NOAA Teacher at Sea
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
The Big Blue Marble. Ever heard the term?
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.
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.
We have searched together for macro invertebrates in leaf litter collected in wetland areas.
Teams of these incredible student-scientists have won awards for their lake research.
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!