Jennifer Flynn

Home state: Minnesota
Organization or Facility: Hermantown Elementary School
Grade(s): 4th
Subject(s): All
Why do you think it's important to infuse Great Lakes topics in education?

I think that our students should understand the environment in which they live.  When students feel connected to where they live, they can better understand their impact.  I also think that using this place-based learning is a very engaging and motivating way to learn!

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

One of my favorite experiences using the Great Lakes was our study of the water cycle.  We were using Lake Superior as our focus for our lessons.  It was winter and after a fresh snow, we went outside and took 3 samples of snow to meltdown and measure.  Then we calculated the square footage of our school property and determined the runoff from that particular snow.

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

I try to envision different subjects and standards and see how they can be presented using the subject of the Great Lakes.  For example, while teaching about climate and weather in the Midwest, we studied the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.  I try to go to different locations and create photos and videos that will bring the lakes and wetlands into my classroom.  I also utilize outside resources as much as I can.

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.

My students listen to stories as we learn about human impact on the land and water.  Many of them go home and talk to their families about changes they can make to help the environment or water quality.  Some students have told me that they would like to have a career in conservation because of our conversations in 4th grade!

Contact Jennifer Flynn: [email protected]