A Reflection on our Journey

July 12, 2013 | Leave your thoughts

Wow! We can’t believe that tomorrow is the last day of our journey! Today we are on the move again, completing 7 sampling stations throughout the day. If you were to enter our “floating classroom” you would see a buzz of activity as some teachers suit up in hard hats, steel-toed boots, and life jackets. Others are hard at work on our final projects, which will highlight ways we will take the information we have learned and bring it back to our classrooms. There is never a dull moment on board!


Reflecting back, we have all grown and learned so much over the course of this week. Initially, we were very excited and a little overwhelmed at the amount of work to be done. Research vessels are very tight quarters with people working around the clock. Learning to navigate the new space and equipment was a daunting task, but one we approached with excitement and curiosity. With much credit to the crew and our teachers, we have become so much more confident with our knowledge and skills. In addition, we  gained many personal connections as we shared stories and curriculum throughout the week. As educators, we feel incredibly lucky to be able to take part in a rich learning experience filled with hands-on and authentic science that can be brought back to our schools, colleagues, and students. We reside in 5 different states, teach a variety of grade levels, from elementary through high school, both in formal and non-formal settings. The thing we all have in common is our passion and desire to educate students and lead them to be stewards of tomorrow.

It is difficult to sum up everything that we have learned this week. Below we have included some photos from our trip as well as quotes from participants, and a word cloud filled with vocabulary we learned and discussed this week!


Our progress on the trip so far. We are almost there!


Our rooms. Three people fit in one small space! Curtains around the bed keep the light from disturbing others, since crew members sleep at various times through the day and night.


The rosette collects water and samples water quality using sensors at various depths. Here we are collecting the water that has been gathered.

Plankton catch 7.12.13

Pulling in a plankton tow at 7:30 am this morning near Rochester, NY!


We had the opportunity to visit the pilot house and meet Captain Bob, First Mate Patrick, and Second Mate Dave. We noticed a large compass among the many electronic navigational tools.


“I think the most valuable part of this trip was understanding just how difficult it can be to work and live on a research vessel. Everyone is so dedicated to getting the job done, no matter what the weather or waves are like!” – Jen

“Meeting with so many educators, experts, and researchers who were willing  to teach us how to better equip our students, teachers and communities to be Great Lakes stewards.” – Bruce

“I loved working so closely with educators I would never have worked with before due to where we live and what we teach!  I feel like I now have a network of teachers, experts, and researchers who can help me improve my knowledge and teaching practices.”- Alex V.

“The most memorable experience was visiting the TIBS (Thousand Island Biological Satation) station”- Scott

“It was really exciting to touch a catfish!” -Laura

“I am excited to meet so many people so passionate about what they do.  It has renewed my own passion for teaching.  I enjoyed elutriating the ponar samples, especially in the pouring rain – a once in a life time experience.” – Colleen

“I am so grateful for this once -in-a-lifetime trip.  I loved gathering lake samples alongside research scientists.  I will take this experience back to my school to share with colleagues and students.  I had a blast jumping five feet off the dock at Clayton, N.Y., and swimming in the St. Lawrence River.” – Elizabeth

We want to thank Helen Domske and Kristin TePas for all their work in directing a cohesive team made up of 15 participants.


Written by: Elizabeth  Overmier , Tonia Henry ,  and Jennifer Slivka

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