Tuesday, February 23 was the first in a series of teacher professional development workshops offered in conjunction with Herring Gut Learning Center and the Island Institute. We were fortunate to have this workshop sponsored by funding from EPSCoR under the SEANET project and were supported by the Casco Bay Estuary Partnership.
PreK-8th grade teachers joined us from 7 different schools to learn about aquaculture concepts and how they can integrate aquaculture into their curriculum. Herring Gut staff were amazing at getting teachers immersed in activities that they could bring back to their own classrooms, covering everything from seaweed identification and art to building phytoplankton and designing them to be neutrally buoyant. I had a chance to help the teachers look at the Next Gen Science Standards and the Common Core State Standards and how they can meet those standards with aquaculture activities so that aquaculture doesn't end up as 'one more thing' they are trying to cover. A large chunk of the afternoon was dedicated to helping the teachers take what they had learned in the morning sessions and come up with their own lessons and plans for bringing the information back to their class in a meaningful way. All of us who were involved in presenting the workshop were available to help with the planning and connect teachers to resources that would enable them to meet their goals, whether that was setting up field trips or guest speakers or even trying to bring kelp aquaculture into their classroom. We all left with the feeling that it had been an incredibly successful day and we are excited to start planning the next workshop!