For Educators

This page is for:

  • K-12 teachers, educators and administrators

  • Museum, nature center and library staff, and other informal educators

  • The homeschooling community

  • Anyone interested in Great Lakes educational resources

The goal of Wisconsin Sea Grant’s education efforts is to increase Great Lakes literacy across the full spectrum of education—from preschoolers to Ph.D. candidates to public officials.

A Great Lakes-literate person understands the essential principles and fundamental concepts about the characteristics, functioning and value of the Great Lakes; can communicate accurately about the Great Lakes’ influence on systems and people in and beyond his/her watershed; and is able to make informed and responsible decisions regarding Great Lakes and watershed resources. Wisconsin Sea Grant advances these literacy principles in formal and informal learning environments throughout the state to produce a diverse and skilled workforce that is engaged and able to address critical Great Lakes needs.

ROVe Pack

New Teaching Tool Focuses on Engineering
Middle-school students can experience the engineering process while learning about Great Lakes maritime history and underwater exploration with this loan-able pack. ROVe (Remotely Operated Vehicles and Engineering) provides a rich learning experience aligned to the engineering principles found in the NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards). The ROVe Pack provides the lesson plan and equipment necessary for teachers to carry out the engineering design process with their students as they build their own simple ROVs within a regular classroom while using common classroom supplies and a small children’s pool. Read more...

Aquatic Invaders Attack Pack

The Aquatic Invaders Attack Pack is a rucksack filled with materials to help students and other groups learn about Great Lakes aquatic invasive species, the problems they cause, and what can be done about them. Read more...

Great Lakes and Marine Education Resources

Wisconsin Water Library
Established in 1964 by the UW Water Resources Institute, the Wisconsin Water Library (formerly known as the Water Resources Library) is unique among UW-Madison's many libraries for its collection of almost 30,000 volumes of water-related information about the Great Lakes and the waters of Wisconsin. The library includes a curriculum collection, dozens of educational videos, a children's collection, and more than 20 journals and 100 newsletters. Read more...

Shipwrecks as a Learning Tool

Sea Grant has maintained a long and fruitful partnership with the Wisconsin Historical Society and its underwater archaeology program. Studying shipwrecks in the Great Lakes provides a springboard to the culture and history of Wisconsin. It is also a good component of the 4th-grade Wisconsin history track.


Lesson Plans and Activities
Spark the minds of students using these Great Lakes-inspired lessons, guided-inquiry projects and data sets. Also, discover general marine education material. Read more...

Lake Sturgeon Bowl

Recommended Reading List from Wisconsin's Water Library
Anyone in Wisconsin can borrow books from the Wisconsin Water Library. Check out these books and get ready for the Lake Sturgeon Bowl. Read more...

Form a Team
Become part of the fun and learning involved with being a Lake Sturgeon Bowl competitor, the regional qualifying forum for the National Ocean Sciences Bowl. Read more...

Video Provides a Window Into the Lake Sturgeon Bowl
Spend a few minutes with this video and the excitement and competition of the annual Lake Sturgeon Bowl becomes infectious. Read more...

Grandparents University

This Wisconsin Alumni Association (WAA) “university curriculum” is conducted each summer for young people accompanied by their grandparent(s). Students select a course of study in a subject area and track through a two‐day program of coursework. Wisconsin Sea Grant, in cooperation with the UW Center for Limnology, offers a popular course of study on limnology, including water sampling on a UW research vessel, hands‐on operation of underwater robotic technology, and activities on aquatic invasive species. The course of study concludes with the presentation of diplomas at a graduation ceremony.


Center for Great Lakes Literacy

The Center for Great Lakes Literacy (CGLL) is a collaborative effort led by Sea Grant educators throughout the Great Lakes watershed. The Center fosters informed and responsible decisions that advance basin-wide stewardship by providing hands-on experiences, educational resources and networking opportunities that promote Great Lakes literacy among an engaged community of educators, scientists and citizens. Information on upcoming CGLL events can be found at


Watch James Grandt, our UW Sea Grant Institute systems engineer, build a remote-operated vehicle (ROV) in two minutes flat. The kit is from OpenROV, a group of amateur and professional ROV builders and operators from over 50 countries who have a passion for underwater robots, exploration and adventure. Wisconsin Sea Grant uses the ROV in various outreach and education activities. Read more...

Learn About Starting a Career in Fish and Fisheries
Phil Moy, our former aquatic invasive species and fisheries specialist, presents to students about getting into the career. Read more...

Related Websites

Great Lakes Literacy Principles
Great Lakes literacy is an understanding of the Great Lakes’ influences on society and society's on the Great Lakes.  Read more...

Migratory Birds of the Great Lakes
Learn about field identification, habitats, migration, conservation status, nests and eggs, songs, and issues challenging 20 species of Great Lakes migratory birds.


Visit this website to learn facts about frogs, field identification, take quizzes about frogs, plus more fun activities for kids and teachers. Read more...

Kids and Teachers
Join us for an exciting and informative tour of Great Lakes issues and topics. Sea Grant support enables University of Wisconsin researchers to investigate issues critical to the wise use and protection of the Great Lakes to the benefit of everyone who manages, uses, or simply enjoys these fabulous freshwater seas. Read more...

Underwater Exploration
Take a tour of diving history with the illustrated underwater exploration timeline. Learn diving hand signals, fun quizzes and science experiments. Read more...

Let's Go on a Cruise
An outreach resource for educators, students and members of the community who want to learn about aquatic research on Lake Michigan. Read more...

Sea Grant Research

Earth Partnership Indigenous Arts and Science: Indigenizing Water Stewardship

Cheryl Bauer-Armstrong, UW-Madison, (608) 262-5264,
Chad Abel, Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, 715/779.3750,

Building on a successful model for engaging Native youth in meaningful culturally based science learning, project partners are committed to deepening learning experiences unique to the Red Cliff community by integrating scientific data and ecological knowledge from the reservation and Ceded Territory into scientific lessons and involving students in the process. Native youth will participate in a year-round for-credit field course including watershed investigations and monitoring to assess and address threats to water quality on Red Cliff land. Students will identify and implement water stewardship projects and share their data and experiences with peers in multiple classrooms and in the community. Community members, youth and teachers will participate in seasonal events to strengthen school-community relationships. This project is a partnership with the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission and the School District of Bayfield. E/ELWD-14

Rivers2Lake: Mentoring Teachers to Integrate Great Lakes Literacy

Deanna Erickson, UW-Superior, (715) 919-2154,
Tony Janisch, Bad River Watershed Association

Over five years, the Rivers2Lake Education Program, a foundational program at the Lake Superior National Estuarine Research Reserve, has built a community of educators dedicated to sharing the Great Lakes with their students. Rivers2Lake teachers engage PK-12 students in outdoor and inquiry-based learning through mentoring, with the effects of the program lasting well beyond their year of participation. By partnering with the Superior Rivers Watershed Association, the National Park Service and the Bayfield, Ashland and South Shore School Districts, the program now reaches much of the Lake Superior shore of Wisconsin. Building collaborative relationships with teachers and schools is at the center of Rivers2Lake. Professional mentors at the reserve and Superior Rivers meet with enrolled teachers at least twice per month, collaborate on curriculum, plan field experiences, co-teach in their classrooms and often provide assistance to alumni teachers as well. E/ELWD-11

Deeper Under the Surface: An Underwater Program for Coastal, Tribal and At-Risk Youth Bridges the Arts and Sciences to Foster Community Connections to Wisconsin Great Lakes

Toben Lafrancois, Northland College, (715) 209-7452,
Ian Karl, Northwest Passage
Ben Thwaits, Northwest Passage

Underwater photography brings the beauty and function of aquatic systems to light. In Under the Surface, we teach under-represented and at-risk youth the art and science of underwater photography in Wisconsin's Great Lakes watersheds. The stories of exploration, healing and discovery of Lake Superior and related systems simultaneously give voice to our most vulnerable youth and our waters. Additionally, basing classroom science programs on student-driven inquiry has brought a natural resources perspective and ecological thinking to populations that have not succeeded in a traditional classroom environment. With the power and validity of our programming model firmly established in previous projects, we aim to deepen the educational and therapeutic impact for participants, deliver programming to more groups, share curricula with more schools, and further connect the public to our waters and our youth. E/ELWD-10

Sea Grant Outreach

Arts, Sciences and Humanities

Sea Grant is fostering an interdisciplinary collaboration among water science, the arts and humanities, sponsoring public events connecting the disciplines. 

Coordination of Wisconsin Participation in the Center for Great Lakes Literacy

The Center for Great Lakes Literacy (CGLL) is building upon the framework of the Great Lakes Literacy Principles, with a vision to develop a Great Lakes-literate public capable of effectively contributing to the environmental, economic and social sustainability of the Great Lakes. Signature CGLL offerings include annual Great Lakes Shipboard Science workshops aboard the EPA’s R/V Lake Guardian; webinars and social media postings featuring Great Lakes issues; land-based watershed workshops that facilitate strong community-school partnerships resulting in action-oriented stewardship and restoration activities; Great Lakes Awareness Day events for the public at prominent educational institutions—aquariums, zoos, museums, etc.; Limno Loan Program for Hydrolab water-quality monitoring equipment; Educator Day at the International Association for Great Lakes Research Conference; and citizen science and other volunteer activities that create opportunities for adults to become involved in watershed restoration.

Great Lakes Education Collaboration and Coordination in Wisconsin

Sea Grant’s education outreach specialist supports outreach activities and coordinates peer-reviewed education project grant funding as part of Sea Grant’s biennial requests for research proposals. These activities track closely with other NOAA programs in the state, as well as other Wisconsin education partners, to coordinate activities, priorities and leverage funds for Great Lakes education in order to increase Great Lakes literacy.

Promote Environmental Justice in Wisconsin’s Coastal Communities

Sea Grant is initiating projects and outreach efforts to increase access to and responsible use of coastal resources and opportunities among disenfranchised communities—ensuring water-related risks do not negatively affect one group over another. Social science tools and theory can be applied to local or regional environmental justice projects and may overlap with subjects such as water safety, tourism/recreation, response to severe weather and disasters, water quality, traditional ecological knowledge and others.

Improve Environmental Literacy of Lake Michigan Coastal Communities

Sea Grant has developed a variety of educational programs for students and teachers. Social science tools and theories are often needed to understand better stakeholders with diverse cultural backgrounds, beliefs and values, and to learn how to effectively engage them in solving complex water problems. Combined with outreach and community engagement, social science tools, methods and theory will be used to both assess and improve environmental literacy and, in effect, build capacity and environmental stewardship among coastal communities.