The Gulf of Maine Research Institute in collaboration with Maine Sea Grant has just launched a new online education resource, VitalVenture, an interdisciplinary watershed education curriculum that engages Maine students in grades 5-8 with a series of locally relevant, issue-based Watershed Experiences that deepen conceptual understanding and connection to place.
Each Watershed Experience includes a series of authentic, inquiry-based learning activities in which students observe, ask questions, investigate, take action, and deepen their scientific understanding and connection to their local watersheds. Sustained over four grades, VitalVenture Watershed Experiences provide students with a continuum of authentic, inquiry-based learning.
VitalVenture supports and extends the science skills and concepts students are introduced to during GMRI’s LabVenture! (5/6th grade) program and prepares students for practicing these skills in Vital Signs (7/8th grade). These programs and curriculum provide the tools and resources for teachers to ignite students’ interest in science and get them invested in locally relevant environmental issues.
The development of these Watershed Experiences was lead by the Gulf of Maine Research Institute in collaboration with Maine Sea Grant and 31 Maine middle school educators. Watershed Experiences contributed by Maine Sea Grant are based, in part, on the Penobscot River Watershed Program, a collaborative project of Maine Sea Grant, the University of Maine Senator George J. Mitchell Center, and the Penobscot River Restoration Trust, working in partnership with Old Town Elementary School and the City of Old Town. VitalVenture is funded through the NOAA Bay Watershed Education and Training (B-Wet) Program.