Professional Development

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

Great Lakes Aquarium offers 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 enriching opportunities for both formal and non-formal educators.

Science Institute for Educators workshops share tools and content for engaging students in authentic STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) learning. In each of these FREE workshops, you can:

  • Participate in an inquiry-based, standards-aligned lesson.
  • Learn from local scientists, 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 the Aquarium’s Teacher Resource Center.
  • Network with local educators.
  • Earn CEUs in every session (CEU value is equal to the number of hours spent in session).

Questions? Contact Samantha Smingler at (218) 740-2003 or ssmingler@glaquarium.org.

 

Professional Development Calendar 2017-18:

Print the 2017-18 Professional Development Calendar here

9/26/17 – Supporting Students with Autism (4:30-7:00 pm)

10/11/17 – SciGirls Citizen Science (4:30 – 7:00 pm)

11/8/17 – Animal Behavior Science (4:30 – 7:00 pm)

12/5/17 – Nature Journaling: Capturing the Story of our Place (4:30 – 7:00 pm)

1/13/18 – Nature Journaling: Capturing the Story of our Place Level 2 (9:00 am – 4:00 pm)

1/23/18 – Engineering For Animals: Exhibit Design (4:30 – 7:00 pm)

2/3/18 – SciGirls Educator Training (9:00 am – 4:00 pm)

2/15/18 – Bringing the Classroom into the Field: Incorporating Teaching Kits at the Aquarium and Beyond (4:30 – 7:00 pm)

3/17/18 – NOAA: Deep Sea Discoveries – Why Do We Explore? and How Do We Explore? (8:00 am – 4:00 pm)

Supporting Students with Autism

Presented in partnership with the Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM)

Tuesday September 26, 4:30 – 7:00 pm

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is the fastest growing disability in Minnesota. As an educator in the classroom or in a non-formal setting, you encounter individuals with autism every day. By learning more about the neurodiversity of individuals with autism, you can take proactive steps towards support, acceptance and inclusion. First, hear from the Autism Society of Minnesota in a presentation on Autism 101 and Best Practices. Then head out onto the Aquarium’s exhibit floor to focus on applying positive behavior support in a field trip setting.

Light dinner provided; served at 4:15 pm.

Cost: Free

CEUs: 2.5

All participants in this workshop are eligible to apply for a free Aquarium field trip for up to 30 students! Six mini-grants will be awarded during the 2017-2018 school year. 

Register Online

Questions? Contact Samantha Smingler at (218) 740-2003 or ssmingler@glaquarium.org.

Citizen Science

Presented in partnership with SciGirls

Wednesday, October 11, 4:30 – 7:00 pm

Citizen science projects encourage the public to participate in current scientific research and can engage students in authentic scientific investigation with meaningful data collection. This workshop showcases two new SciGirls citizen science classroom lesson kits focused on authentic research projects and citizen science activities involving clouds, birding, and phenology. These kits will be available for free checkout from Great Lakes Aquarium’s Teacher Resource Center.

Light dinner provided; served at 4:15 pm.

Cost: Free

CEUs: 2.5

All participants in this workshop are eligible to apply for a free Aquarium field trip for up to 30 students! Six mini-grants will be awarded during the 2017-2018 school year. 

Register Online

Questions? Contact Samantha Smingler at (218) 740-2003 or ssmingler@glaquarium.org.

Animal Behavior Science

Wednesday, November 8, 4:30 – 7:00 pm

Scientists use animal behavior studies to understand why animals do what they do, to predict how human actions will affect them, and to protect animals in the wild. Let Great Lakes Aquarium provide an engaging space for students to participate in authentic scientific inquiry into animal behavior! Join Dr. Pamela Freeman (behavioral ecologist, College of St. Scholastica) and Carol Dillenburg (aquarist and fish health specialist, Great Lakes Aquarium) to learn the science behind behavior studies, demonstrate an ethogram, develop testable study questions and practice observation of live animals.

Light dinner provided; served at 4:15 pm.

Cost: Free

CEUs: 2.5

All participants in this workshop are eligible to apply for a free Aquarium field trip for up to 30 students! Six mini-grants will be awarded during the 2017-2018 school year. 

Register Online

Questions? Contact Samantha Smingler at (218) 740-2003 or ssmingler@glaquarium.org.

Nature Journaling: Capturing the Story of our Place

Presented in partnership with Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center

Tuesday, December 5, 4:30 – 7:00 pm

The scientific community has a long history of using drawings and diagrams to make discoveries, explain findings, and share ideas. This workshop will introduce tools to engage students in the world of nature journaling and in authentic learning through observation. Participants will practice journaling in the field and on the Aquarium’s exhibit floor. These experiences will focus on developing field trip experiences for your students. Additional mentoring will be available from Wolf Ridge staff to participants in this workshop.

Guest presenter Joe Walewski (Director of Naturalist Training, Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center) is the author of Lichens of the North Woods (2007) and Ferns of the North Woods (2016). Joe has observed and documented the story of Lake Superior’s north shore for three decades with notebook, camera, collection bags and, more recently,  the internet-based iNaturalist app.

Light dinner provided; served at 4:15 pm.

Cost: Free

CEUs: 2.5

Register Online

Questions? Contact Samantha Smingler at (218) 740-2003 or ssmingler@glaquarium.org.

Nature Journaling: Capturing the Story of our Place Level 2

*Participation in the Dec. 5 Nature Journaling workshop is not required; new content will be explored.

Presented in partnership with Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center

Saturday, January 13, 9:00 – 4:00 pm

Listen, sketch, write, observe, draw, look, map, make connections! Developing nature journaling skills is a great way to meet the challenge of connecting to the natural and built world around us. This follow-up workshop will dive deeper into more uses for nature journaling and more ways to engage students in authentic learning. Additional mentoring will be available from Wolf Ridge staff to participants in this workshop.

Guest presenter Joe Walewski (Director of Naturalist Training, Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center) is the author of Lichens of the North Woods (2007) and Ferns of the North Woods (2016). Joe has observed and documented the story of Lake Superior’s north shore for three decades with notebook, camera, collection bags and, more recently,  the internet-based iNaturalist app.

Cost: Free

CEUs: 7

*Please plan to bring your own lunch!

Register Online

Questions? Contact Samantha Smingler at (218) 740-2003 or ssmingler@glaquarium.org.

Engineering for Animals: Exhibit Design

Tuesday, January 23, 4:30 – 7:00 pm

Learn how Great Lakes Aquarium’s resident animals help students explore engineering and develop problem solving skills. Animal exhibit design requires the consideration of multiple perspectives. The Aquarium’s exhibit design class can enhance an on-site visit (and many extensions beyond a field trip), challenging students to think critically to engineer and problem solve just like Aquarium animal care staff and exhibit designers. Join guest speakers Jay Walker (Operations Director, Great Lakes Aquarium) and Emma Pardini (Exhibit Designer, Great Lakes Aquarium) to find out how we invite visitors to engage with a space, design exhibit elements to tell meaningful stories and understand what it takes to provide animals with healthy and enriched lives.

Light dinner provided; served at 4:15 pm.

Cost: Free

CEUs: 2.5

All participants in this workshop are eligible to apply for a free Aquarium field trip for up to 30 students. Six mini-grants will be awarded during the 2017-2018 school year. 

Register Online

Questions? Contact Samantha Smingler at (218) 740-2003 or ssmingler@glaquarium.org.

SciGirls Educator Training

Presented in partnership with SciGirls and Hartley Nature Center

Saturday, February 3, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

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 this hands-on, minds-on professional development training. Practice proven strategies for engaging girls in STEM while building deep sea divers that neither float nor sink, lighting up a room with dough creatures, and much more! 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 kids in STEM using the SciGirls Seven.
  • Connect with additional online resources that enhance teaching and learning experiences for all kids.

Everyone benefits from a gender-equitable approach to STEM!

Cost: Free – This training is funded through the National Science Foundation

CEUs: 7

*Please plan to bring your own lunch!

Register Online through the SciGirls website.

Questions? Contact Samantha Smingler at (218) 740-2003 or ssmingler@glaquarium.org.

Bringing the Classroom into the Field: Incorporating Teaching Kits at the Aquarium and Beyond

Thursday, February 15, 4:30 – 7:00 pm

Using Great Lakes Aquarium as a model for any field trip or field experience, this workshop will demonstrate tips and tricks to help students slow down and fully engage with learning opportunities at the Aquarium. Great Lakes Aquarium educators will model how to incorporate our extensive library of standards-based, Lake Superior-related teaching kits into your next field trip, and meet educators who have successfully used kits in the past. Become a student as we explore Lake Superior’s geology, local fish families, water use, Lake Superior food webs, bioaccumulation and more.

Light dinner provided; served at 4:15 pm.

Cost: Free

CEUs: 2.5

All participants in this workshop are eligible to apply for a free Aquarium field trip for up to 30 students. Six mini-grants will be awarded during the 2017-2018 school year. 

Register Online

Questions? Contact Samantha Smingler at (218) 740-2003 or ssmingler@glaquarium.org.

NOAA: Deep Sea Discoveries – Why Do We Explore? and How Do We Explore?

Saturday, March 17, 8:00 am – 4:00 pm

Join NOAA’s Office of Exploration and Research staff to learn the importance of ocean exploration and modern technologies used to explore the deep ocean. This workshop introduces standards-based, hands on activities and online resources to guide classroom teaching and learning around ocean science literacy. Ocean health, unique underwater habitats, underwater mapping and remotely operated vehicles are just a few of the topics to be addressed. Participating educators will receive:

  • The NOAA Shop Okeanos Exploration Materials Collection Volume 1: Why Do We Explore and Volume 2: How Do We Explore
  • A NOAA Ocean Certificate of Participation
  • Continental breakfast and lunch
  • A tour of a local research vessel
  • Additional teaching resources

* Lessons are designed for grades 6-12, but many activities can be scaled to suit educators’ needs.

Register Online – Registration deadline is February 28, 2018.

Questions? Contact Samantha Smingler at (218) 740-2003 or ssmingler@glaquarium.org.