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A great way to study the Great Lakes: onboard a floating classroom


If you’re going to study Great Lakes water quality and aquatic life forms, what better way than onboard a ship on Lake Michigan? No better way as far as a class of Lakes Elementary fourth-graders are concerned. They took a trip to the W.G. Jackson research vessel in Muskegon, a floating classroom and research lab maintained by the Robert B. Annis Water Resources Institute of Grand Valley State University.

Teacher Amanda Glass’ fourth-graders spent half a day studying pH levels in the water, identifying creatures in sediment, and learning about invasive species, Michigan watersheds and background pollution. They peered at water samples through a microscope to identify zooplankton and other organisms.

“The students were able to fully immerse themselves into being a scientist for our Great Lakes,” Glass said. “They were engaged in completing hands-on experiments through the scientific process.”

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Charles Honey
Charles Honey is editor-in-chief of SNN, and covers series and issues stories for all districts. As a reporter for The Grand Rapids Press/mLive from 1985 to 2009, his beats included Grand Rapids Public Schools, local colleges and education issues. Honey served as editor of The Press’ award-winning Religion section for 15 years and its columnist for 20. His freelance articles have appeared in Christianity Today, Religion News Service and Faith & Leadership magazine. Read Charles' full bio

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