The responsibility of a teacher in today’s classroom is greater than ever, often going beyond just being the educator and mentor, sacrificing their personal time and resources to support their students in any way they can. They play a critical role in the development and growth of our leaders, inventors, artists, skilled workers and service men and women of tomorrow.
But here’s the thing…
Who is supporting the teachers?
It seems our world is changing rapidly and one of the ways our educational system tries to prepare teachers and children for this, is by re-evaluating and updating curriculums.
If you’re a teacher or know a teacher, you probably understand the pain of ever-changing curriculums and lack of time to prepare materials for classes.
You’re probably also familiar with the STEM challenges that teachers face such as; not aligning to standards and trying to make lesson plans that excite and engage students.
As any teacher knows, it can be time-consuming and expensive to create lesson plans and acquire all the associated materials.
Answering the call with free state-of-the-art STEM resources
There’s one organization that is taking the challenge of supporting teachers head-on, by creating lesson plans and materials using state-of-the-art technology and innovative thinking.
What I’m about to share with you below is our personal hands-on experience with the team from the Ocean Exploration Trust who gave us access to the incredible and comprehensive free STEM modules they make available to teachers.
Let’s DIVE IN!
In 2008, Dr. Ballard founded the Ocean Exploration Trust (OET) and acquired the EV Nautilus, a ship used for deep sea exploration. Dr. Ballard is a distinguished explorer, historian, and Navy Commander veteran. One of his notable discoveries was the RMS Titanic!
He and his team carry out the dual mission of ocean exploration and research and bringing hands-on experience to educators and students. Megan Cook, the Manager of Education Partnerships and Programs at OET, had this to say about the next generation of exploration:
“The greatest explorers of all time are going to be your students, they have the greatest technology and the greatest sense of urgency.”
Ocean Exploration Trust has a treasure chest full of free resources for educators including:
- The ability to ask the EV Nautilus crew LIVE questions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on expeditions around the world. Last year alone the crew answered 57,000 questions from eager students and the public.
- 26 STEM Learning Modules that are standard-aligned
- Digital resource library that includes access to a decade of ocean discovery highlights with teaching graphics and animation
- Blogs, photo albums, and highlight videos on each deep-sea expedition with a map so students can follow the EV Nautilus expeditions
- Patch Design Contest, an annual drawing contest to design the official season patch to be worn by the ship crew
- The opportunity to schedule a LIVE personalized, classroom Q&A session with the EV Nautilus crew via satellite while they are on a real expedition
With so many resources available, Cook suggests that educators start by checking out the expedition page at nautiluslive.org, read the team bios of the Corps of Exploration STEM career role models with their students and try an activity from the resource library (free, registration required).
The OET lessons were built with the goal of aligning concepts from the classroom with real-world applications in ocean exploration. Many activities have been recommended by teachers who have been on an expedition and examples include lego robots and bingo.
STEM Activities LIVE
Two Umbrellas Media founders, Addie Broussard and Anthony Puttee, along with Lake Charles, Louisiana educators had the opportunity to attend a Day of Exploration STEM Workshop hosted by Ocean Exploration Trust and McNeese State University and sponsored by CITGO Petroleum Corporation.
“We had a blast testing out the OET STEM modules and were even able to speak to the EV Nautilus crew LIVE. The wealth of resources that this organization [Ocean Exploration Trust] is offering to teachers is incredible and truly next generation. We’ll be making sure every teacher we encounter hears about these resources.”
Below are highlights from the STEM activities tested during the workshop:
Teacher D.J. Pevey summed up the impact that learning about ocean exploration has on his students:
“You can see the progression from a student first learning about deep sea exploration and thinking, wow, the ocean is bigger that I thought. To next asking, what can be done to protect the ocean? Then finally the student feeling empowered asking, what can I do to help?
It’s quite a transformation.”
Ocean explorers are like astronauts in a way. Each day they are exploring the unknown. With the Ocean Exploration Trust resources, students can join in on deep-sea exploration and get a sense for what it’s like to be an explorer.
Where to find the OET resources
Please share this information with other teachers and schools. If you need any additional information or have curriculum questions, you can contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special thanks to Megan Cook from OET, Dr. Angelique Ogea at McNeese State University, Dr. Amber Hale and D.J. Pevey for conducting the STEM workshops and CITGO for making these unique learning opportunities possible.