Shipboard and Shoreline Science Workshop
Aboard the R/V Lake Guardian
by Aneal Padmanabha
Middle School science teacher
From July 6-12 of this year, I was one of fifteen educators to be invited by The Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE) Great Lakes to participate in a weeklong shipboard and shoreline science workshop aboard the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency's 180-foot research vessel (R/V) Lake Guardian (The R/V Lake Guardian is the U.S. EPA's largest Great Lakes research and monitoring vessel). The workshop was a first-hand exploration of Lake Michigan's ecology, geology, geography, weather, and biogeochemical processes. Other aspects of the workshop focused on how human activities have impacted the Great Lakes and the role of invasive species in changing the Great Lakes ecosystem. The goal of this workshop was to infuse what was learned during the week into existing science curriculum.
This workshop was by no means a vacation cruise. A typical day on the ship was very busy. The morning and afternoon consisted of collecting and analyzing samples. We collected samples from six sites on Lake Michigan. At each site, water quality data, sediment samples, zooplankton (suspended microscopic animals), and ichtyoplankton (fish eggs, newly hatched eggs) were collected. The data help establish the health of the ecosystem. The early evenings were spent attending onboard lectures. Lecture topics included coastal processes, plankton and benthos, global climate change impacts, Great Lakes climate/water interactions, water quality measurement and interpretation, food chains and food webs, invasive and endangered species, and the Great Lakes across the curriculum. After dinner, we worked on group projects and the development of lessons that we could incorporate into our classrooms.
One of the most effective ways to reach students in the classroom is through sharing personal experiences. The lessons I developed on during this workshop will allow me share my experiences working with scientists and other educators. In addition, this workshop will allow me promote the importance of the Great Lakes in students' lives.
Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE) Great Lakes