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Teachers Ship Out

Bob Munson and class aboard the Edna G.

Bob Munson (right) points out an aspect of the Enda G. tugboat to participants of the Great Lakes Maritime Transportation Teacher Institute.

Sea Grant helped host two workshops for teachers in Duluth this summer. The first, a Great Lakes Maritime Transportation Teacher Institute, was held July 24-28 and was made possible by a grant from the Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute. Ten teachers from throughout the Great Lakes region
participated in a range of hands-on experiences. They received special access to port facilities, maritime experts, and transportation specialists while exploring the social, environmental, economic, and technical aspects of Great Lakes transportation systems. Dale Bergeron, Sea Grant’s maritime extension educator, served as assistant instructor and other staff helped with event coordination and presentations.

“I think most students and adults have no idea how essential the Great Lakes are to our livelihoods and lifestyle,” said Lisa Bircher, a teacher from Ohio. “Ninety-five percent of all goods consumed in our country traveled by ship.”

The experience allowed teachers to develop new lessons for science, math, social studies, and technology classes. They provided input for a maritime transportation quiz that Sea Grant will use with high school and college students.

The week was one of two organized by the Western Upper Peninsula Center for Science, Mathematics, and Environmental Education at Michigan Tech University.

The second event had a more biological bent. Seventeen teachers, including one from North Carolina, studied watersheds, geology, limnology, fisheries, and Ojibwe history during the Lake Superior Exploration Workshop, held July 29 August 4. The teachers learned from Great Lakes researchers and workshop staff, including Cindy Hagley, Minnesota Sea Grant environmental quality educator, who co-led the session. The goal of the workshop, which was offered through the Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE) Great Lakes, was to promote Great Lakes and ocean sciences in education programs and forge lasting relationships between researchers and educators.

Teachers working on the inside of a fish.

Two teachers from the Lake Superior Exploration Workshop get up close and personal with fish insides while aboard the L.L. Smith, Jr. Photo courtesy of Michigan Sea Grant

“Today we looked at food webs through the stomach of a lake trout,” said Erin McNamara, a teacher from Michigan. “In its belly we found a smelt, which in turn had zooplankton in its stomach. What an awesome visualization for our students.”

COSEE Great Lakes was formed earlier this year by Great Lakes Sea Grant educators through a grant from the National Science Foundation and the National Sea Grant College Program. The exploration workshop is just one component of many planned by Sea Grant through COSEE Great Lakes.


By Sea Grant Staff
October 2006

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