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Awakening the Sleeping Bear! Bringing to Life the Geology, Historical and Cultural Life of Sleeping Bear Dunes to Students and Teachers Everywhere


The Michigan Teaching Excellence Program (MiTEP) is an NSF funded Math Science partnership for science teachers in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and Jackson to lead their schools and districts in the improvement of science teaching and learning. Participants in this program have experienced inquiry based learning in the field both in Houghton through Michigan Tech and in local surrounding areas with Grand Valley State University and Western Michigan University. The final project focuses on a partnership with the National Parks. Participants intern in mid-west parks for 3 to 6 weeks to help develop Earth Science teaching resources that benefit the park and the classroom.

As an example, we spent three weeks at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore which has proven to be an amazing place not only to visit but for inquiry based learning as well. While here, my colleagues and I have developed materials for teachers to use before and after a visit to the park. The most challenging part of our work lies in bringing this experience back to our schools in a way that our students can learn science through the park without seeing it in person. Our virtual lessons and podcasts focus on the geologic processes and cultural history that have shaped the landforms and stories of the park. It is our goal to present this material in a manner that engages all students to learn more about Earth Science and increase their level of stewardship. This paper presents the results of our internship experiences at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.