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Operation Pathfinder

Group of teachers

The 20 teachers selected out of the 60 who applied for the Operation Pathfinder workshop represented elementary and middle schools in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Nebraska.

Elementary and middle school teachers from across the Midwest brushed up their knowledge of oceanography and coastal processes while enjoying Lake Superior this summer. They were part of a two-week Operation Pathfinder workshop held at the University of Minnesota Duluth in July. The workshop was co-sponsored by Minnesota Sea Grant and the Lake Superior Center.

The 20 teachers participated in field trips, including one to Madeline Island to study waves and beach formation and to learn about the Native American history of the area. They also traveled along the North Shore of Lake Superior to study geology, and kayaked along Duluth’s Park Point. Classroom presentations were given by guest speakers on topics including shipwrecks, limnology and coastal processes, the Internet and water quality, and global studies.

Jo Landwer, a teacher at Vandyke Elementary, thought the balance between field and classroom experience was great. She felt privileged to be selected as a participant. “The quality of the program was outstanding. The material was new and interesting, and the resource people were excellent,” Landwer said.

Bruce Munson, Minnesota Sea Grant Marine Educator and Project Director for Operation Pathfinder, felt that the summer workshop was a successful learning experience all around. “It was a great group of teachers and we learned together,” said Munson. “Everyone left with a better understanding of limnology and oceanography. They also gained curriculum materials and ideas they will bring into their classrooms.”

Munson’s goal was to have the teachers learn how to teach limnology and oceanography. “Feedback from the teachers is ongoing and it appears they are enjoying teaching their students the new material,” Munson said.

The participants received college credit for their completion of the workshop.

Currently, Munson is working on a proposal for another Operation Pathfinder-type workshop to be held in two years called COAST.

By Josephine Anderson
March 1998

Return to March 1998 Seiche

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