Brian Scott

Home state: Minnesota
Organization or Facility: Harbor City International School
Grade(s): 9-12
Subject(s): Biology, Environmental Science, Physics, Science Electives
Why do you think it's important to infuse Great Lakes topics in education?

I think it is important to infuse Great Lakes topics in education because it’s both extremely important and really fun! The Great Lakes are such an important region of the world, and finding ways for students to discover both why and how they can help protect the Great Lakes should be an important takeaway from many high school courses.

Describe one of your favorite classroom experiences/activities associated with the Great Lakes.

One of my favorite classroom experiences is participating in the CGLL Great Lakes iNaturalist Bioblitz! Not only do my students and I get to learn about the importance of citizen science, but we get to go out in our communities in search of living organisms and then report what we find!

What teaching methods do you use to engage students in Great Lakes activities?

Lately any teaching methods or lessons that involve or end in action have helped me engage students in learning about Great Lakes issues. Our Environmental Science students focused on plastic consumption, pollution, and microplastics in a unit that culminated with collecting samples from Park Point beaches to contribute to an citizen science international microplastic study called The Big Microplastic Survey (a protocol I learned during my master’s program field experience in Baja California, Mexico). Some students chose to write letters to elected officials to describe the importance and prevalence of plastic pollution, both right here in Duluth and worldwide.

If relevant, share some examples of how you involved scientist(s) in your teaching.

A few years ago my students learned about invasive species in the Great Lakes and then were able to dissect specimens of the invasive fish, the ruffe, under the guidance of Michelle Gutsch, an aquatic ecologist who was working towards her PhD at UMD.

Please share some interesting student reflections on ways they have developed a stewardship ethic. Include how they inspired others to make a difference to improve the health of the Great Lakes watershed.

We have been doing beach sweeps on Park Point beaches through the Alliance for the Great Lakes for at least the past 6 years if not longer, and many students have participated over those years. A common takeaway is an ownership of the beach and the lake, and hopefully a greater sense of the importance of keeping Lake Superior clean. We also participated in Chalk Fest this fall, in which students learned about stormwater pollution and created art on the sidewalks of downtown Duluth to help draw attention to the issues of water pollution and ways to prevent it, including something as simple as using less salt to melt ice on sidewalks.

Contact Brian Scott: [email protected]