Mick Hamilton

Home state: Minnesota
Organization or Facility: Minneapolis South High School
Grade(s): 9-12
Subject(s): General Biology and AP Biology
Why do you think it's important to infuse Great Lakes topics in education?

The Great Lakes are our greatest freshwater resource and we need to understand and protect them. They are an inland sea, which has so many different mechanisms and properties. We depend on them for resources, recreation and beauty. My entire 25+ year career has involved educating people about the importance of the water in our different Earth systems. Whether it is freshwater, saltwater or atmospheric water, what we do on the land influences what happens with the water. We can become a stronger scientific society if we instill the love and wonder of the natural world.

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

I currently do a lot of work with watershed science. I tie in what we are doing in the Mississippi watershed with the Lake Superior watershed. For the past four years my students have been involved with the Trout in the Classroom project. They help raise trout to release in a local stream each spring. They learn about habitat needs for the trout and how human impacts can affect the streams and rivers where the fish live.

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

In my classes, I try to embed activities that allow students visualize the lakes. Many of my students have not actually been to the Great l
Lakes, but we live in a city and state of many lakes. We take things we learn about our smaller water systems and apply that to the big lake system.
I have been fortunate to help scientists do research on Lake Superior so I “take my students with me” when I go out on the lake. When I return to class, I share stories and experiences. We look at data that was collected on the research cruise so they can explore and discover phenomenon that are occurring on and in the lakes.

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

Through my work with scientists in the Duluth area, I have been able to bring information to my students about current studies happening on Lake Superior.

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.

“Throughout my time in AP Bio with Mr. Hamilton, was when my passion for the natural world grew even more. From our required reading like Silent Spring to my heavy involvement with raising the classroom’s Rainbow Trout. After my time in his class I still spent a lot of my free time going to help with the fish or to pick his brain about some of my favorite topics concerning the natural world. He helped fuel my passion for educating others on the important environmental issues of today through how he taught me.”

Contact Mick Hamilton: [email protected]