Super Heroes Having Super Fun

June 19, 2018

Alas, the end of our Greatest of the Great journey was almost upon us. But not before a trip to South Bass Island for some well-deserved time for treasure hunting and tourism! We explored Perry’s monument, scouted for last-minute souvenirs, scoured the coastline for otoliths (ear bones of Freshwater Drum), and visited Heineman’s winery.

Photo Credit Becca Varadan

Photo Credit Becca Varadan














We also traveled to the dock to see the reconstruction of the massive U.S. Brig Niagara, in which Lieutenant Oliver Hazard Perry used to successfully defeat a squadron of six British vessels in a battle for Lake Erie, during the War of 1812.


Along the way, we shared our ideas and future plans to implement and disseminate what we learned, and we ended the day at our fabulous facilitators’ house for dinner and make-it-take-it crafting.

Photo Credit Becca Varadan

Photo Credit Becca Varadan










No 5E learning experience would be complete without evaluation. So, we each took a moment to respond to a couple of questions of reflection. Here is what we had to say:

What did you get out of this experience and what do you plan to do with this information?

Dave: I enjoyed the collaboration with some of the best teachers in Ohio. I will bring back new ideas to my classroom that will enrich my student experiences.

Skye: Fantastic learning experience and networking opportunity. I plan to continue to build my own Great Lakes literacy and capacity to communicate and share this knowledge with others in the hopes of helping to increase awareness and stewardship.

Becky: I would really like to use these ideas to change my environmental science class to be Ohio/place-based. Lake Erie would play a prominent part.

Marla: I got what I was hoping for: authentic sources of data that will be meaningful for students to collect and interpret in my math classes. I want them outdoors collecting water quality data and tying this data into discussions on climate change.

Becca: This experience helped me to increase my own knowledge of the Great Lakes. I am excited to share what I have learned with other educators and students, in order to promote understanding and advocacy. I feel truly privileged to have worked alongside the “Greatest of the Great” this week!

Marcy: My favorite part has been cruising on many sizes of boats. The most outstanding was the collaboration that occurred as we rowed around the island. The informal conversations throughout each day between awesome educators are always the highlight of this type of experience.


What was your favorite part of this experience and why?

Donna: Networking with others and gaining lots of resources to teach about Great Lakes.

Ashley: I love being able to meet educators from all around Ohio and collaborating on new exciting lesson plans.

Cait: Getting to network with so many amazing teachers and experts in the field. I want to continue to build my Great Lakes knowledge and experiences so that I can effectively teach my students using place-based education.

Molly: My favorite part was pushing myself outside of my comfort zone in so many ways. Being around amazing science teachers of all levels inspired me more than I expected!

Lyndsey: The people and conversations with amazing minds that remind me why I’m passionate about what I do each day.

Angie: I love hearing the various stories that teachers have to tell. I learned that the Barney generation is in charge of our students… something I had never considered.


What was your most embarrassing/funny/scary moment of this experience?

The cold showers were certainly to be dreaded!

Cait and I went to Alligator bar to look for macroinvertebrates and checked to make sure the coast was clear of snakes around trees and the shore. At the moment we walked towards a fallen tree and saw the biggest pile of snakes ever. We both screamed so loud and ran all the way out of the water up to the lab.

The most scary moment of this trip was being enclosed in a classroom as the only male teacher. I survived with a lot of great experiences with amazing teachers.

Learning to floss and being refreshed with the help of Donna’s water.

Funniest moment was at the Kelley’s Island glacial grooves when the whole class was watching the grooves and a pamphlet fell into the protected area from our team!

Listening to Ashley be the most observant person in the world… the girl notices everything and has a snarky comment to contribute.

When Dave dropped the fish on my head.

When I dropped my informational brochure over the fence onto the glacial grooves on Kelley’s Island while everyone was silently listening to Lyndsey talk about the grooves.

A few of us decided to crash the party of a group of high schoolers, who labored for 20 minutes to build a fire, discussed the “old days” of texting, and repeatedly took eye-blinding flash pictures in our direction. Funny – Embarrassing – Scary!

I thought it was pretty funny when a strategy was discussed about how to go about climbing over the fence to get the glacial grooves brochure. Lo and behold Dave had already leaped over a low part of the fence.

Accidentally dumping a cup of ice water on Skye while on a road trip in van.

Just listening to Ashley talk! Dave – wait for it, wait for it, and now we will talk about the M&M’s.


This monumental experience allowed us to forge friendships, spark inspiration, and equip ourselves with the tools we will use to promote Great Lakes Literacy across our community and beyond. We are educators, and therefore we are genuine superheroes. And since superheroes get to be in movies, we decided share our last day’s adventures with a genuine Greatest of the Great 2018 movie trailer!