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).

Capturing the Story of our Place
January 11, 2020
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

The scientific community has a long history of using drawings and diagrams to explain findings, make discoveries and reveal trends. In this workshop, we will focus on establishing a sense of place and connection to the Great Lakes and understand the importance of freshwater in our region using the Great Lakes Literacy Principles. Try out tools for engaging students in the world of nature journaling and authentic learning through observation. Practice journaling in the field and on the Aquarium’s exhibit floor with Joe Walewski, Director of Naturalist Training at Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center and author of Lichens of the North Woods and Ferns of the North Woods. Joe has observed and documented the story of Lake Superior’s North Shore with notebook, camera, collection bags and the internet-based iNaturalist app.
Participants earn 7 CEUs.
Light breakfast and lunch provided.

Registration opens July 15.
Questions? Contact Larissa Giebner at (218) 740 – 2025 or

Lake Superior as a Learning Tool
February 12, 2020
4:30 – 7:00 p.m.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) laboratory in Duluth is recognized as a leader in advancing scientific knowledge surrounding the impacts of stressors on the water resources of the Great Lakes – such as pesticides, bacteria and changes in land use – on the water quality and quality of life for people in the region. Join us at the EPA lab to explore with local scientists, learn about current research in the region and how to adapt and incorporate place-based research into your curriculum.
Participants earn 2.5 CEUs.
Light dinner provided at 4:15 p.m.

This workshop takes place at the Duluth EPA lab.

Registration opens July 15.
Questions? Contact Larissa Giebner at (218) 740 – 2025 or

Exploring the Deep Ocean with NOAA
April 4, 2020
8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Join NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research to learn the importance of ocean exploration and current technologies for exploring the deep ocean. Engage with standards-based, hands-on activities and online resources to guide classroom learning around ocean science literacy. Focus on ocean health, underwater mapping, remotely operated vehicles and unique underwater habitats. Tour Large Lakes Observatory’s R/V Blue Heron to explore current and future research taking place on the Great Lakes.
Participants will receive the books NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer Education Materials Collection Volume 1: Why Do We Explore? and Volume 2: How Do We Explore?, a NOAA Ocean Exploration Certificate of Participation and additional resources. Lessons are designed for grades 6-12, but many activities can be scaled to suit educator needs.
Participants earn 7 CEUs.
Breakfast, lunch and a $75 stipend included.

Questions? Contact Larissa Giebner at (218) 740 – 2025 or