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GMRI Education Programs

GMRI's Education Programs and Resources

Explore GMRI's educational approach, programs, and resources.

Current Program

Complex Systems

GMRI engages Maine's 5th and 6th grade students in science by doing science with LabVenture! Students explore the Complex Systems of the Gulf of Maine by conducting experiments, collecting scientific evidence, making connections, and sharing their findings. Students discover how humans, cod, lobster, and herring populations are connected and experience what it's like to be a scientist and fisherman in the Gulf of Maine.

Hear from Students and Teachers

Students participating in LabVenture!

We believe that students learn science by doing science. GMRI brings 5th or 6th grade classrooms from every county in Maine to our marine research lab in Portland for a LabVenture!science experience. Students eagerly take on the role of scientists to conduct their own hands-on research about the Gulf of Maine at a series of multimedia-enabled lab stations. This immersive experience helps students develop the knowledge, skills, and habits of mind to engage with environmental and technology challenges and think critically about new ideas.

Since the program's launch in 2006, an average of 10,000 students have come to our lab each year. Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, we offer LabVenture! at no charge and provide schools from across the state with free transportation. Marine-themed coach buses can be seen traveling to every county in Maine to bring students to our lab. Every day, our building is filled with the sounds of excited young scientists.

This is my third year to visit and we are always very impressed with the technology involved and how engaged our students become in LabVenture!. All types of students, no matter what their abilities or limitations, always love the hands-on scientific involvement that GMRI provides. - Teacher

Our current LabVenture! topic, Complex Systems, immerses students in the multiple perspectives needed to understand the interconnectedness of the Gulf of Maine ecosystem. From a scientist, fisherman, and species point of view, students make connections between humans, herring, cod, and lobster. As scientists, students peer through microscopes at zooplankton and measure live lobsters. Role-playing as lobsters, students make survival decisions in the presence of their predators, cod. As fishermen, students making fishing gear choices for a responsible and profitable harvest. High-fives are exchanged as students see how their choices pan out. Giggles and whispers can be heard as they plan video reports about their scientific findings. Camaraderie leads the way as students work together during a scientific conference to share their personal findings, make deeper connections, and learn from each others.

... We had a fabulous time! I learned a ton of info - not just about fish! I learned that scientists ask questions all the time ... It was a great educational and exciting experience! It was a thrill of a lifetime learning about the Gulf of Maine! ... I like how you made the stations and activities fun for us and fun for our brains! ... - Student

The LabVenture! experience:

  • Respects students as contributing members of the scientific community
  • Connects students to their communities in the Gulf of Maine watershed
  • Gives students control of their own learning experience
  • Engages students with scientific skills and concepts that are built upon with Vital Signs field investigations

To learn more about the LabVenture! program, or to schedule a visit, email the Visit Administrator or call 207-228-1648.