Show, Don’t Tell: Michigan Teachers Bring Great Lakes Science into the Classroom

Science communication is a lot easier when you can show instead of tell. That’s one of many lessons that science teachers from Northeast and Southeast Michigan learned at the Lake Huron Place-Based Education Summer Teacher Institute.

The program, which took place August 8 – 11 in Oscoda, Michigan, brought together some of the state’s top Great Lakes scientists. Teachers explored local woodland, water, and schoolyard habitats under their guidance and expertise to learn how to engage students without needing to venture far from the classroom.

Teachers from across Michigan took part in the four-day Lake Huron Place-Based Education Summer Teacher Institute. Photo: Michigan Sea Grant
Teachers from across Michigan took part in the four-day Lake Huron Place-Based Education Summer Teacher Institute. Photo: Michigan Sea Grant

Teachers learned about the important value of aquatic ecosystems, how students can build underwater robots to use in their own water studies, and the growing problem of marine debris pollution.

“The end goal for teachers was to explore opportunities for expanding student learning – and connections with community – by engaging their students in local Great Lakes and natural resource stewardship projects,” explained Brandon Schroeder, Michigan State University Extension, Michigan Sea Grant and Tracy D’Augustino, MSU Extension. “It was an exciting week for teachers, exploring Great Lakes literacy and learning through place-based education stewardship practices.”

Scientists and experts from Michigan Sea GrantMSU ExtensionNOAA Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Alliance for the Great LakesNOAA Marine Debris Program, and many more lent their time to the program.

For participating in the program, teachers received a $500 stipend to build out a “place-based” educational experience for students at their school using knowledge they learned from the experts.

The program also worked with teachers to connect what they learned with the new Michigan Science Standards (pdf).

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