Organization Highlight: Gulf of Maine Research Institute

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Creating authentic science experiences through investigating Maine ecosystems

Gulf of Maine Research Institute provides a wide variety of science learning experiences for students and professional development opportunities for educators.  Students learn about and work on real-world problems in Maine to get a deeper connection with the science curriculum and learning.

An Interview with Meggie Harvey, Science Curriculum Specialist at Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI)

Who does GMRI offer programs and resources to?

Through all of our programming, we provide resources to both educators and students throughout Maine.  Some of our programs serve New Hampshire as well.  All of our resources are designed for middle school students, grades 5 through 8, that can be modified for elementary or high school.

What topics do the GMRI educational resources cover?

GMRI resources cover climate change, local ecosystems, authentic science investigations, data literacy, and science writing.

When not restricted by the pandemic, we offer LabVenture!, a 2.5-hour field trip experience for 5th and 6th graders across the state at our lab in Portland.  We offer LabVenture free of charge and provide bussing at no cost.  As a result of the pandemic, we have suspended in-person visits through December.  Instead, we have shifted LabVenture to an online experience, facilitated by our team, that runs in 45-minute sessions for 5 straight days.  We run a Citizen Science program through which students can contribute to active research efforts investigating changes to local ecosystems in the context of climate change.  We provide curriculum and professional development to support teachers in carrying out these projects with students in their own communities.  We also offer curriculum and professional development to teachers around Findings from the Field, a peer-reviewed middle school journal of scientific investigations and observations.  We convene regional teacher communities in rural areas across the state, through which middle school teachers deepen their science practices through ongoing sharing of resources and reflection.

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What educational opportunities will you be offering for the upcoming school year?

We will be offering teacher professional development in October.  A workshop on our Citizen Science projects will run Wednesday, October 14th, 21st and 28th from 3:15 to 4:45.  A Findings from the Field workshop will be Thursday, October 22nd, 29th, and November 5th from 3:15 to 4:45.

We will be offering Home Delivery, virtual learning opportunities for students throughout the fall.  Home Delivery  programs are designed as five days of synchronous online lessons, led by our educators.  Offerings include LabVenture Express, an online adaptation of the LabVenture field trip focused on exploring the impacts of warming ocean temperatures on marine species in the Gulf of Maine, Ecosystem Observer, engaging students in scientific observation and Citizen Science Investigation , supporting students in participating in invasive plant monitoring and contributing to a citizen science project.  We are hoping to be able to begin offering in-person LabVenture visits in 2021.

How has COVID-19 changed GMRI's programming?

We have been engaging teachers in professional development online for a few years now.  The pandemic has helped us improve our online strategies for working with teachers and helped us to reach teachers from more remote areas in more of our workshops.  In addition, we have changed the way we reach students. Our LabVenture program is now online.  We miss the direct interaction with students, but we have added to our programming and identified new resources as we have made the shift.  We have also adapted our curriculum for this tumultuous time to focus more on connection with nature, reflection, and student choice which has added to our offerings

What do you love about your organization?

Our commitment to engaging students in authentic science, to providing all of our resources free to anyone, and to reaching rural communities.

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What do you wish more people knew about GMRI?

All All of our offerings are free to anyone.  Our programming focuses on engaging students in questions and challenges that extend beyond the classroom and have important implications for coastal and inland Maine communities.

How has Community Learning for ME helped GMRI?

We appreciate your help spreading the word.

Resources and sessions offered by Gulf of Maine Research Institute

Regional Teacher Communities

Offered by:
  • Gulf of Maine Research Institute
Platform:
Other
  • Teachers
  • Other Educators