Professional Development

Teachers on the Blue Heron

Teachers are students too! Great Lakes Aquarium is a classroom, a laboratory, a thinking space, and a portal to the natural world.

Check out the Teacher Resource Center for activities and resources from past workshops and events.

Science Institute for Educators

We offer workshops and field experiences that can connect directly to your work. From Lake Superior Food Webs 101 to using inquiry in the classroom to taking students into the field, our staff and network of collaborators provide educators from both formal and non-formal settings the opportunity to dig in and enhance their understanding.

Program descriptions and details follow; for a quick reference guide, download the full season professional development calendar. Help spread the word! Share the calendar with friends and coworkers (B&W printer-friendly version).

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Science Institute: Tuesday Series

Join us for a monthly, 2.5-hour weekday edition of professional development focused on Next Generation Science Standards to bring active learning to your students. Each month we will dive into a different topic, demonstrate a full lesson, and explore the science behind it:

  • Participate in the inquiry-based standards-aligned lesson
  • Learn from local science researchers and experts about their current work in the Lake Superior region
  • Access free teaching kits, equipment, and materials that can be checked out from our Teacher Resource Center.
  • Network with local educators
  • Earn up to 2.5 CEUs per session

Time: 4:30-7:00 pm

Topics:

October 25: Impervious Situations and Human Impacts on our Watershed with Chris Kleist – Stormwater Coordinator from City of Duluth

November 29: Fish CSI – Analyzing and Communicating Data with Dr. Joel Hoffman – Senior Biologist from the Environmental Protection Agency

December 20: Becoming a Scientist – Understanding Moose Health in Minnesota with EJ Isaac from Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Natural Resources Management Department

January 31: Interpreting Visual Data with Maps – Investigating Duluth Streams with Dr. Karen Gran- Fluvial Geomorphologist from University of Minnesota Duluth

February 28: Wild Rice Detectives – Manoomin Restoration with Tom Howes from Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Natural Resource Program

Cost: Free! (Includes coffee, light dinner, Aquarium admission and parking)

Register Online
Contact Samantha Smingler at (218) 740-2027 or ssmingler@glaquarium.org with any questions.

 

SciGirls STEM Professional Training at Great Lakes Aquarium

October 15, 9am – 4pm

SciGirls is an Emmy-award winning PBS KIDS television series and website dedicated to changing the way millions of girls think about STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Local educators are invited to participate in a hands-on, minds-on Professional Development Training facilitated by Lauren Borer (Twin Cities Environmental Education Consulting, LLC) and hosted by the Great Lakes Aquarium. We welcome you to practice proven strategies for engaging girls in STEM while participating in hands-on STEM activities!

Participants attending this workshop will:

  • Learn the latest research for exciting and engaging girls (and boys!) in STEM
  • Experience hands-on STEM activities
  • Leave with curriculum that puts a creative twist on teaching STEM.
  • Learn how to modify activities to engage students in STEM using the SciGirls Seven
  • Discover additional online resources that enhance teaching and learning experiences for all kids.

7 CEUs available

Cost: Free (please plan to bring your own lunch)

Register through the SciGirls Website

Contact Samantha Smingler at (218) 740-2027 or ssmingler@glaquarium.org with any questions.

 

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Teaching with Lake Superior Conference: Integrating STEM

November 12, 9am – 4pm

This full day conference is designed to offer sessions for pre-K – 12th grade educators in formal and non-formal settings.  The focus for the November conference will be on integrating science, technology, engineering, and math into real world problem solving with a local flare.  We again look forward to hosting a variety of local expert scientist and educators to share their best practices and tools for engaging students in STEM. Sessions include:

  • Minnesota Zoo – Engineering by Animals, Engineering From Animals, and Engineering For Animals
  • SciGirls: (an Emmy-award winning PBS KIDS television series dedicated to changing the way millions of girls think about STEM)
    • Citizen Science (K-5): Phenology and Butterflies
    • Citizen Science (6-12): Clouds and Climate Change, Birds in Minnesota
    • Physical Science (5-12): Friction and Heat Transfer Challenge in Minnesota Winters
  • Take your Daily Weather Study Outside! (Pre-K and K-5 sessions)
  • Becoming an Environmental Engineer (6-12)
  • UMD Swenson College of Science and Engineering will bring 5 different sides of engineering to life.
  • Great Lakes Aquarium Behind the Scenes Tours: Explore the STEM behind running the Aquarium
  • Computer Programming: computer networking and cyber security; getting your students hooked into technology
  • Food Science: the water chemistry of Lake Superior makes everything better!

6 CEUs available

Cost: $20  (includes Aquarium admission, parking, coffee, snacks and lunch).

Register Online

Contact Samantha Smingler at (218) 740-2027 or ssmingler@glaquarium.org with any questions.

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Project WET Training

December 10, 8am – 4pm

Project WET (Water Education for Teachers) is an international, interdisciplinary, water science and education program for formal and non-formal educators of k-12 students. This workshop will train you in using Project WET’s hands-on, interactive lessons that focus on water and encourage critical thinking.  Many of the materials need to use the activities from the Project WET curriculum and many more are available for free check-out from the Great Lakes Aquarium Teacher Resource Center.

Facilitators: Samantha Smingler and Emily Wartman

Cost: $50 (includes new Project WET curriculum guide ($30), coffee, light snacks, lunch, Aquarium admission and parking).

Register Online

Contact Samantha Smingler at (218) 740.2027 or ssmingler @glaquarium.org for more information.

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Winter Field Day

January 21, 9am – 4pm

Join us for a day of inquiry that you can replicate in your school yard to connect learners with the abundance of life in winter. Field day experience will connect you with local scientific research and provide engaging place-based lessons that incorporate real-time data and reporting focused on Lake Superior and the surrounding watershed. We will spend time inside and outside this day, so please plan to dress in layers.

This winter we will dive deeper into working with GPS units, mapping to calculate carbon sequestration, data collection from trees in winter and forestry management. 

Cost: $20 reserves your spot and includes: Aquarium admission, parking, coffee, light snacks and lunch. Please plan to bring your own lunch.

Register Online

Contact Samantha Smingler at (218) 740.2027 or ssmingler @glaquarium.org for more information.

 

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Teaching with Lake Superior Conference: Nature as a Resource

February 11, 9am – 4pm

This full day conference is designed to offer sessions for pre-K – 12th grade educators in formal and non-formal settings.  During our February conference we want to help you make the most of natural phenomena and draw resources of the North Woods into meaningful teaching moments. Sessions will include:

  • Will we Have a Snow Day? Join a meteorologist from the National Weather Service to understand the science behind lake effect and snow.
  • How Does Solar Power Work? Join experts from MN Power to discover what’s new in the world of renewable energy and how it works.
  • What Kind of Rock is This? Meet a geologist from the University of Wisconsin – Superior to uncover the unique geology of the Lake Superior region.
  • Why do Forest Fires Happen? What Happens to the Animals that Live There? Experts from the US Forest Service will help you answer these questions and many more.
  • Where Does All the Wood Go? Explore the forestry products made from Minnesota lumber with an expert from Boulder Lake Environmental Learning Center.
  • What Will Climate Change Mean for Me? Join speakers from Lake Superior National Estuary Research Reserve to investigate impacts on Lake Superior and the people in its watershed.

6 CEUs available

Cost: $20 (includes Aquarium admission, parking, coffee, snacks and lunch).

Register Online

Contact Samantha Smingler at (218) 740.2027 or ssmingler @glaquarium.org for more information.

 

NOAA: Deep Sea Discoveries

March 18, 8am – 4pm

NOAA’s (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration) Ocean Exploration and Research office will share their newest curriculum to help you make oceanic research come alive!

Cost: Free (includes Aquarium admission, parking, coffee, breakfast, lunch and print materials).

Register Online

Contact Samantha Smingler at (218) 740.2027 or ssmingler @glaquarium.org for more information.