Professional Development for Educators

Great Lakes Aquarium offers workshops and field experiences for educators that connect directly to your work. From methods for exploring foundational concepts in the science of local ecosystems to techniques for infusing inquiry into the classroom to inspiration for taking students into the field, our staff and network of collaborators provide enriching opportunities for both formal and non-formal educators.

Monthly Teacher Resource Workshops

Join Great Lakes Aquarium on the last Wednesday of every month as we dive deeper into the resources for educators available in our Monnie Goldfine Teacher Resource Center. Our Teacher Resource Center kits are free to check out for a two-week period and include all of the background information, materials, and curriculum you need to facilitate learning.

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 which you can bring to your classroom.
  • Access teaching kits, equipment, and materials that can be checked out for up to two weeks (for FREE) from the Aquarium’s Monnie Goldfine Teacher Resource Center.
  • Network with local educators.
  • Earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) in every session (CEU value is equal to the number of hours spent in session).

A different resource will be featured each month. Explore topics below:

September 2022

This September, we will be featuring Wild Rice Detectives – a lesson in which students learn about the life cycle of wild rice, traditional harvest methods, and try to solve the mystery of why wild rice is declining in the St. Louis River Estuary. 

In this month’s workshop, we will introduce the basics of what is typically found in an educational kit from the Teacher Resource Center and how you can use them in your classrooms. We will demonstrate and explore elements of the Wild Rice Detectives lesson such as the life cycle of wild rice, kit materials, activities, and standards.

The workshop is FREE and Continuing Education Units are available.

Review the featured kit here!

Date: Wednesday, September 28
Time: 4:30-6:30
Location: In person at Great Lakes Aquarium

October 2022

Download the October 2022 Educator Newsletter

Date: Wednesday, October 19 (NOTE: this workshop is scheduled a week earlier than normal due to Scarium at the Aquarium)

Time: 4:30-6:30

Location: In-person at Great Lakes Aquarium

November 2022

Download the November 2022 Educator Newsletter

This month we will be learning how to play The Watershed Game! Your students will learn how a variety of land uses impact water and natural resources and how their choices can help prevent and solve water quality problems. The Watershed Game is geared towards middle schoolers, but can easily be modified for an upper elementary or high school audience.

This month we will also have a table of FREE items for you to peruse. We have classroom materials, books, and DVD’s that we no longer need, so come and see if there’s something for you!

Review the featured kit here!

Date: Wednesday, November 30

Time: 4:30-6:30

Location: In-person at Great Lakes Aquarium

NOAA Ocean Exploration Professional Development Mini-Series

In these workshops, educators are invited to join NOAA Ocean Exploration’s Education Team and the Great Lakes Aquarium in a live online professional development workshop and follow-up event. These three-part offerings consist of:

  1. A viewing of a short pre-recorded video with experts. Please view the video (to be sent to participants) prior to the live event!
  2. A 90-minute online event hosted by NOAA Ocean Exploration featuring a live, interactive question and answer session with an expert and an introduction and demonstration of relevant educational activities and resources. 
  3. A 90-minute follow-up event hosted by the Great Lakes Aquarium providing participants with the opportunity to cooperatively discuss content shared during the NOAA session and explore additional resources.

Educators will receive content for review prior to the event, links to specific activities and additional resources, a NOAA Ocean Exploration Certificate of Participation, and a $75 stipend. Registrants must participate in all three parts in order to receive the certificate and stipend..

Stay tuned for upcoming sessions!

Location: Virtual event

Registration is required and space is limited.

Questions? Contact Emily Lind at or (218) 740 – 2025.