gear Check in Maintenance Garage
8:30 AM Load snowcat
9:00 AM Depart Base. Observer/Education Specialist serves as guide.
10:30 AM Arrive at the summit
11:00 AM Weather Station Tour and Weather Observation Shadow
12:00 PM Lunch
12:30 PM Shift Change Meeting
2:00 PM Live Connection w/ Classroom
3:30 PM Depart summit (latest possible time).
*Each trip will be customized to every teacher pairing to allow for flexibility in videoconference connection times, content and professional development goals. As always on Mount Washington, weather conditions and safety will dictate the schedule of activities.
  • Blog– Teachers are required to write either one pre- or post-trip blog entry, detailing either their classroom preparations, trip experience, classroom lessons that resulted from this program, etc. for the group’s benefit throughout the Arctic Wednesdays’; program. Also, it really adds to the excitement and creativity of the other teachers!!
  • The Trip– Flexibility is the name of the game on Mount Washington, and while we’ll work hard to get you up the mountain for as long as possible, the safety of our staff, volunteers and visitors is paramount. This means some trips may require quicker turn-arounds once reaching the summit, or may require lengthy, slow trips due to thick fog, or significant snowdrifts. For these reasons and more, every trip will be unique!
  • Live video-connection– While not a requirement, Observatory staff can facilitate a live video connection back to your students before, during or after your trip up to the summit.
  • Orientation Meeting– Participating teachers are required to attend a virtual video conference orientation to learn about the program, ask questions and meet other teachers and Observatory staff.
  • Lesson Plans– Teachers are encouraged to share a lesson plan to the Arctic Wednesdays program to aid other educators looking for new and effective ways to teach weather and climate.

Mount Washington Observatory can provide you and your classroom with a wide range of exciting and concrete resources to deepen understanding of weather and climate. The Observatory maintains and adds to an 90-year climate record on the summit of Mount Washington containing a number of weather and climate variables on top of data from over a dozen remote ‘mesonet’ stations situated throughout the White Mountains. For readily available data, visit the Mount Washington Weather Archives for more information.

Observatory trips grant access to Mount Washington’s alpine zone, but not everyone is suited for this environment. Please read our full health and safety requirements to make sure you are eligible for a Mount Washington Observatory winter trip.

For your health and safety, and for the health and safety of your fellow trip mates, you will be required to come prepared with attire and gear to protect you from Mount Washington’s extreme conditions. View the full list on our required winter gear list.

If you have any questions about any of this gear, don’t hesitate to contact us. We will help you find what you need to enjoy the trip of a lifetime!

Extreme weather may occur at any time, and may delay a trip’s ascent or descent. For this reason, we recommend that you remain flexible with your travel plans for the day before and after your trip.

Since you’ll be traveling with our summit crew on their shift change day, it’s possible the trip up the mountain may be moved a day ahead or a day late to avoid dangerous weather conditions. MWO Staff will make every effort to notify the participating teacher with as much notice as possible, but please know that notice may only be 24 or 36 hours in advance. Please be prepared for this possibility—it’s part of the adventure!

For more information, email education@mountwashington.org or call 603-356-2137 ext. 225.