Category: K-12

Register for After School Science and Engineering Classes

Registration is open for after school science and engineering classes for students in grades 1 – 5. Six class sessions will take place from 4 to 5:30 p.m on the days specified by the class. Houghton Elementary School bus will drop off students at the GLRC by 3:45 p.m. Transportation from Houghton Elementary will be provided by Lamers at no additional cost.

Students will get to experience hands-on explorations taught by Michigan Tech science and engineering students and staff at the Great Lakes Research Center (104 GLRC). The different class options are listed below.

Grades 1-2: Rock and Roll!

This class takes place on Tuesdays (Oct. 8 – Nov. 12). Students will explore rocks, learn about fossils and participate in hands-on activities to discover the many uses of minerals! Erika Vye, from the Geological & Mining Engineering & Science department will be the instructor.

Grades 3-5 Autumn Animal Adventures

This class takes place on Mondays (Oct. 7 – Nov. 11). Set trail cameras and sticky traps to see which animals and insects call the MTU campus home. Learn about habits and habitats of bats, bears and wolves. Students will explore wildlife ecology in the classroom and outside. Brian Doughty, M.S. Biological Sciences, will be the instructor.

The cost to enroll in an after school class is $95 per student. Registration deadline is today, (Oct. 3). Register online. Any questions can be directed to 7-3341 or

Fall 2017 Science Investigations Field Trips Now Available!

fallUsing the outdoors as a classroom is a great way to get students excited about science and make connections to the real world!

Since 2001, the Western Upper Peninsula Center for Science, Math & Environmental Education, in partnership with the Center for Science & Environmental Outreach at Michigan Technological University, offers outdoor learning experiences in science and environmental education for K-12 students in the five western counties of the Upper Peninsula.

Field trip activities enhance classroom learning and are correlated to Michigan Grade Level Content Expectations for Science and Math.. During the activities, students utilize many science and math skills such as observing, predicting, data collecting, recording, graphing, analyzing and drawing conclusions.


Teachers should complete a Field Trip Request Form online. On the form, select a program, several dates, and a
location. Your school is encouraged to schedule multiple field trips on the same day for different classes at different
times. After we receive your request form, we will schedule your field trip and send you a confirmation letter.

Field trips are available to schools in the CCISD and GOISD school districts.

Cost: The field trips are $30 per class (up to 30 students). The CCISD will invoice each school at the end of
the season for the total number of field trips provided for each school during that season.

Program Descriptions

Pre-K & Kindergarten

Sense Detectives     Duration:  ½ hour-1hour

By listening carefully and looking closely, students use their senses to interpret the world around them as they discover the living and nonliving parts of the forest. After identifying what all living things need to survive, students will search the forest for some of these needs. Michigan GLEC’s: SCI:  S.IP.00.11-14; S.IA.00.12-14; L.OL.00.11-12

Wildlife Is Everywhere!         Duration:  ½ hour-1hour

Students will make observations and conclude that wildlife is all around us. Next, they will compare the lives of wild and tame animals; and search the forest for the needs of wild animals. Michigan GLEC’s: SCI: S.IP.00.11-14, S.IA.00.12-14, L.OL.00.11-12., SE.SE.00.11


Bird Migration           Duration: 1-1.5 hours

Students will examine the questions: Why do birds migrate? What are some of the challenges they face during migration?  How are birds alike or different? Michigan GLEC’s:  SCI: S.IP.01.11-12,14; S.IA.01.12-14; L.OL.01.13,21;L.HE.01.11-12


­Weather Forecast      Duration: 1-1.5 hours

Students will be introduced to different tools used to measure weather.  They will observe and record the temperature, cloud cover, precipitation and wind.  They will investigate ways plants and animals have adapted to different types of weather. Michigan GLEC’s:  SCI: S.IP.01.11-12,14; L.OL.01.13; E.ES.01.11-12, E.ES.01.21-24; E.ES.01.31-32



To Be a Tree and Seed Get-Aways         Duration: 1-1.5 hours

Students will investigate trees, focusing on what plants need to survive. They will describe the life cycle of familiar plants and compare the leaves and seeds of different trees.  They will also participate in a scavenger hunt identify the different methods of seed dispersal. Michigan GLEC’s: SCI: S.IP.02.11-12,14; S.IA.02.1-14; L.OL.02.14,22 L.HE.02.13

Soil Detectives           Duration:  1-1.5 hours

Students will use sieves to investigate soil and determine what soil is made of. They will discover that there are many types, colors and textures of soil and conduct a mini-experiment to understand how erosion affects soil types differently.  Michigan GLEC’s: S.IP.02.11, S.IP.02.12, S.IP.02.13, S.IP.02.14, P.PM.02.14, E.FE.02.21



Have to Have Habitat & Adaptations for Survival        Duration:  1-1.5 hours

Students will observe some of the unique structures and functions of organisms, investigate how plants and animals are adapted to their environments, and participate in multiple activities.   Michigan GLEC’s:  SCI:  S.IP.03.11-15; S.IA.03.11-15; S.RS.03.18; E.ES.03.52.              


The Physics of Flight       Duration:  1-1.5 hours

Birds come in all shapes and sizes—ever wonder why? Students will explore bird feathers, wings and flight as they investigate the forces of lift and thrust, then conduct an experiment to see how mass and force are related.  Michigan GLEC’s:  S.IP.03.1, P.FM.E.2, P.FM.E.3



Wildlife Signs and Survival        Duration: 1-1.5 hours

Students will go on a scavenger hunt to look for signs of wildlife.  Through two activities, “Oh Deer!” & “How Many Bears?”, students will investigate factors influencing organisms’ survival and population growth. Michigan GLEC’s:  SCI:  S.IP.04.11-14; S.IA.04.12-14; S.RS.04.15,18; L.OL.04.16.L.EV.04.21-22.

Spiders & Insects        Duration: 1-1.5 hours

How are spiders different from insects? How are they similar? The students will learn about different types of spiders and insects while searching for webs, egg cases and other evidence. They will carefully record and analyze the data collected. Students will not handle spiders or insects.  Michigan GLEC’s:  SCIS.IP.04.11-14; S.IA.04.12-14; S.RS.04.15,18; L.OL.04.16. L.EV.04.21-22; L.EC.04.11.21.



Tree Identification     Duration: 1-1.5 hours

Using guidebooks and dichotomous keys, students will use observations of leaves, buds, bark, tree silhouettes, and branch patterns to help identify native trees species. Students will also be introduced to measurement of tree height and diameter. Michigan GLEC’s: SCI: S.IP.05.11-16; S.IA.05.11-15; L.EV.05.12; L.EV.05.21


Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Stream Study   Duration:  1.5-2 hours

Students will collect, identify and inventory aquatic macroinvertebrates in one of our local streams.  They will examine the organism’s role in the food chain and as indicators of water quality in the environment. Michigan GLEC’s: SCI: S.IP.05.11-16; S.IA.05.11-13; L.EV.05.11-12.


Fabulous Fungi             Duration: 1-1.5 hours

Students will learn what a fungus is and about its role as a decomposer is in the forest ecosystem.  We will hunt for the fruiting bodies (mushrooms) of fungi and classify what we find according to the nine major divisions of mushrooms.  Michigan GLEC’s: S.IP.06.11-16; S.IA.06.11-13; L.OL.06.51-52. L.EC.06.22-23.

Magnetic Earth-Compasses & Orienteering             Duration: 1.5-2 hours

Students will learn how to use a compass and in the process understand that the reason compasses work is because of earth’s magnetic field. They will also complete a mini-orienteering course to test their compass reading skills. Michigan GLEC’s: E.SE.M.6, E.SE.06.62


Possible topics include:

   Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Stream Study

   Bog and Wetland Ecology

   Fungi and Decomposition

   Tree ID

   Wildlife Signs and Survival

Possible Locations for Fall Field Trips:

  • Baraga School Forest
  • Bessemer City Park
  • Black Creek Nature Sanctuary
  • Calumet Waterworks Park
  • Calumet Lions Park
  • Ford Forestry Center
  • Lake Linden-Hubbell School Forest
  • Maasto-Hiito Trails
  • McLain State Park
  • Michigan Tech Trails
  • Nara Nature Center
  • Norrie Park
  • Paavola Wetlands
  • Your school
  • Suggest a site!

Cancellation Policy: the Center will not cancel any field trips due to weather, it is the responsibility of the teacher to
decide if a field trip should be cancelled. To cancel a field trip, please call the Field Trip Coordinator at (906)
370-1052 at least 2 hours in advance (3 hours for Gogebic/Ontonagon schools).

2017 Fall Field Trip Flyer

For more information, contact:

Brian Doughty, Field Trip Coordinator
Phone: 906-487-3341 (office) or 248-798-4382 (cell)
The Western U.P. Center for Science, Mathematics & Environmental Education is a partnership of Copper Country & Gogebic-Ontonagon
Intermediate School Districts and the Michigan Tech Center for Science & Environmental Outreach serving schools and communities in
Houghton, Baraga, Gogebic, Ontonagon and Keweenaw Counties. The Center’s mission is to enhance the teaching and learning of Science,
Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).
Field Trip Financial Support
The Outdoor Science Investigation Field Trip Program has been funded since 2008 with a grant from the Wege Foundation to Michigan Tech.
In 2012 and 2015, snowshoes were purchased with support from the Keweenaw Community Foundation and the MEEMIC Foundation,
respectively. In 2016, another grant from the Keweenaw Community Foundation is funding technology to support outdoor investigations.

The field trip program is coordinated by the Michigan Tech’s Center for Science and Environmental Outreach and the Western UP Center for Science, Math and Environmental Education. It is funded in part by the Michigan Stem Partnership and the Wege Foundation.

Western UP Center for Science, Mathematics and Environmental Education                                                                                wege                                                                             CSEO_Logo Final Feb2016

Everything from Algae to Zooplankton

Ride the WavesYoung scientists sample the freshwater food chain through GM’s Ride the Waves at Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center.

Whitefish bellies, lard-filled olives—and a boat ride on Michigan Tech’s 36-foot Research Vessel Agassiz. Just the thing to hook elementary students on science, technology, engineering and math.

Funded by General Motors (GM) since 2013, Ride the Waves gets about 700 students per year out on local waters and into GLRC labs to work side-by-side with Michigan Tech students, staff and faculty. The goal: to better understand the freshwater environment and factors that affect it, from phytoplankton to mining waste.

Read more at Michigan Tech News, by Cyndi Perkins. | VIEW THE PHOTO ALBUM

Teacher Professional Development at Belle Isle Aquarium

Belle Isle Aquarium Outreach
Students at Belle Isle Aquarium

Joan Chadde is in Detroit this week conducting a four-day teacher institute at the Belle Isle Aquarium as part of an National Science Foundation Innovative Technology Experiences for Student and Teachers (ITEST) grant project.

The project’s goal is to increase the interest of diverse students in science and science careers. This summer institute is a collaboration with Wayne State University (Jeff Ram, PI) and the Belle Isle Conservancy.

Learn more about summer institutes for teachers.

Engineering, Computer Summer Camps for KBIC Middle Schoolers

MathMiddle school students from Baraga and L’Anse will be attending an Engineering Exploration summer camp at Michigan Tech this week. It is the second of three week-long science camps requested by the Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College STEM Outreach Department and funded by a 4-year US Department of Education STEM education grant.

Engineering Exploration will cover “What is Engineering,” chemical engineering, biomedical engineering, civil engineering and bridge building, transportation engineering, environmental engineering and materials engineering. It will run from 10 am to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Great Lakes Research Center Room 104.

A summer camp called Mathematica and Computer Applications will be held July 10-14 in the Forestry computer lab. Students will learn about geographic information systems (GIS), data collection and processing, base maps, importing and adding data from the world, making and editing a web map, mathematics and the Wolfram language, defining functions, Raspberry Pi, basic circuits and using sensors.

The camp will wind up with a Quiz Bowl. For more information, contact Joan Chadde,

By Jenn Donovan.

STEM Summer Camp 2017
Bethany Klemetsrud teaches summer camp students.

Keweenaw Bay area middle school students explore engineering in MTU summer camp

In partnership with Michigan Tech, the Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College STEM Outreach Department is going above and beyond for your typical summer camp. Today is part of a three week-long series of summer camps requested by the KBOCC. STEM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, encourages students to be exposed to those respective fields at an early age.

They’re getting exposed to a lot of different disciplines and a lot of possible career paths that they could choose Joan Chadde, Director of the Center of Science and Environmental Outreach

Read more and watch the video at UP Matters, by Calvin Lewis.

Engineering Exposure: STEM learning wrapped in summer fun for middle schoolers

HOUGHTON — Some middle school students from Baraga and L’Anse spent the week at Michigan Technological University learning everything from the logistics of running railroads to how to handle a remotely operated vehicle.

Read more at the Daily Mining Gazette, by Garrett Neese.

Detroit Area Engineering Students Participate in Summer Youth Programs

Detroit Teens 201606240025The Michigan Chronicle published a story about the Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program (DAPCEP), mentioning that Michigan Tech is one of DAPCEP’s partners. DAPCEP students will be attending Summer Youth Programs at Tech in July. Sixteen high school students from Detroit and southwest Michigan will explore Natural Resources & Engineering majors and possible careers from July 26 – July 1st. This is the third year the program has been conducted.

Students will investigate invasive species and forest biomaterials with faculty scientists at School of Forest Resources & Environmental Science. Dr. Marty Auer and recent graduate environmental engineering graduate and past NSBE president, Terrianna Bradley, who also hails from Detroit, will take students on the water to sampleaquatic life aboard MTU’s Agassiz research vessel in Lake Superior, including a lab experience to identify plankton and analyze fish stomachs.

Faculty from Mechanical Engineering, Civil & Environmental Engineering, and Electrical Engineering. In addition, students will experience national and state parks and forests, wildlife refuges, and nature sanctuaries, including an overnight at the MI Department of Natural Resource RAM training center in Roscommon.

Coordinated by Michigan Tech Center for Science & Environmental Outreach, contributions from the following covers the students’ transportation, meals, and lodging: Michigan Technological University School of Forest Resources & Environmental Science, College of Engineering, Departments of Civil & Environmental Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Michigan Tech Transportation Institute, Admissions, Housing & Residential Life, Great Lakes Research Center & Center for Diversity & Inclusion.

Natural Resource and Engineering for Genesee County Students


High School Students Can Win A FREE 6-Day Trip to:

Explore Natural Resources & Engineering at Michigan Technological University (Michigan Tech) in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan!!

Monday – Saturday, July 10-15, 2017

(includes free transportation, meals & lodging)


OPEN to all High School students in Genesee County who want to explore engineering forestry, water quality, fisheries, more!

**Up to 15 high school students from Genesee County will be selected to participate.  Talk to your teacher!

What YOU will do …

  • In the forest, investigate invasive species, ID trees, collect amphibian data.
  • On the water, sample aquatic life & collect data aboard a research vessel in Lake Superior;
  • In the lab, examine plankton, engineer a process to clean water;
  • Tour a college campus, stay in a dorm, eat in the dining hall;
  • Learn about engineering and natural resources majors and careers.
  • Experience national and state parks, wildlife refuges, and nature sanctuaries with experts at Michigan Technological University and in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula!!


  • Complete application form online  2017 Michigan Tech Trip – Genesee County
  • Describe what you hope to gain from this experience and your past experience with natural resources, engineering and environmental stewardship;
  • Email or mail ONE letter of recommendation (from non-family member, such as a teacher or community member) to:
  • Deadline extended to Friday, June 9!

A team of educators, university staff, and resource specialists will select participants in mid-May.

A mandatory Parent Meeting will be held in mid- June.


Leyla Sanker| Discovering Place | University of Michigan Flint | | Tel: 248-892-9329

Joan Chadde | Michigan Technological University |  | Office: 906-487-3341

Coordinated by Michigan Tech Center for Science and Environmental Outreach with generous funding from GM  and the Ride the Waves Program at Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center.

Additional funding from Michigan Tech School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science, College of Engineering, Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Michigan Tech Transportation Institute, Admissions, Great Lakes Research Center.

Great Lakes Investigations Aboard Michigan Tech’s Research Vessel Agassiz

for Students in Grades 4-12 ~  Fun!  FREE!  Educational!

Ride the Waves GM

Dates: May 25 – August 30, 2017


Michigan Tech’s Ride the Waves Program 2017 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, Portage Waterway and Torch Lake. There are four programs to choose from that will accommodate 18 youth and chaperones.

Aquatic Food Web & Lab Investigation (3-hour session, 1.5 hrs on Agassiz &1.5 hrs in lab at the Great Lakes Research Center). Find out how scientists investigate water quality and collect samples to examine in the lab. Find out “what makes a lake trout?”  All ages students.

Mine Waste Remediation & Torch Lake Restoration (4-hour session, 2 hrs on Agassiz & 2 hrs on land; meet at the Lake Linden marina). The copper mining and milling history of the Copper Country is explored by land and water. Students visit historic copper milling sites, reclaimed mine waste sites, and the bottom of Torch Lake. Ideal for Grades 6-8 students.

Navigation Exploration (4-hour session, 2 hrs on Agassiz & 2 hrs in classroom at the Great Lakes Research Center) Students use chart dividers and compasses to determine the Agassiz’s position on a navigational chart and then navigate the Agassiz to a new location. Students will use algebra to determine the accuracy of their navigation. Ideal for Grades 8-12 students.

Lake Superior’s Ring of Fire (4-hour session on Agassiz)  Explore an area in Lake Superior where the shrimplike organism Diporeia is up to 20 times more abundant than in any other part of Lake Superior! How does this affect the Lake Superior food web?  Ideal for Grades 9-12 students.

AgassizRide the Waves

REGISTER ONLINE: RTW 2017 Registration

List all dates and times that work for your group and we will reply and fit you into the earliest available slot. Groups of 5 or more students will be given preference in scheduling, so get with your friends and form a group! Available May 25-Aug. 30, 2017.

The Ride the Waves Program is made possible with a generous grant from General Motors (GM) and Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center. More than 3000 youth have benefited from GM’s support, now in its 5th year.

For more Information:

Contact Joan Chadde ( or Lloyd Wescoat ( or call 906-487-3341.

Michigan Tech Center for Science & Environmental Outreach at the Great Lakes Research Center.

K-12 Students Learn About Garbology

TV6 Garbology

CALUMET, Mich. (WLUC) — Some fourth grade students at CLK Elementary said the day’s lesson stunk. But that didn’t stop them from digging through trash to learn about waste management on May 9.

Some fourth grade students at CLK Elementary said the day’s lesson stunk. But that didn’t stop them from digging through trash to learn about waste management on May 9.

“We have to do “garbology,” where we get all the garbage from our grade and we’ll have to put on a tarp,” fourth grade student Dawson Kauppinen said. “And we have to separate all the plastic, metal, paper and a bunch of other stuff.”

Read more and watch the video at TV6 Fox UP, by Harri Leigh.