Here we are on a wooden sailboat!! Our days have been filled with a plethora of Great Lakes education. People are discussing the hopes they have for incorporating all they have learned into their lesson and unit plans. It has been fun to hear the discussions as mentors and mentees discuss curriculum and things they have used for students.
On a ship, duties are divided between different groups. Our group is called the A watch. There are two other watch groups, B watch and C watch. Each watch has 2-3 people working on Denis Sullivan and four educators. After our morning meeting we are assigned to different jobs; one is to clean the “soles and bowls.” That means the toilets and floors. Our group got that job two days ago; yesterday our job was to take water quality measurements. The third job is cleaning the galley (kitchen and eating area).
Well, it was the “A watch” (our watch) that was woken up this morning at 2:30 am to take over for “C watch.” It was dark out and we were anxious to see the Persieds meteor shower. The clear sky made viewing easy and we did see them! Our second excitement was watching a beautiful sunrise over Lake Michigan.
During watch we stood at the bow and let the helm know if we saw things like anglers in boats, fishing equipment or logs. On our watch we did see about 12 boats leaving the Two Rivers harbor and crossing our bow as they headed out to fish
Also on watch is an hourly boat check. This means opening hatches in the boat and looking in to see if water is seeping in. The boat check also includes retrieving the latitude, longitude, water temperature, lake temperature, speed, cloud cover and type, wave height and the engine levels or generator level.
Our watch ended at 8 am. We had a meeting with our A watch and B Watch that was taking over for us. This meeting is conducted to pass on things that had happened during the previous watch.
After a great breakfast we had a big surprise. Captain Tiff did a swim call! (This means we got to jump off the boat right into Lake Michigan). It was so refreshing! Many of us soaped up and jumped in a second time to rinse.
Our next activity was to take down the sails and motor in to Two Rivers. After the swim we tidied up the ship and readied to land in Two Rivers. The town was abuzz because this is the first time the Denis Sullivan ever landed in the port in Two Rivers. In fact, there was a news crew ready and waiting to capture the moment we entered the harbor. There we found Dave Hart.
Soon after landing we divided into groups to explore Two Rivers’ strong fishing history. A few of the educators took on the challenge of geocaching while most took on a new kind of exploration called “Quests.” Quests are modeled after an old English tradition called “letterboxing,” where participants follow a set of clues to solve puzzles that lead to a final treasure “cache.” Both of these activities allowed the educators to experience the city of Two Rivers and get a feel for how Lake Michigan and the fishing industry shaped its history. We all ended at Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum, a spot full of rich history.
While at Hamilton Museum we learned about a number of tools we can utilize in the classroom, as educators, to engage our students with Great Lakes Literacy. One of those tools was Story Maps, a website program that allows users to create an interactive map that can embed pictures and other media within. The possibilities seem limitless! The other tools included an interactive timeline builder, and a photo comparison app called “JuxtaposeJS.” All three of these tools could aid teachers in sharing what we’ve learned from this experience, and give our students an exciting way to learn more about science and environmental issues, with the goal of creating Great Lakes literate students.
To finish our day we joined back with the crew of the Denis Sullivan for a celebration at port called, “Great Lakes Awareness Day.” It was here that we were able to spend time with the public doing various activities, all related to Great Lakes science. There were stations for water quality testing, plankton identification, driving a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), maritime history, a game on a giant map of the Great Lakes, and a Great Lakes trivia contest. By the smiles on the kids faces, it was obvious that they were engaged in these activities.
When we look back at our day, (which started at 2:30 a.m.) we realize what wonderful experiences we had. Thanks so much to Cindy, David, Marte, Anne, Tori, and Titus. We know that you worked very hard to make this learning adventure so successful.