Developing Interpretive Materials for Isle Royale National Park - Bringing Geology to the Urban Classroom
DescriptionThe Michigan Teachers Excellence Program (MiTEP) is an NSF funded Math Science Partnership that focuses on improving Earth Science literacy for teachers and students alike. This is facilitated, in part, through a partnership between Michigan Technological University, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and Jackson pubic schools and the National Park Service. Through this program I was able to complete a four-week internship at Isle Royale National Park during June and July 2011. While there, I was afforded the opportunity to experience a large portion of the islands in order to complete a project for the park. The park recognizes the importance of increasing the number of geology programs for their staff, as well as their visitors. I completed a geology kit for each of their Visitors Centers. The kit is comprised of rocks associated with Isle Royale, complete with an explanation of each and how they came to be on the island.
National Parks greatly inspire learning and inquiry, the desire to take it all in, from the geological history to the cultural history. The lesson plans developed for Isle Royale National Park were created from my experiences in this environment. This innovative way of teaching about earth science can be adapted to any park or region in order to engage students in learning about the geologic and cultural history of the park closest to them, their state, or even their own backyard.