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Swab the deck and grab the microscope: Seeking educators for Great Lakes workshops

Photo:Crew pulling lines on sailing ship

Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of an amazing trip. A trip we hope you’ll want to join on a special sailing ship.

Sea Grant’s shipboard science programs transform teachers into motivated Great Lakes educators.

In the summer of 2017, a team of scientists and outreach specialists from Minnesota and Wisconsin Sea Grant joined a group of educators for a weeklong workshop aboard Wisconsin’s flagship the S/V Denis Sullivan, a three-masted schooner. Along with a dedicated crew of sailors, they transformed the lives of science educators from across grade levels who were brought together by a shared passion for the Great Lakes and a love of teaching and lifelong learning.

Over the course of five days and fueled by dynamic partnerships and the wind in their sails, the Minnesota and Wisconsin educators were exposed to the skills of navigating Lake Michigan, practiced the science of lake ecology, and gained knowledge of the region’s seafaring history from a maritime archaeologist. They get comfortable talking to scientists, scientists get comfortable talking to educators and they forge years-long relationships that benefit both.

The Sea Grant instructors also help the educators develop innovative classroom experiences to take back for their students to inspire the next generation of Great Lakes leaders, stewards and educators.

From August 9-13, 2018, sixteen educators from Wisconsin and Minnesota will immerse themselves in Lake Michigan aquatic science, sailing and shipwrecks, learning about coastal communities along the way and experiencing new computer technologies they can use in their classrooms. Read more here.

The ship, crew, instructors and educators will depart from the Port of Milwaukee on Aug. 9, aboard the replica three-masted wooden schooner S/V Denis Sullivan, sail north and return to the port Aug. 13. The educators will work in teams, with more experienced teachers mentoring those new to Great Lakes science concepts alongside scientists and Sea Grant instructors.

Follow along with the 2018 educators at the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network’s Center for Great Lakes Literacy “2018 Lake Michigan Shipboard Science” blog. Previous trip blogs are there too.

"A connection to the big lakes can make science, history, biology, physics, and reading and writing, relevant," said Kristine Kolenz, a fifth-grade teacher from Lester Park Elementary School in Duluth, Minnesota, and a 2017 shipboard science educator. "It is our charge as teachers to continually offer students true connections to what they are learning in the classroom."

In addition to the S/V Denis Sullivan workshops, educators have opportunities to apply to participate in annual cruises aboard the Environmental Protection Agency’s research vessel Lake Guardian. Each year a research cruise is offered in one of the Great Lakes.

Programs like the educator shipboard science workshops on the Denis Sullivan are becoming increasingly difficult to fund. The financial and human resources needed to offer these programs is significant yet the return on those investments for educators and students lasts for years.

How can the value of inspiration be measured? What is a fair price for establishing a strong and capable network of Great Lakes-knowledgeable educators?

The shipboard workshops are currently supported by the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network’s Center for Great Lakes Literacy, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program, and Minnesota and Wisconsin Sea Grant.

We hope this video conveys to you the enthusiasm and value of this professional development opportunity for educators in the Great Lakes region. We ask that you share this with educators who might be interested and consider a making a financial contribution of support for this outstanding program.

Please share this information widely. We welcome comments and questions.

R/V Lake Guardian and S/V Denis Sullivan cruise information is posted on the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network’s Center for Great Lakes Literacy website https://www.cgll.org/. Application announcements are also posted on the Minnesota Sea Grant website here: www.seagrant.umn.edu/news/

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Posted on August 3, 2018


This page last modified on August 06, 2018     © 1996 – 2018 Regents of the University of Minnesota     The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.
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