Curriculum Filter Results

Great Lakes Literacy education exploration (GLLee)

What is a GLLee?

Great Lakes Literacy Education Exploration, or GLLee, are an introductory collection of resources and partners assembled in three easy steps to help teachers and youth explore Great Lakes Literacy through place-based education and stewardship opportunities in your school and community!

  1. Explore a Great Lakes Topic

  2. Support Teaching and Learning with Additional Resources

  3. Engage Youth in Place-based Education or Stewardship

Want to participate?

CGLL programs are open to all, but registration is required for educators to gain access to each Google Classroom and connected content.

Please note you will need to use a personal Gmail address (i.e. not your school address) to access course materials.

Current GLLee Topics available during the 2022-23 school year – join below: 

  • Aquatic Invasive Species (Best suited for students in grades 4-12)

    • What? Aquatic invasive species are nonindigenous species that have a negative environmental, social, or economic impact on the Great Lakes region.
    • Driving Question? How do invasive species impact the Great Lakes and what can we do to help reduce their impacts on native ecosystems?
  • Coastal Erosion (Best suited for students in grades 6-12)

    • What? Coastal erosion is the process by which strong wave action and coastal flooding wear down or carry away rocks, soils, and sands along the coast.
    • Driving Question? How does coastal erosion shape the shorelines of the Great Lakes and impact our ecosystems and communities?
  • Marine Debris (Best suited for students in grades 4-12)

    • What? Marine debris is any human-made material that can end up – on purpose or by accident – in our rivers, ocean, and Great Lakes.
    • Driving Question? How does marine debris impact our Great Lakes and animals (including humans) and plants that depend on this freshwater resource?
  • Urban Water Cycle (Best suited for students in grades 4-12)

    • What? Urban (human) water cycle is a series of processes and paths that water takes as it is used by a community, including stages of collection, transportation, storage, purification, distribution and delivery, and return to natural bodies of water.
    • Driving Question? How do people access clean, fresh water, and what happens to the water after its use?
  • Vernal Pools (Best suited for students in grades 6-12)

    • What? Vernal pools are “wicked big puddles” and ecologically serve as the “coral reefs of our northern forest ecosystems.”
    • Driving Question? How do vernal pools (seasonal woodland wetlands) benefit the Great Lakes region?

For any GLLee questions, accessibility concerns or issues with this virtual resource, please contact [email protected].

Center for Great Lakes Literacy programs and materials are open to all without regard to race, color, national or ethnic origin, gender, gender identity, religion, age, height, weight, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, or veteran status. 

Freedom Seekers: The Underground Railroad, Great Lakes, and Science Literacy Activities

‘Freedom Seekers’ curriculum teaches students about connections between the Underground Railroad, Great Lakes and science

Free Curriculum for Middle and High School Educators

Links to view curriculum:

Link to edit and use curriculum

If you use the curriculum or have additional resources that you think should be included, please fill out this short evaluation. 

Freedom Seekers were environmentalists who learned to navigate the land as they escaped slavery. Songs like “Wade in the Water” and “Follow the Drinking Gourd” remind us that history has always been connected to the land we occupy. The lessons featured in this free curriculum, Freedom Seekers: The Underground Railroad, Great Lakes, and Science Literacy Activities, acknowledge the enslaved Africans who had to rely on environmental science principles in their quest for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These lessons provide educators with cross-curricular teaching opportunities for middle and high school students.

“I didn’t realize that the Great Lakes were linked to the Underground Railroad at all,” said Megan Gunn, aquatic education specialist with Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant and Purdue University Forestry and Natural Resources. Gunn worked with partners across the region to finalize these resources. “I grew up near Lake Michigan and never learned how my cultural roots were so closely connected to the natural world, so I’m excited for the next generation to have this educational opportunity.”

The Freedom Seekers curriculum project is a collaborative effort between several organizations and schools throughout the Great Lakes. It is part of a professional development effort for educators to increase their knowledge of the Great Lakes and environmental issues while incorporating Environmental Justice Education (EJE) approaches to K-12 teaching. These EJE approaches leverage cross-curricular connections that focus on increasing the awareness of local issues and history in the Great Lakes region.

These lessons introduce an innovative way students can engage in place-based learning, by discovering their local history with the Underground Railroad and its connection to the Great Lakes.

“We hope you find this resource to be thoughtful and useful for connecting educational materials on the Underground Railroad, Great Lakes literacy and science teaching,” said Monica Miles, former coastal literacy specialist for New York Sea Grant and the person responsible for dreaming up this project. “These activities are meant to be a launching point for students to continue to engage in robust, well-rounded conversations about the Great Lakes, an area with rich environmental resources and cultural history.”

Connected to the Center for Great Lakes Literacy and its Great Lakes Literacy Principles, these lessons were designed and assembled by the people and organizations listed below as a collaborative effort to share the interconnections humans have with the land.

“We are excited to offer this curriculum through the Center for Great Lakes Literacy network,” said Meaghan Gass, MI Sea Grant Extension Educator and CGLL partner. “Using Google Documents, we hope it will be easy for educators to integrate this content into their classroom – either in-person or virtual – this school year, and we hope students enjoy learning more about Freedom Seekers and helping to share their story in the Great Lakes basin.”

Curriculum Committee