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MITEP Showcase

Taking Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Beyond its Borders: Using Technology to Bring Place to the Classroom


The Michigan Teacher Excellence Progam (MITEP) is a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded partnership between Michigan Technological University, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and Jackson Public Schools, and the National Park Service (NPS). This program focuses on improving public school Earth science education and is designed to deepen middle school teachers Earth science knowledge. This is facilitated through fieldwork, internships at Midwest national parks, and the completion of collegiate course work, to improve the development and implementation of inquiry based Earth science lessons.

As a third year MITEP participants, we completed an internship at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore with colleagues focusing on the geology of the park, as well as how the geology of the area impacts the use of the land. Focusing on the geology and human use of land has given me a deep sense of place and allowed for connections between community and land. These connections have led to the development of lesson plans, videos, and student handouts; some which require students to explore the park firsthand while others transport them to the park virtually through the use of technology. As a teacher in a district where traveling to a national park is difficult, being able to transport students to the great dunes of Sleeping Bear through technology is key to their discovery and understanding of the geology of Michigan and in improving Earth science literacy. In order to allow discovery outside of the park and in the classroom, much of our work will be hosted on the Sleeping Bear Dunes website and Views of the National Park website as well as Google Earth in order to provide opportunities for classrooms nationwide to experience the geologic and cultural history of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. This paper presents the results of our internship experiences at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.