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Integrating Spatial Thinking with Marine Life Learning

The Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI) hosted SILC Director David Uttal  and Bob Kolvoord, an external SILC affiliate, last week at a meeting with the GMRI Education team. Uttal and Kolvoord shared their perspectives based on prior work, and considered how to incorporate spatial thinking into GMRI’s programming to help student visitors learn more about marine life.  Specifically GMRI hopes to “better support students’ acquisition of geospatial reasoning and skills” through potential interdisciplinary collaborations with SILC.

children interact with touchscreen map

Students use mapping tools to understand how temperature changes in the Gulf of Mexico impact black sea bass over time

Leigh Peake, GMRI’s Chief Education Officer, says the mission of their programming, “is to enhance students’ ability to understand climate change, which is a challenging phenomenon for younger students since it involves interpreting representations of change in ecosystems over both space and time.” GMRI receives visits from 70% of all 5th-6th grade populations in the state of Maine every year and provides a free day of interactive science learning. The inclusion of spatial concepts with GMRI’s programming exemplifies the reach of spatial research and the potential applications of spatial thinking and learning.