Category Archives: Outreach

Investigate the Great Lakes at the Portage Lake District Library

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The Michigan Tech Great Lakes Research Center and Portage Lake District Library hosted a special evening program for all ages on Monday, June 29, focused on the Great Lakes and what lives here. Participants began the program at the library where several activity stations were set up indoors and outside. Participants had the option to participate in a scientific excursion aboard the Agassiz research vessel, traveling from the library to the Great Lakes Research Center where they visited a laboratory to use microscopes in order to peer at the tiny organisms and examine a variety of fish.

Station Activities
Station 1: What Lives in a Stream? (all ages) – Children explore the diverse and sci-fi looking macroinvertebrate organisms that live in the stream and tell us if it’s a healthy stream. Outside at picnic table

Station 2: Fishing: Is it big enough to catch & keep? (all ages) – Did you know there are limits on the size of fish that you can catch and keep? Fish for trout, sturgeon, pike and other Great Lakes fish species—then identify them and check to be sure they’re “keepers”! Community Room

Station 3: Scientific Excursion on Agassiz (7 years & up, youth & adults) Board at dock west of the Library

Station 4: Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center Lab – Compare fish mouth adaptations, view cool plankton under microscopes, and put together a Lake Trout food chain.

Station 5: What Lives in the Great Lakes Watershed? – Use sidewalk chalk and draw life-size Great Lakes creatures that live in the lakes. Outside on sidewalk

Station 6: Sandy Beaches—Are They All the Same – Make a sand ID card and compare the color, texture, and size of the sand particles from different beaches on the Keweenaw Peninsula, around Michigan, and beyond! Bring in a sand sample from your favorite beach for comparison. Community Room

Station 7: Read a story about the Great Lakes – join a local author to read some special Great Lakes stories. Children’s Reading Corner

Station 8: Could a Fish or Frog Live in This Water? – Measure the pH (acidity) of different liquids and determine whether a fish or frog could survive. Community Room

Chris Alquist, librarian, observed, “Thanks so much for another great event! Every activity was interesting, and the kids were engaged and learning!”

More than 80 attended, there were four full Agassiz scientific cruises with 18 participants each.

Here are a few of the parents’ comments:
It was exciting to ride the Agassiz and we learned a lot (about plankton)! It was interesting for all of us! (2)
I like that there were many activities. I like the college students involved.
It gave my daughter a good feeling of going into a college lab.
Amazing creatures all around!
Great time! Everyone was helpful!!
Your programs are always extremely educational & fun!
Both my children had activities that suited them well—plankton, pH levels.


Michigan Tech Great Lakes Research Center and Portage Lake District Library presented "Investigate the Great Lakes"
Michigan Tech Great Lakes Research Center and Portage Lake District Library presented “Investigate the Great Lakes”

Michigan Tech Great Lakes Research Center and Portage Lake District Library presented "Investigate the Great Lakes"
Michigan Tech Great Lakes Research Center and Portage Lake District Library presented “Investigate the Great Lakes”

See more photos at the Michigan Tech Great Lakes Research Center Flickr Photo Gallery “Investigate the Great Lakes”

For more information, contact: Joan Chadde at 487-3341 at the Great Lakes Research Center or Chris Alquist at 482-4570 at the Portage Lake District Library. This program is funded by General Motors and the Portage Lake District Library.

Portage Library Flyer 06.29.15

Science and engineering camp at GLRC

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Twelve Baraga county students are participating in a KBOCC STEM outreach-funded Great Lakes Science & Engineering Camp at Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes research center coordinated by Joan Chadde at the Center for science & environmental Outreach. The KBOCC program provides free science and math enrichment opportunities to middle and high school students in Baraga county. During the school year the KBOCC department provides afterschool and Saturday workshops music, science, math, and engineering .

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WLUC TV article and video “Science and engineering camp keeps brains fresh for summer break”


More Photos at Flickr Gallery

Detroit High School Students Visit Michigan Tech

CIMG58895-Day Trip to Visit Michigan Technological University for 20 Detroit High School Students: June 15-19, 2015

Monday June 15th started an adventure for 20 Detroit high school students who want to explore careers in natural resources, environmental science and engineering—forestry; wildlife; water quality; Great Lakes; environmental, civil and mechanical engineering, and more! Thanks to donations by numerous Michigan Tech departments and offices, students have FREE transportation, food, lodging and an exciting program!

Students had a full schedule while at Michigan Tech where they would identify trees, measure forest plots, inventory invasive earthworms, visit the underground rhizotron, participate in a 4-hour Great Lakes investigation aboard MTU’s Agassiz research vessel in Lake Superior, assess the health of local streams; manipulate underwater autonomous remotely operated vehicles, visit labs, conduct insect and wetland inventories, and explore nearby state and county parks to enjoy the beautiful Keweenaw and Upper Peninsula. Students experienced college life staying and eating at Wadsworth Residence Hall.

These twenty students successfully applied for this program (first of its kind) and were eager to visit Michigan Tech’s campus, explore future careers, and have new experiences. The students are in grades 9-12, and come from eight different Detroit high schools. Many people have helped to make this possible, from help with recruitment in Detroit, to the more than a eighteen experts volunteering their time to present to these youth.

The Program is coordinated by Joan Chadde, director of the Michigan Tech Center for Science & Environmental Outreach, in collaboration with Detroit colleagues at the Belle Isle Nature Zoo, Mike Reed, Curator of Education – Informal Programs, Detroit Zoological Society and U.S. Forest Service Urban Connections Program.

Generous funding from the following have made this program possible:
MTU School of Forest Resources & Environmental Science, Michigan Tech College of Engineering, Michigan Tech Housing & Residential Life, MTU Admissions, Dept. of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Pre-College Outreach Initiative, Michigan Tech Transportation Institute, and the Dept. of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics.

View a Michigan Tech Engineering Channel YouTube Video of “Detroit High School Students Visit Michigan Tech”

View Pictures posted on the College of Engineering Photo Gallery Flickr

See the WLUC TV 6 Television News article “Detroit students visit the Keweenaw at Michigan Tech University “

Daily Mining Gazette article “Tech Tour” (cannot be seen without subscription)

Michigan Tech Dean of Engineering Wayne Pennington has lunch with visiting students.
Michigan Tech Dean of Engineering Wayne Pennington has lunch with visiting students.

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Great Lakes Investigations Aboard Michigan Tech’s Research Vessel Agassiz

IMG_5772Great Lakes Investigations Aboard Michigan Tech’s Research Vessel Agassiz from June 15 to July 15, 2015 for Students in Grades 4‐12 ~ Fun! FREE! Educational!
Ride the Waves with GM invites Copper Country youth in Grades 4‐12 to join scientists from Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center in the exploration of Lake Superior, Keweenaw Bay and/or Portage Lake.

Programs are 3‐4 hours in length—with 1.5‐2 hours on the Agassiz and 1.5 hours in the lab. The Agassiz will accommodate up to 17 youth/
chaperones (minimum of 10 is required).

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Aquatic Food Web & Lab Investigation ~ Measure water quality and collect samples to examine in the lab to find out “How Do You Make A Lake Trout?” All ages.

RidetheWaves.Flyer 06.10.15 GE

To make reservations, call or email:
Michigan Tech Center for Science & Environmental Outreach
Phone: 906‐487‐3341
Email: Lloyd Wescoat lwescoat@mtu.edu
Joan Chadde jchadde@mtu.edu
Provide number of students and 3 date/time options

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2015 Summer Science Camps

IMG_2122Several 2015 Summer Science Camps were held at Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center. There were two sessions, one for grades one through three and another for grades four through six.

Grades 1-3: Wonders of Space

Explore the earth and its place in the solar system, investigate the planets, moons and other celestial objects in our galaxy, plus types of stars and other aspects of space–nebulae and black holes. Marvel over the history of space exploration and launch a rocket. Always lots of hands on activities

Grades 4-6: Science All Around

Investigate a variety of science topics from chemistry to geology, wolf and moose to ecology. Take a trip on Michigan Tech’s research vessel Agassiz to learn about fresh water ecology, visit a limnology lab and engage in many exciting activities. Instructors include Michigan Tech faculty, staff and students.

Sessions are June 16, 17 and 18, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (students bring their own lunch).
These camps were sponsored by the Western Upper Peninsula Center for Science, Mathematics and Environmental Education.

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More Photos at Flickr Gallery

STEM Immersion on Isle Royale

IMG_0702 (2) (1280x853)A group of 13 Keweenaw Bay Indian Community youth took part in an immersion experience in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education and careers, May 26 to 30, 2015 on Isle Royale. The program, entitled “MAAMAADIZI II”, was co-sponsored by the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, the Cedar Tree Institute of Marquette, the Isle Royale Institute and Michigan Tech’s Ride the Waves with General Motors Program. MAAMAADIZI, meaning “the Journey begins” in the Anishinaabe language, sought to immerse students in a wilderness environment rich in both scientific and spiritual content. A diverse community participated in the Journey, including spiritual advisors, artists, scientists, chaperones, graduate student mentors and KBIC drummers … a grand party of 32 travelers. Isle Royale National Park provided an ideal wilderness setting for this important work.

The Michigan Tech team of 6 members traveled to Isle Royale aboard the R/V Agassiz with Captain Stephen Roblee at the helm; the rest of the party came across on the MV Ranger III. Once on the island, the R/V Agassiz provided transport to campsites, ferry service for on-island field trips and served as a platform for STEM offerings. KBIC students, MTU graduate student mentors and chaperones camped for two nights at Daisy Farm, with the entire party moving to Tobin Harbor Cottages for the last two nights.

STEM Science was presented through water quality measurements (light and temperature sensors, Secchi disk transparency) and collections (plankton and bottom organisms) made in Moskey Basin and in the open lake from the R/V Agassiz. Samples were examined on board using microscopes and dissecting scopes. The STEM Science program was led by Dr. Marty Auer of Michigan Tech supported by graduate student mentors Varsha Raman, Aubrey Scott and Nathan Zgnilec.

STEM Math was presented within the context of mass and compass (on land, Jon Magnuson, Cedar Tree Institute) and vessel navigation (on the water, Stephen Roblee, MTU). Hikes to Mount Ojibway and an R/V Agassiz cruise around ice-encrusted Blake Point to a shipwreck site on the Palisades provided the venue for STEM Math offerings.

Students also participated in Art and Spirit Projects led by artist and illustrator Diana Magnuson of the Cedar Tree Institute. Ken Vrana, Director of the Isle Royale Institute, guided students on hikes and on field trips to Rock Harbor Lighthouse, Edisen Fishery and the Island home of the Isle Royale Wolf-Moose Project hosted by MTU’s Rolf and Candy Peterson.

The Journey was wrapped up with a Feast prepared by the Rock Harbor Lodge, a Ceremony hosted by the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Drum and an evening campfire with S’mores.

The KBIC, particularly Lori Sherman and chaperones Richard Wickstrom and Katrina Ravindran, deserves special thanks for logistical and financial support. The Isle Royale Institute contributed financial and made other contributions which greatly enriched the experience. The R/V Agassiz and Captain Stephen Roblee were made available through Ride the Waves with General Motors. Wilderness STEM experiences with KBIC youth were originated in 2013 by Jon Magnuson of the Cedar Tree Institute and Marty Auer of Michigan Tech and, with support from General Motors are now in their third year.

Group at Mott Island, Isle Royale National Park, Lake Superior
Group at Mott Island, Isle Royale National Park, Lake Superior
Group on board RV Agassiz, Isle Royale National Park, Lake Superior
Group on board RV Agassiz, Isle Royale National Park, Lake Superior
Group at the the Isle Royale Wolf-Moose Project hosted by MTU’s Rolf and Candy Peterson
Group at the the Isle Royale Wolf-Moose Project hosted by MTU’s Rolf and Candy Peterson
On board the RV Agassiz
On board the RV Agassiz

See More Photos of the STEM Immersion on Isle Royale

Outdoor place-based & STEM education programs

IMG_9175aOn Monday, June 1st through Thurs June 4th, local school students were introduced to various STEM education and Career opportunities. Dollar Bay Elementary School had scientific excursions on the RV Agassiz, and saw science projects at 102 GLRC, and 104 GLRC. The program is funded by General Motors Ride the Waves program.

Jeffers High School’s Place-based Learning Day was at Lake Perrault and the Michigan Nature Association’s Brown Sanctuary. This is funded by a grant from EPA Exemplary Model and Earth Force, along with Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative.

On Tuesday, June 2nd, Dollar Bay Elementary School had two 1.5-hour sessions aboard the Agassiz research vessel (GLRC dock/boathouse) and lab (102 GLRC) with description of Aquatic Ecology Program. This is funded by Ride the Waves/GM.

See a video clip

Also on Tuesday, June 2nd Houghton Middle School was at the Marsin Center monitoring frogs & salamanders, fish seining, and native plant landscaping. This funding is provided by Keweenaw Land Trust with a grant from the Youth Advisory Council (YAC) of the Keweenaw Community Foundation awarded in March 2015.

On Wed, June 3rd the Washington Middle School Gr. 6-8 students held an Adopt a Beach Program and invasive species removal at Calumet Waterworks Park thanks to a grant from EPA Exemplary Model and Earth Force, along with Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative.

Dollar Bay Elementary School went to the Marsin Center on Thursday, June 4. Funded by Keweenaw Land Trust with a grant from the Youth Advisory Council (YAC) of the Keweenaw Community Foundation awarded in March 2015.
For more information, visit: http://lakesuperiorstewardship.org/

Scientific Excursion on board RV Agassiz -- GM Ride the Waves Program
Scientific Excursion on board RV Agassiz — GM Ride the Waves Program
Dollar Bay Elementary School learns about Aquatic Ecology Program. This is funded by Ride the Waves/GM.
Dollar Bay Elementary School learns about Aquatic Ecology Program. This is funded by Ride the Waves/GM.
Dollar Bay Elementary School learns about Aquatic Ecology Program. This is funded by Ride the Waves/GM.
Dollar Bay Elementary School learns about Aquatic Ecology Program. This is funded by Ride the Waves/GM.
Dollar Bay Elementary School learns about Aquatic Ecology Program. This is funded by Ride the Waves/GM.
Dollar Bay Elementary School learns about Aquatic Ecology Program. This is funded by Ride the Waves/GM.
Dollar Bay Elementary School learns about Aquatic Ecology Program. This is funded by Ride the Waves/GM.
Dollar Bay Elementary School learns about Aquatic Ecology Program. This is funded by Ride the Waves/GM.

STEM Career Tours at Michigan Tech

STEMHigh School students came to learn about STEM Careers at Michigan Tech. Nearly 200 high school students from nine schools in the western UP spent a day at Michigan Tech, exploring science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers. They visited labs and learn about green building and low-impact design, human monitoring devices, forest insects, steam mechanics, remotely-operated vehicles, computer science, materials science and engineering, civil engineering/concrete testing, Great Lakes fish, transportation engineering and geology and mining engineering.

On Tuesday May 12, students from Jeffers High School in Adams Township spent the day at Tech learning about STEM careers. Students from Nah Tah Wahsh Public Academy in Wilson were on campus on May 13th, and on Friday the 15th the University will host students from Watersmeet High School.

Students visited a variety of science, engineering, and computer labs at Michigan Tech and participate in presentations and hands-on activities led by Michigan Tech students, engineers, and scientists to kick start students’ planning for careers in STEM. Tours were approximately from 9 am to 2:30 pm.

View some photos of the STEM Careers Tours Program at Michigan Tech

View a short video clip of a lab example learning about STEM careers

Download the PDF Flyer: STEM Career Tours at Michigan Tech

Selected Topics and Labs to Visited:

Green Building & Low Impact Design
Stream Mechanics Lab
Remotely Operated Vehicles
Computer Science
Materials Science & Engineering
Civil Engineering Concrete TestingLab
Fishy Great Lakes
Transportation Engineering
Geology & Mining Engineering
Human Monitoring Devices / Driving Simulator
Forest Insects

For more information about STEM Career Tours at Michigan Tech, contact:

Joan Chadde, Director
MTU Center for Science & Environmental Outreach
jchadde@mtu.edu or 906-487-3341

Made possible with funding from the Michigan STEM Partnership and coordinated by the MTU Center for Science & Environmental Outreach and Western U.P. Center for Science, Math and Environmental Education with assistance from the Dept. of Civil & Environmental Engineering.

STEM Tours School FLYER

Schools Sheduled (Update to May 6)

April 28 – Keweenaw Bay Alternative School and Copper Country Christian
May 4 – Lake Linden-Hubbell High School
May 5 – L’Anse High School
May 8: Dollar Bay
May 11: Bessemer
May 12: Jeffers High School
May 13: Nah Tah Wahsh
May 15: Watersmeet

STEM Career Tour
STEM Career Tour
STEM Career Tour
STEM Career Tour

Lake Superior Celebration April 23

00IMG_0298aLake Superior Celebration:
6:00-8:00pm, Thursday, April 23, 2015; Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center

Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center was the site of a celebration of Lake Superior. The event took place from 6-8 p.m. Thursday. It was free and open to the public.

There was a variety of hands-on activities, GLRC tours (green roof and other sustainable features), energy efficient homes, wind turbines and draft dodger activities for youth.

See the Photo Gallery of the Lake Superior Celebration here

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National Society of Black Engineers Spring Break to Promote STEM Education and Careers

NSBE3aNational Society of Black Engineers students from Michigan Tech are going to present science, technology and engineering talks in the Detroit area for middle- and highschool students at five different schools by day, and presenting three family engineering nights for elementary students at night. The spring break trip is supported by John Deere.

The Houghton Michigan Daily Mining Gazette had an article: “Doing good downstate: Six Tech students will spend break sharing with youngsters.

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