Jeff Kalember here, Gaylord High School, Gaylord Michigan posting our final wrap up after the 7 day teacher trip hosted by the Lake Guardian. I teach Chemistry, AP Chemistry and a semester “Limnology” course at my school and have always been interested in environmental science, especially aquatics. I feel that classroom teachers know their science facts but often don’t have enough experience in actually collecting the facts and information that researchers collect. In this experience we were not teachers, but investigators, collecting real scientific data and trying to interpret what it means.
In just a matter of 7 days I feel like our group went from knowing relatively little about the life of a scientist on the great lakes to having a fairly good idea of what scientists actually do .
While on board we collected data, lived the life of a scientist, which includes staying up late (1am so that we could get in our last station data), getting up early (5am so we could get in our first station), collecting data on fish diet, fish length, fish vertebrae (via myomere counts) number, identification (via taxonomic keys), calculating population density (by using volume of water sampled), and looking at over 10 water chemistry parameters.
After all of this we were exposed to curriculum materials we can use in our classroom and now have a wealth of real data that we collected and can use in our classroom. In addition, we now have contacts in the aquatic science world we can email or call for answers – Dr. Jude, Steve Hensler, Justin and Kristin are all valuable resources!!
So, as the sun sets on this experience, I can personally say I’ve been overwhelmed with the amount of knowledge we have about our great lakes ecosystem, but at the same time I realize how little we truly know about these great bodies of water and how much we can still learn.