Partners in Education

Black and white cartoon of Lake Superior with three embedded fish outlines.

 

The Partners in Education program is a collaboration between Minnesota Sea Grant, the University of Minnesota Duluth Master's of Environmental Education program, and the Great Lakes Aquarium that provides University of Minnesota Duluth undergraduate students with volunteer opportunities to work with education professionals.

The partnership trains volunteer educators to provide free outreach programs to Twin Ports schools. The topics covered such as weather, watersheds, properties of water and geology, change each semester and are all relevant to the Great Lakes.

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Project description

The Partners in Education (PIE) program seeks college students who want to gain teaching experience volunteering in grades 3-5 classrooms using science-based curriculum provided by the Great Lakes Aquarium. The PIE program is a collaboration between Minnesota Sea Grant, the University of Minnesota Duluth Master's of Environmental Education program, and the Great Lakes Aquarium that provides UMD students with training and experience in classroom education. Contact PIE Coordinator, Emily Jones, pie.gla@gmail.com for information.

Project activities:

PIE's 2021-2022 lesson, Mussel Mania, covers the impact of invasive zebra mussels on the food web and is suitable for grades 3-5. Lessons may be adapted to meet the needs of younger and older learners upon request.

In the fall of 2021, PIE was offered to 391 students in the Twin Ports of Duluth, Minnesota and Superior, Wisconsin; 360 of the 391 students in grades K-5 participated.

In the fall of 2021, our new PIE Program Coordinator, Emily Jones, hit the ground running by recruiting new and connecting with seasoned undergraduate student volunteers, selecting a lesson, adapting it for virtual learning, and providing training for all of the volunteers.

PIE's spring 2022 lesson, Lake Superior Rocks! focuses on the geological formation of the Lake Superior basin and is suitable for grades 3-5. Lessons may be adapted to meet the needs of younger and older learners upon request.

PIE is working closely with the Great Lakes Aquarium to provide hands-on kits with compiled and ready to use lesson plans and materials for educators to check out. These kits are designed to meet the latest Minnesota Science Standards.

Why Minnesota Sea Grant?

Our Partners in Education program supports Sea Grant's mission to enhance the practical use and conservation of coastal, marine and Great Lakes resources in order to create a sustainable economy and environment.

What have we done lately?

Fall 2022: Fish Families
In fall 2022, PIE will offer a new lesson called Fish Families. This lesson is about the structure and function of the adaptations of Minnesota game fish.

Fish Families is a fantastic opportunity to get students in grades 3-5 thinking like a scientist through observation and classification.

PIE is working closely with the Great Lakes Aquarium to align the Fish Families curriculum and hands-on kits with compiled and ready to use lesson plans and materials to Minnesota Science Standards.

Virtual adaptations to the hands-on kits has allowed PIE to reach more students across multiple platforms. PIE is continuing to provide opportunities for hybrid and in-person learning this fall.

Participants & audience

Our Partners in Education program seeks college students who want to gain teaching experience volunteering in grades 3-5 classrooms using science-based curriculum provided by the Great Lakes Aquarium.

Funding

The Partners in Education program is jointly funded by Minnesota Sea Grant and the University of Minnesota Duluth Master's of Environmental Education program.

Testimonials

From a teacher ...

"The kids were super excited and engaged the whole time. Many, if not all, raised their hand to answer questions, take part in the game, etc."


Jordan Kienholz
Former PIE volunteer and full-time teacher,
Duluth Edison Charter Schools, North Star Academy
March 2022


Program Staff

Image of Emily Jones.
Partners in Education Coordinator (08/22/2022 to 05/21/2023)
Marte Kitson headshot
Environmental Literacy Extension Educator

Partners

  • Great Lakes Aquarium, Museum and Aquaria
  • University of Minnesota, Duluth, Department of Education, Academic Institution (College and University)
  • University of Minnesota, Duluth, Center for Environmental Education, Academic Institution (College and University)