Joel Hoffman ~ Great Lakes Connector

COSEE Great Lakes logo

A Bridge Into Science

Click images to enlarge
"I want the teachers to feel like they are researchers and have authentic research experiences."
COSEE Great Lakes (COSEE GL) is a partnership between seven state programs of the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network, NOAA, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It shares many of the goals of other COSEE Centers, while adding critical connections to freshwater systems. Dr. Joel Hoffman, a researcher at EPA, became involved with COSEE GL in March of 2007, taking teachers out on a research cruise. His goal was to teach them what research is really like, to help make them feel like they are part of the scientific enterprise, and to expose them to the practice of science, a different approach from classroom activities.

Brochure cover
On the cruise aboard the RV Lake Guardian in July 2011, Joel sought to expand the reach of COSEE GL in several ways: inviting scientists from all over the Great Lakes basin and gathering over 50 applications from a wide variety of teachers; working with the National Estuarine Research Reserve for Lake Superior to join the last day of the cruise for a mini-workshop; and engaging teachers at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry via a live satellite-based video conference streaming a demo of shipboard science from onboard the ship. In July 2011, EPA committed to supporting the next five years of shipboard workshops.

Story of Cory
Cory Kolodji, a middle school science teacher from rural Minnesota, attended the first Lake Guardian cruise with Joel. He was so enthusiastic about his experience that Joel collaborated with him on a presentation at the 2009 AGU Ocean Sciences meeting. Cory spoke about how the experience had changed his teaching. The presentation was also eye-opening for Joel, being his first time attending an Education and Outreach session at a big science conference, which gave him new ideas on how to interact with teachers and students.

Lake Guardian 2011
On this cruise 15 teachers from grades 4-10 and non-formal educators participated in a weeklong workshop aboard EPA's 180-foot research vessel R/V Lake Guardian to learn more about how human activities on land affect water quality. For more information:
  • Read the Lake Guardian trip blog
  • Watch this video on YouTube
  • Listen to the EPA Lake Guardian podcasts
The Story of Cory
Joel tells the story of science teacher Cory Kolodji and his life-changing experience
R/V Lake Guardian
Lake Guardian Research Experience
Joel describes the Lake Guardian experience for teachers
Diane Desotelle
Diane Desotelle, Minnesota Educator
A participating teacher describes her first-hand experience on the R/V Lake Guardian