Students Ask Scientists

Students Ask Scientists is an opportunity for 5th-12th grade students to ask questions of working scientists about their work toward gaining a better understanding of the Great Lakes region and an idea of what a career in science might be like.

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Project description

What is the Students Ask Scientists project?

Students Ask Scientists enables teachers to provide students in grades 5-12 with an opportunity to ask questions of working scientists. The goal of this project is to improve the students' and teachers' understanding of the Great Lakes and help them gain insights into what a career in science might be like.

What are Students Ask Scientists video chats?

Students Ask Scientists video question-and-answer calls connect teachers and students in 5th-12th grade classrooms from across the Great Lakes region with scientists from a range of local, state, and federal agencies and academic institutions.

What can I expect from a Students Ask Scientists video call?

Calls are arranged by a Sea Grant person from the Sea Grant Center for Great Lakes Literacy. The Sea Grant representative will have contacted the scientist in advance with the students' questions, but the students and teachers are welcome to ask additional questions during the video chat. During the video call, students and teachers will have an opportunity to learn about the scientist's current research projects and the scientific processes they are using to monitor and study the Great Lakes. Students are encouraged to ask scientists any burning questions they have about the Great Lakes and what it's like to have a career in science.

Calls from a scientist’s lab or office

Availability: Year-round based on the availability of scientists who match with teacher-chosen topics and grade level. Due to the limited number of slots available, calls are arranged on a first-come-first-served basis.

Topics: Scientists call into classrooms to discuss Great Lakes issues and current research efforts. The format of these calls can be either of the following:

Format: A student-driven Q&A session or a brief presentation from a scientist on Great Lakes topics chosen by the teacher, with time for Q&A after the presentation. Presentations are arranged to meet the needs of the teacher/students/school and typically last 30-60 minutes.

Platform: The Students Ask Scientists video calls are arranged using video conferencing platforms including Zoom, Google Meets, and others. Please ask if you have a specific preferred video-conference platform.

Scheduling: If you are interested in arranging a Students Ask Scientists lab/office call for your class, fill out the educator sign-up form and identify a scientist who appears to best meet your classroom’s needs.

Project Activities:

2022. Minnesota Sea Grant invites scientists and teachers to participate in Students Ask Scientists (SaS). If you are a scientist interested in talking to students about your research, please indicate your interest on the SaS Scientist Form. If you are an educator who is interested in a presentation for your class, please indicate your interest on the SaS Class Presentation Request Form.


Why Minnesota Sea Grant?

The Students Ask Scientists program supports Minnesota 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?

Participants & audience

Our Students Ask Scientists program seeks educators and students in 5th-12th grade classrooms from across the Great Lakes region who want to gain a better understanding of the Great Lakes area and what a career in science might be like.


The Students Ask Scientists program is funded by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

Program Staff

Amy Schrank headshot
Extension Program Leader (2023); Fisheries and Aquaculture Extension Educator