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Updated 2:30 PM April 12, 2006




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K-12 teachers dive into Great Lakes tools

Teachers in Michigan, the Great Lakes region and beyond recognize the importance of educating the next generation on the value of the Great Lakes, including its fishery resources.

To assist them, a new comprehensive collection of education tools and resources for K-12 educators in the Great Lakes region is available through the Great Lakes Information Network (GLIN).

Michaela Zint, an environmental education professor in the School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE), together with her masters students, education specialists and a core group of K-12 educators, has developed a Teachers' Corner—for the GLIN revamped online education portal, The Education and Curriculum Homesite (TEACH). It is funded by the Great Lakes Fishery Trust, and will make instructional kits, sample lesson plans, reviews of curricular material and online discussion opportunities easily available to teachers.

"Past studies have told us that K-12 educators want to teach their students about the Great Lakes but they are not aware of relevant teaching materials that can also help them meet state education standards," Zint says.

The portal ( offers teaching materials on the topic and expert reviews also are provided. "With the reviews as a guide, teachers can easily compare and choose between materials based on their content and education characteristics," Zint adds. "Also provided are sample lesson plans teachers correlated to Michigan education standards."

The revamped TEACH, which is hosted and maintained by the Great Lakes Commission through the GLIN, also features education-related news along with established offerings such as the a "Great Lakes Vault of Knowledge," a calendar of events and mini-lessons specifically geared to K-12 students on Great Lakes history, culture, environment, geography, pollution and careers options.

"This site has a lot of good information for teachers and nonformal educators," says Linda O'Brien, a teacher with Marquette Area Public Schools and director of the MooseWood Nature Center. "It is easy to navigate. I look forward to using it and sharing it with other educators."

The online discussion forum gives teachers a venue to discuss or submit reviews of educational materials, submit lesson plans and share educational resources. Another feature includes a grid allowing comparisons between available lesson packages.

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