Planning for Place-Based Education

SEMIS Coalition is proud to share tools and resources to help educators learn to plan Place-Based lessons. Click on a subject below to explore.

What Is Place-Based Education?
Launching a PBE Inquiry: Challenge Letters

Challenge Letters: Background on using these as a tool for student-centered inquiry

Example from Ecoworks organization to Cody High School students

Example from Huron River Watershed Council to Ypsilanti AC Tech High School students

Example from The Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge to James and Grace Lee Boggs Middle School students

Launching a PBE Inquiry: Community Mapping

Community Mapping Brief on Best Practices, Michigan State University Faculty

Community Environmental Inventory, Earth Force Community Action and Problem Solving Process

Learning about Maps with Kindergarten, Mount Lebanon Elementary School Kindergarten video

Map Skills for Elementary Students Pre K-6th Grade Summary of Activities, National Geographic Education

Inquiry and Place: Activities for Discovery
Policies Important to Place-Based Education

Environmental Policy in the United States (overview of many policies from Ballotpedia website)

Clean Air Act Summary (The Clean Air Act (CAA) is the comprehensive federal law that regulates air emissions from stationary and mobile sources. Among other things, this law authorizes EPA to establish National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) to protect public health and public welfare and to regulate emissions of hazardous air pollutants.)

Clean Water Act (Congress passed the Clean Water Act in 1972, setting forth the goal of restoring and maintaining the nation’s waters in order to protect fish and wildlife and safeguard health, safety and enjoyment for people.)

Endangered Species Act Summary (The Endangered Species Act (ESA) provides a program for the conservation of threatened and endangered plants and animals and the habitats in which they are found.)

Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA) was first signed in 1972 to coordinate the actions of Canada and the United States.)

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (accelerates efforts to protect and restore the largest system of fresh surface water in the world – the Great Lakes.)

Safe Drinking Water Act: Understanding the SDWA ( was originally passed by Congress in 1974 to protect public health by regulating the nation’s public drinking water supply. )

Great Lakes Literacy: Curricular Resources and Support Materials

Teaching Great Lakes Sciences: Lessons and Data Sets, Michigan Sea Grant U of M (All the lessons, activities, teacher tools and data sets are free and targeted for 4-12th grades. We HIGHLY recommend taking advantage of these amazing resources!)

Michigan Environmental Education Curriculum Support, The MEECS curriculum consists of seven different curriculum units; Air Quality, Climate Change, Ecosystems & Biodiversity, Energy Resources, Land Use, Land and Environment, and Water Quality.

NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory: Infographics and Brochures for The Great Lakes (Great visuals for understanding various environmental conditions and issues impacting the Great Lakes)

NOAA Climate Resilience ToolKit: Curricular Support Materials

U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit: Tour the Toolkit (3 minute video introduction to the large set of resources in this toolkit)

U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit: National Weather Service Office of Services Publications (The National Weather Service’s Office of Services webpage features free, downloadable outreach materials to help communities prepare for weather emergencies. Topics include climate, emergency preparedness, floods, heat, hurricanes, thunderstorms, tsunami, and winter storms, among others.)

U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit: Great Lakes Climate and Demographic Atlas (This interactive map provides social, economic, and demographic statistics on 225 counties across the Great Lakes region. This demographic information is overlain with detailed data about municipal spending, land use change, and climate change characteristics.)

U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit: National Stormwater Calculator – Climate Assessment Tool (EPA’s National Stormwater Calculator is a downloadable application (requires a computer running Microsoft© Windows operating system) for estimating the annual amount of rainwater and frequency of runoff from a specific site anywhere in the United States (including Puerto Rico))

U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit: Great Lakes Region Quarterly Climate Impacts and Outlook (This brief bulletin is published jointly by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Environment Canada and summarizes the latest season’s weather and water level conditions and weather and water level-related impacts over the Great Lakes, and provides an outlook for the upcoming quarter.)

U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit: Populations At Risk (Populations at Risk (PAR) is a free, quick, and easy-to-use web-based tool to generate reports on demographics within areas of interest.)

U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit: Resilience Assessment Resources and Projects (Resilience assessment integrates a set of key concepts to provide an alternative way of thinking about and practicing natural resource management.)

U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit: Ready Campaign | Extreme Heat Safety Social Media Toolkit (The Extreme Heat Safety Social Media Toolkit, part of the public safety campaign, has safety and preparedness messages you can share on social media channels—copy these messages directly or customize them to reach your audience.)

U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit: Social Vulnerability Index (SVI employs U.S. Census Bureau variables to help users identify communities that may need support in preparing for hazards or recovering from disasters.)

U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit: Tribal Climate Change Guide (A searchable database that features up-to-date information on available grants, adaptation plans, climate programs, and climate tools to assist Native peoples in addressing impacts of climate change on their communities and ways of life.)

U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit: Urban Heat Risk Explorer App (This web app was designed to help cities prepare for, respond to, and recover from extreme heat events and can be viewed on desktops, tablets, or mobile phones.)
Great Lakes Education Program (GLEP)
Huron River Watershed Council Educational Programs

K-12 Education Programs Watershed Education

Field and In-Class Activities Streamside Activities

Huron River Watershed Council Educational Programs

K-12 Education Programs Watershed Education

Field and In-Class Activities Streamside Activities

Michigan Natural Features Inventory

Citizen Science Programs (MNFI and other organizations train citizens in the methodology and protocols scientists use to identify and collect data on them)

Great Lakes Literacy Topics

Great Lakes Ecosystems & Habitats, Michigan Sea Grant U of M (includes topics on: Coastal Habitats, Native Species and Biodiversity, Invasive Species, Restoration Projects)

Great Lakes Coastal Hazards and Safety, Michigan Sea Grant U of M (Includes topics on: Avian Botulism, Harmful Algal Blooms, Climate Change, Lake Levels, Water Safety, Commercial Fishing, Marine Debris, Extreme Storms and Flooding, Disaster Planning and Response)

Great Lakes Restoration, Michigan Sea Grant U of M (Topics include: Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Green Infrastructure, Fish Stocking, Brownfield Redevelopment, Fish Spawning Habitat)

Great Lakes Resilient Coastal Communities, Michigan Sea Grant U of M (Topics include: Coastal Tourism, Waterfront Planning and Zoning, Green Infrastructure, Great Lakes and the Economy, Disaster Planning and Response, Planning for Climate Adaptation, Sustainable Small Harbors, Coastal Hazards and Safety)

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