Two new Michigan Sea Grant educational tools focus on Great Lakes

October 21, 2013

Teaching Great Lakes science: lessons and data setsANN ARBOR—The Great Lakes provide a unique educational opportunity to students and residents of all ages. Two new tools from Michigan Sea Grant help bridge that connection: Teaching Great Lakes Science and Great Lakes FieldScope.

“These resources are designed to encourage people to explore the Great Lakes,” said Elizabeth LaPorte, Michigan Sea Grant director of communications and education services. “Our University of Michigan Sea Grant team worked with key partners to develop Teaching Great Lakes Science and Great Lakes FieldScope. Educators and others will find complete lessons, data sets, educator resources and a very dynamic mapping tool.”

Teaching Great Lakes Science is a website that offers lessons, related activities and data sets. The resources are easily incorporated into existing curriculum and are multidisciplinary, addressing science, technology, engineering and math subjects. For example, the resources explore climate and weather; lake effect snow and ice cover; physical properties of water; food webs and chains; native fish and habitat restoration; and harmful algal blooms, beach health and water quality.

Leading Great Lakes scientists, including Donald Scavia, Thomas Johengen and David Schwab, contributed scientific content.

“These two new online tools are excellent examples of translating important scientific content into practical applications, in this case, for helping educators and students better understand the Great Lakes,” said Scavia, director of U-M’s Graham Sustainability Institute. “I’m very glad to have contributed.”

FieldScope is a web-based mapping, analysis and visualization tool, hosted by the National Geographic Society, that can be used to investigate real-world matters like water quality or fish spawning grounds. The rich geographic context helps people gain a better understanding of their connection to the Great Lakes.

Users can explore rivers and streams, watershed boundaries, water depth, political boundaries, elevation and land cover. FieldScope participants can upload their own field data—including photos, measurements and field notes—and compare it with data collected from other areas.

Michigan Sea Grant partnered with Eastern Michigan University, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, the U.S. Geological Survey’s Great Lakes Science Center, the Great Lakes Observing System and National Geographic to create the educational tools.

Michigan Sea Grant helps foster economic growth and protect Michigan’s coastal, Great Lakes resources through research, education and outreach.


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