Great Lakes Maritime Transportation Teacher Institute
by Tim Sweet

July 2008

Video: Great Lakes Maritime Transportation Teacher Institute (8:56)

In July 2008, I had the good fortune to attend the Great Lakes Maritime Transportation Teacher Institute in Duluth, Minnesota, sponsored by the Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute, while earning graduate credits from Michigan Technological University. Along with ten other educators from around the Great Lakes, I toured the Duluth-Superior harbor; visited grain, coal, and taconite port terminals; walked through a ship-building yard, an iron ore mine, and Split Rock Lighthouse; witnessed ongoing ballast water treatment research; and learned about the importance of maritime transportation throughout the Great Lakes region.

The purpose of the Institute was to provide teachers with a knowledge foundation that would enable them to design and implement standards-based lessons. These lessons have been incorporated into a Great Lakes Maritime Educators Activity Guide that will be distributed throughout the Great Lakes states and posted on the Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute and Michigan Technological University website (

Excellent presenters and instructors helped to make this one of the best college courses I ever attended. Personal highlights from the week included the opportunity to board the American Integrity, a 1,000-footer that was in Superior at the Midwest Energy terminal. We were allowed to board the vessel as it was taking on 60,000 tons of coal. One man is able to load the entire ship in about eight hours with the aid of a computer-operated conveyor system! The U.S. Coast Guard in Duluth provided another unique experience when they took our group around the harbor on the Coast Guard’s 47-foot search and rescue vessel.

Since returning to my school district, I have obtained a Great Lakes Maritime Transportation Education Treasure Chest filled with materials that I will be sharing with Kindergarten – 8th Grade teachers. These materials will be catalogued in our elementary school library for teachers in the school district to use with their students throughout the school year.

For more information on future Great Lakes Maritime Transportation Education teacher workshops and summer institutes, or to purchase a treasure chest, contact:

Joan Chadde, K-12 Education Program Coordinator
Center for Science & Environmental Outreach
105 Dillman Hall, Michigan Technological University
1400 Townsend Drive, Houghton, MI 49931-1296

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