June Teisan, The Big Blue Marble, April 30, 2015

NOAA Teacher at Sea
June Teisan
Aboard NOAA Ship Oregon II
May 1 – 15, 2015

Mission: SEAMAP Plankton Study
Geographical area of cruise: Gulf of Mexico
Date: Thursday, April 30, 2015

Personal Log 

The Big Blue Marble. Ever heard the term?


“Blue Marble”


That’s a description of Earth, our home planet. Our amazing, unique, beautiful, water-rich planet.

It is the oceans, lakes, rivers, and streams that give Earth its stunning blue hue and foster life on our planet. I am passionate about protecting our water resources, and equally passionate about sharing this stewardship mission with students and peer educators. So I’m beyond excited that tomorrow I begin a two-week adventure that combines my love of teaching and my passion for water stewardship by sailing with the crew of NOAA’s Oregon II research vessel!

Growing up in Michigan, the Great Lakes State, I enjoyed spending time on the beaches, swimming and boating on the lakes, canoeing the rivers, and exploring the rich diversity of life in these habitats. An early interest in science was probably fostered by these experiences, and motivated me to be a science teacher.


June Teisan


I have taught middle school life science in a small district near Detroit for 27 years, and early in my career I realized that many of my urban students grew up without a connection to nature or exposure to Michigan’s aquatic treasures. So I built exciting outdoor, ‘place-based’ learning and citizen science research into my curriculum, applying for grants to fund the field work and lab supplies.

My students and I have constructed water-quality buoys and deployed them in the Great Lakes.


June’s students building a bouy.


We have searched together for macro invertebrates in leaf litter collected in wetland areas.


Searching for invertebrates


Teams of these incredible student-scientists have won awards for their lake research.


Student Scientists


With all of my water studies and curriculum work, I’d heard about NOAA’s Teacher at Sea Program. For 25 years the Teacher at Sea program has offered a premier educator training experience that launches an educator on an authentic research expedition to work side-by-side with world-class scientists in the field. The teacher can, in turn, share this adventure with students in their classroom. In my case, I’ll be sharing my ocean experiences with educators and students across the country! As an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow placed in NOAA’s office of Education in Washington, D.C., I am spending the year presenting to teachers at professional development conferences nationwide, so I’ll bring a vibrant, first-hand account of the Teacher at Sea program to my audiences of educators. And although I don’t have a class of my own right now, I’m also in touch with K-12 students through my home district and in the classrooms of my former student teachers. So let the adventure on our big blue marble begin!

Lindsay Knippenberg: An Introduction, August 28, 2011

NOAA Teacher at Sea
Lindsay Knippenberg
Aboard NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson
September 4 – 16, 2011

Mission: Bering-Aleutian Salmon International Survey (BASIS)
Geographical Area: Bering Sea
Date: August 28, 2011

Posing with the Albert Einstein statue on my first day as an Einstein Fellow in Washington DC.

Posing with the Albert Einstein statue on my first day as an Einstein Fellow in Washington DC

Before I begin my adventure, I should probably introduce myself. My name is Lindsay Knippenberg and I am currently an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Washington, D.C. You might be asking yourself, what is an Einstein Fellow? The Einstein Fellowship is a year-long professional development opportunity for K-12 teachers who teach science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. Around 30 educators are placed within the federal government each year and our job is to inform our agency or office on matters related to education. Last year fellows were placed at the National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Energy, Department of Education, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and some fellows were even placed within the offices of U.S. senators. To learn more about what I have been working on as an Einstein Fellow check out the video below, or you can go to the NOAA Education website to view some of the resource collections that my office has made for educators this year.

My Freshmen even have energy during 1st Hour.

My Freshmen even have energy during 1st Hour.

Before I came to Washington, D.C., I was a high school science teacher in St. Clair Shores, MI. At South Lake High School I taught Biology, Environmental Science, and Aquatic Biology. As a teacher, one of my goals was to get my students to take risks and make goals that take them beyond the city bus lines. Through my previous teacher research experience as a PolarTREC teacher in Antarctica, moving to Washington, D.C. for a year-long fellowship, and now traveling to Alaska to board a ship for the Bering Sea I hope to show my students that you can challenge yourself and step outside of your comfort zones and get big rewards. I am very excited to join the crew aboard the Oscar Dyson to learn about the science that is conducted on board a NOAA vessel and the careers that are available to my students through NOAA.

The Oscar Dyson will be my home for 12 days

The Oscar Dyson will be my home for 13 days

So where am I going and what will I be doing? On Friday I will be leaving hot and humid Washington, D.C. for cool and breezy Dutch Harbor, Alaska. In Dutch Harbor I will board the NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson. The Oscar Dyson is one of NOAA’s newer vessels and is one of the most technologically advanced fisheries survey vessels in the world. As a NOAA Teacher at Sea I will have the responsibility of learning about the science that is done onboard the ship, helping the variety of scientists that are onboard with their research projects, and then communicating what I learned through a blog and classroom lesson plans. The main research project that many of the scientists will be working on is called the Bering-Aleutian Salmon International Survey (BASIS).

Chum Salmon and Walleye Pollock are two fish species that I will be seeing a lot of.

Chum Salmon and Walleye Pollock are two fish species that I will be seeing a lot of.

The BASIS survey was designed to improve our understanding of salmon ecology in the Bering Sea. We will be sampling the fish and the water in the Southeastern Bering Sea to better understand the community of fish, invertebrates, and other organisms that live there and the resources available to them. The survey has been divided up into two legs. The first leg is from August 19 – September 1 and Teacher at Sea, KC Sullivan, is onboard blogging about his experience. To learn more about BASIS and what lies ahead for me check out his blog. I will be sailing on the second leg of the “cruise” from September 4 – 16 and as a Teacher at Sea I will also be blogging about my experiences. I am very excited about lies ahead for me and I hope that you will follow my adventures as a NOAA Teacher at Sea.