Minnesota and Wisconsin Sea Grant programs team up to implement an annual mentor-mentee extended workshop called “Science, Sailing, and Shipwrecks” to increase participants’ abilities to improve the science literacy of their students. The value of paired mentor-mentee relationships and multiday, in-depth workshops to improve how educators integrate professional development content into teaching has been recently documented in research.
In 2018, 16 educators – eight mentors and eight mentees – conducted science, sailed a tall ship and explored Great Lakes shipwreck history together at Discovery World, a center with links to Great Lakes maritime history. They shared their experiences with about 400 people at a Great Lakes event, a component that 94% thought was essential to the workshop. Mentors and mentees developed joint action plans to ensure continued interaction and successful implementation of their experiences into teaching; mini-grants provided a mechanism to support plans. Mid-year interviews revealed high implementation rates.