Three Wisconsin teachers will join a dozen others from around the Great Lakes on a week-long research cruise on Lake Huron with scientists. They’ll be aboard the R/V Lake Guardian for a Shipboard Science Workshop hosted by the Center for Great Lakes Literacy. The cruise departs from Detroit on July 8, returning on July 14, with stops in Port Huron and Alpena.
The teachers are David Cusma, a high school teacher in Milwaukee; Karla Schuessler, an elementary school teacher in White Lake, Wis.; and Molly Schuld, a high school teacher in Milwaukee. They will live and work alongside Great Lakes scientists to collect plankton and bottom-dwelling organisms in addition to taking water samples and testing them. They will also visit the NOAA Marine Sanctuary in Thunder Bay, Mich.
The teachers plan to bring their new knowledge back to their classrooms and school districts.
“This program will benefit my science class, as we are a struggling rural school with a limited budget,” said Schuessler. “I am constantly searching for innovative ways to motivate my students. Our school is on a lake and we celebrate it every fall with a program called Lake Day where the students collect water quality data. I plan to incorporate a Great Lakes unit next year from information I learn on this cruise and information I learned on last summer’s Denis Sullivan teacher cruise.”
Schuld said the cruise builds on her early love for the Great Lakes. “When I was in third grade, my siblings and I went to the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. They wanted to watch the dolphins the whole time, but I dragged them to the freshwater wing of the aquarium,” Schuld said. In her teaching career, she has learned that the best lesson plans are shaped by real-world science. “I believe that high school science teachers need to be exposed to and involved with current (and preferably local) scientific research to make them the best resources for their students. By immersing myself in research alongside Great Lakes scientists, I will refresh my scientific practices, which I can then translate to the classroom,” she said.
The Shipboard Science Workshop is coordinated by the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Great Lakes National Program Office. Funding comes from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
To follow the teachers during their cruise, read the 2017 Lake Huron Shipboard Science blog posts on the Center for Great Lakes Literacy site.