Great Lakes Maritime Transportation Institute for Educators 
Teaching Resources


Adopt a Ship Program  

The Propellor Club of the U. S.

3927 Old Lee Highway, Suite 101A Fairfax, VA 22030

Provides information for how classes can register to participate in the Adopt-A-Ship program. The class and ship's crew will correspond and share experiences during the school year.  Participating teachers are encouraged to share their curricular activities through the website so that other teachers may also enrich their curriculum.

American Steamship Company 

500 Essjay Road , Williamsville, NY 14221
Tel: 716-635-0222   
Shows maps of trade routes on the Great Lakes for iron pellets, eastern coal, western coal, and limestone.
Duluth Seaway Port Authority 
1200 Port Terminal Dr., Duluth, MN 55802
Phone: (218) 727-8525 / (800) 232-0703 / Fax: (218) 727-6888 / E-mail:
For more information, contact Lisa Marciniak (lmarciniak@DULUTHPORT.COM), Port Promotion Manager

The Duluth Seaway Port Authority is an independent public agency created by the Minnesota Legislature in 1955 to foster regional maritime and trade development and serve as an advocate for port interests. It strives to protect and increase maritime commerce through marketing and legislative initiatives and serves as a local economic development agency while protecting and generating international and domestic commerce. Their website posts activities in the twin ports of Duluth & Superior. On the left side of the homepage, click on “Ship Traffic” for a list of ships that have visited the Port of Duluth, by year, as well as photos of the heavy lift machinery.
Great Lakes Maritime Transportation Research Institute

GLMRI’s mission is to pursue solutions to critical issues that will contribute to a more productive and environmentally-friendly maritime transportation on the Great Lakes. Educational opportunities are particularly important to excite and inspire the youth of today to help advance marine transportation systems to achieve greater levels of efficiency, safety, security and environmental responsibility. An advisory board of Great Lakes maritime and shipping experts will guide the annual research agenda. Members of the advisory board include: Maritime Administration (MARAD), US Coast Guard, Lake Carriers Association, Great Lakes Commission, American Association of Great Lakes Ports, Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, and Duluth Seaway Port Authority. GLMRI co-directors are: Richard Stewart, Ph.D., Director of UW-Superior’s Transportation and Logistics Research Center, and James P. Riehl, Dean of the UM-Duluth’s College of Science and Engineering.

Great Lakes Maritime Academy
715 East Front Street, Traverse City, Michigan 49686
Tel: 231-995-1213
The Great Lakes Maritime Academy trains men and women to serve as business professionals and Merchant Marine officers aboard Great Lakes and ocean ships. It is a division of Northwestern Michigan College (NMC) and a partner of Ferris State University.
Great Lakes Cruising Coalition (GLCC)
Tel: 613-546-0724
GLCC supports world class passenger ship cruising on the Great Lakes. It is a joint American-Canadian cooperative venture involving Great Lakes ports, towns, regions and The St. Lawrence Seaway, that focuses on the quality of port facilities, memorable shore excursions, and a healthy marine environment.
Lake Carriers Association (LCA)
614 West Superior Ave., Suite 915, Cleveland, OH  44113
Tel: 216-861-0590
Lake Carriers’ Association is the trade association representing U.S. vessel operators on the Great Lakes.  The Association’s 13 member companies operate 55 vessels and tug/barge units. Iron ore, stone and coal are the primary commodities carried. Other cargos include cement, salt, sand, grain and liquid-bulk products. The LCA compiles statistical information on ships in service and the volume of cargo movement, both in U.S.-Flag "Lakers" and from major Great Lakes ports both in the United States and Canada.
Publications Available (to order online:

¨       Position Papers:  One-page statements online on issues affecting U.S.-flag shipping on the Great Lakes

¨       Brochure - U.S.-Flag Shipping on the Great LakesA general overview of the role of U.S.-flag shipping on the Great Lakes.  The brochure reviews cargos carried by U.S.-flag lakers, the types of vessels flying the American flag on the Great Lakes, and the role the Jones Act plays in fostering this diverse and efficient fleet.  available on-line.

¨       Brochure - Great Lakes Shipping and Michigan: Partners in Commerce:  Michigan boasts more deep draft ports than the other seven Great Lakes states combined.  The brochure reviews cargo movement to and from Michigan's commercial ports and the thousands of jobs dependent on waterborne commerce.

¨       Brochure - Great Lakes Shipping: The Vital Link For Ohio Industry:  As the nation’s second-largest steel-producing state, Ohio is a frequent destination for lakers.  available on-line.

¨       Map of U.S. and Canadian Great Lakes Ports:  A comprehensive map of all major cargo ports on the Great Lakes.  An accompanying table lists which cargos move in and out of each port.  Available as either an 8 ½” x 11” foldout or a 22” x 28” poster. Free. $5 shipping and handling fee.  available on-line.

¨       The Jones Act:  Produced by LCA for the Great Lakes Maritime Task Force, the brochure explains the principles of the Jones Act and illustrates the benefits that accrue from cabotage laws.

¨       Great Lakes Poster:  22” x 28” four-color poster includes a large map showing the major ports as well as statistics about Great Lakes shipping.  Free. $5 shipping and handling fee.

Maritime Administration (MARAD) (click on Education, then ‘For Kids K-12’)
U.S. Department of Transportation. MARAD is responsible for promoting the development of a merchant marine sufficient to meet the needs of national defense and the domestic and foreign commerce of the United States. “For Kids K-12” webpage contains photo galleries, career information, information on international maritime signal flags (, and other links. Has a Ship Operations Cooperative Program E-Newsletter that is sent to ship operators in the industry folks. Offer a DVD produced by the Army Corps of Engineers about inland waterways.  Contact: Sharon LeGrand  Tel: 202) 366-4151 or Email:

Great Lakes and Seaway Shipping       
Click on the book cover “Know Your Ships.” Proceed to Photo Gallery and select “Original Photo Gallery” or “Fleet Photo Gallery” or “Wescott.” Click on personal home pages for live cams at various ports. Click on the news channel for a ton of resources/photos!

Lighthouses of the Western Great Lakes
Describes technology associated with illumination and fog signals in the past; describes past lighthouse keepers, contains great photos of lighthouses.

Duluth Shipping News.       
Click on “Boat Traffic” in upper left corner, and then click on Canal Park to see the lift bridge webcam.
Lake Superior Maritime Museum <>    
U. S. and Canadian St Lawrence Seaway System   
Highway H20          
Describes the Great Lakes/Seaway effort to get cargo back on the water to relieve congestion, reduce air pollution, save fuel, and increase public safety.
Maritime Administration of the U.S. Dept of Transportation.     See “education.”        Lake Carriers Association provides U.S. Laker information.       Great Lakes Commission. See section on Economy and Transportation:              Lake Superior Warehousing Company       U.S. Dept. of Transportation K-12 education       Garrett A. Morgan Technology & Transportation Futures Program

Lake Effects: The Lake Superior Curriculum Guide for Grades K-8 (1998)
The Lake Superior Center/Great Lakes Aquarium,
353 Harbor Drive Duluth, MN 55802
A collection of lessons related to the history, geography, management and stewardship of the Great Lakes and Lake Superior. To order, call: 218 740.3474 or view:
Exploring the Great Lakes: A Logbook of Adventures by Patricia Westfield and Nan Soper (2003)
A perfect guide for teaching about the Great Lakes. Includes information, activities, and reproducible worksheets on the Great Lakes, including geography, history, shipping and commerce, folklore, environmental issues, and a fold-out map of the lakes, along with mapping activities. A CD-ROM includes video selections of Niagara Falls, locks and canals, ships, lighthouses, and much more. Exploring the Great Lakes leads young learners through the five themes of geography in a lively and relevant way, helping them link their new knowledge to their personal lives, as well as helping them understand the lakes' importance to the region and to the nation. Recommended for ages 8 and up. Spiral bound. 64 pages.
Lake Rhymes – Folk Songs of the Great Lakes Region CD & Book  by Lee and Joann Murdock. (2004)    
This 18-song CD with 71 minutes of Lee Murdock performance includes a 146-page book containing musical scores for all 18 songs, plus over 70 historic photos, maps and illustrations. In addition, the book explains the stories behind each song, plus ideas for using the songs to teach history, English, music and geography. Ideal for those who interested in the Great Lakes maritime history or traditional folk music.
Great Lakes in My World
Alliance for the Great Lakes  (Contact: Stephanie Smith <>, Alliance for the Great Lakes  Tel: 312-939-0838 ).  A collection of lessons related to the ecology and stewardship of the Great Lakes, includes 40color cards of Great Lakes plants and animals, natural and exotic.
Barefoot Boys of Fayette by Ragene Henry. (2005)
A school field trip leads Ty not only to learn about the past, but actually see it. The barefoot boys who lived in the small furnace town of Fayette in Michigan's Upper Peninsula in 1881 come to life. Nick and his friends have problems and mysteries to solve.
The Day the Great Lakes Drained Away by Charles Ferguson Barker. 2005           Ages 4-8
What would happen if the Great Lakes drained away? This unique children's book shows the interesting landscape that would be revealed if all the water in the Great Lakes was to suddenly disappear. This book serves to entertain and educate both children and adults about the geologic features under the Great Lakes, and most importantly, to remind us never to take the Great Lakes for granted.
The Edmund Fitzgerald: The Song of the Bell by Kathy Jo Wargin. (2003)
The giant ship leaves Superior, Wisconsin loaded with iron ore to make steel that will be used to build cars, but disaster is building as the storm clouds, known as the ‘gales of November’ gather…. This is the story of what happened to the 29 sailors.
Mail by the Pail by Colin Bergel. 2000.                                                                      Ages 6+
This book examines the mail delivery system for the Great Lakes freighters.  A U.S. Postal Service mailboat, operated by J.W. Westcott Company, delivers mail to the freighters while traveling. 
The Great St. Lawrence Seaway by Gail Gibbons. 1992                                           Ages 4-8
A glowing picture book that explains the history and workings of this great trade route. Early French explorers and fur traders were halted by the treacherous rapids some 500 miles upstream, and eventually developed a system for carrying their trade canoes and cargoes around the dangerous stretches to the river beyond, leading into what became known as the Great Lakes. Ultimately, locks were built to do the lifting. The complexities of the lock system are clearly explained in a series of animated diagrams, as Gibbons gives just enough information for young readers
The Journal of Otto Peltonen: A Finnish Immigrant in Hibbing, MN, 1905 by William Durbin
The story of young boy’s experience working in the iron ore mines and growing up in a company town…
Life in an Anishinabe Camp by Niki Walker. 2003.               Ages 8-12
Crabtree Publishing Company.          Follow the Anishnabe as they make a living in the Lake Superior land of Hiawatha…travel, children’s lives, setting up camp, hunting and fishing, clothing, games, beliefs, working, and self-government.
Paddle to the Sea by Holling Clancy Holling. 1969.                                                     Ages 8-12
An Indian boy carves a wooden canoe and writes an inscription that the canoe is trying to find the quickest route to the sea. He then sets the canoe into Lake Michigan and longingly watches it sail away. The canoe spends four years on the water, being picked up by loggers, fishermen, and families before finally making it to the sea. Its adventures give children a good idea of the wonders and diversity in the world.
Schooners, Skiffs, and Steamships: Stories along Lake Superior’s Water Trails by Howard Sivertson. (2001). Lake Superior Port Cities, Inc., Duluth, MN. This book describes the many interesting watercraft used to carry people across Lake Superior. From the bark canoes and wooden schooners that transported the fur trade and the Mackinaw boats, skiffs and bateaux that worked her shores to the first side-wheel and propeller driven steamships that hauled passengers and freight, Lake Superior’s early settlers relied on water transportation as a lifeline to civilization.
Whitefish Point Light Station 1849 by Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society. (1998). Penrod/Hiawatha, Berrien Center, MI  49102. Whitefish Point, Michigan has been known to native tribes, explorers, missionaries and mariners for centuries. Drawn by the bountiful fishing offered by Lake Superior, the Chippewa Indians used Whitefish Point as a meeting place. Early exploration of Lake Superior led to the discovery of valuable copper and iron ore deposits in the region. Their economic potential brought commercial vessel traffic that continues today. Whitefish Point marks a turning point for all shipping traffic entering or leaving Lake Superior. The Edmund Fitzgerald went down 17 miles NW of Whitefish Point on November 10, 1975.
Duluth Port Authority. 2005. Pride of the Inland Seas . Describes the history of the port of Duluth---an excellent addition to school libraries. An additional 20 chapters that were not included in the book are available on Duluth Port Authority’s website <> . On the bottom right of the home page, “click here for companion stories that did not fit in the book”

Jauck, Autumn and Laura Pederson. 2005. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore: Exploring by Trial an Shoreline. A full-color photo book capturing the many moods of Lake Superior.
Marine Publishing Co.  Know Your Ships: Guide to Boat-Watching 2002
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 1995. Great Lakes Environmental Atlas

Aquatic Exotics  (22:00 min.)                          Grades 4-8
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources – Exotic Species Management Program (1996)
Tel: 612-296-2835
Describes common exotic plant and animal species threatening the Great Lakes and suggests way to control their spread. For grades 4-8.
Barging into the 21st Century (1996) (8:48 min)
American Waterways Association        
801 North Quincy Street, Suite 200, Arlington, VA 22203
Tel: 703-841-9300
Follows the tugboats, towboats, and barges which serve the waterborne commerce of the United States, enhancing the industry's ability to provide safe, efficient, and environmentally responsible transportation.
Intermodal Freight Transport              
Maritime Administration U.S. Department of Transportation
400 7th Street, SW Washington, D.C. 20590
Tel: 847-995-0122
To improve and strengthen the U.S. marine transportation system, including infrastructure, industry and labor, to meet the economic and security needs of the Nation.  MARAD programs promote the development and maintenance of an adequate, well-balanced United States merchant marine sufficient to carry the Nation’s domestic waterborne commerce and a substantial portion of its waterborne foreign commerce, and capable of service as a naval and military auxiliary in time of war or national emergency. MARAD also seeks to ensure that the United States maintains adequate shipbuilding and repair services, efficient ports, effective intermodal water and land transportation systems, and reserve shipping capacity for use in time of national emergency.
Living on the Edge:  Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Shoreline (25 minutes)
Army Corps of Engineers – Detroit District and the International Joint Commission
Perspective of a Vital Waterway – The Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System (21:38 minutes) 
St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation         
Tel: 1-800-785-2779     
The Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System is a valued resource and a vital waterway. Beginning with the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1954 and the official opening in 1959, this bi-national project shared by Canada and the United States, was one of the top ten public works projects of the 20th century. This video captures the rich history, grandeur and diversification of this important waterway which includes channels, locks, rivers, and all five Great Lakes. Ocean-going freighters, Great Lakes bulk carriers, petroleum tankers, cruise ships, and pleasure craft all share in the convenience, efficiency and environmental benefits of one of the world’s premiere inland waterways.
Rise and Fall of the Great Lakes. 1991. National Film Board of Canada  (17 minutes)
Tel: 1-800-542-2164 Website:
A lesson in the geologic history of the Great Lakes. While the Great Lakes have had their ups and downs, nothing has been harder to take than present-day human impact. In the film, a lone canoeist lives through the changes over timethrough Ice Age and floodonly to find himself trapped in a sea of 21st century scum.
Split Rock Light: Tribute to the Age of Steel  (DVD) (22 minutes)
A story of the beacon that guided the ships along the rocky coast of Lake Superior’s North Shore.
A Vital Waterway – The Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System (10:28 minutes) 
St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation         
Tel: 1-800-785-2779     
This video captures the grandeur and economic importance of The Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System--- its bustling ports, comprehensive marine transportation infrastructure, diverse intermodal  transportation  connections, and scenic vistas which all contribute to the making of North America’s premier inland waterway.


Where Steel Begins  (15:00 minutes)  by the American Iron Ore Association (1991)    
Available from Lake Carriers’ Association, Suite 915, 614 W. Superior Ave., Cleveland, OH  44113-1383
Tel: 216-861-0592   Website:
Follow a hunk of iron ore, as it is mined and transformed into a taconite or a palletized ball of 60% iron, on its way to becoming steel used in the manufacture of automobile, rail lines, buildings, and many more of our everyday products.  This video is a bit older, may be better for younger audiences, and is Minnesota-based.
Steel Starts Here  (12:00 minutes)  by the Cleveland Cliffs, Inc. Michigan Operations (2005)   
P.O. Box 2000, Ishpeming, MI  49849
Tel: 906-475-3400       Website:
Follow a hunk of iron ore, as it is mined and transformed into a taconite or a palletized ball of 60% iron, on its way to becoming steel used in the manufacture of automobile, rail lines, buildings, and many more of our everyday products. This video is better for older students, and is Michigan-based.




Prepared by:

Western U.P. Center for Science, Mathematics & Environmental Education at Michigan Technological University ( )

with funding from the Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute ( and assistance from the Duluth Seaway Port Authority

and Minnesota Sea Grant in order to advance K-12 understanding of maritime shipping on the Great Lakes.


Contact the WUP Center

Last Update: 10/06/2006

Copyright © 2006 Western Upper Peninsula Center for Science, Mathematics and Environmental Education
Michigan Technological University
Educational Uses Permitted, giving credit to WUP Center

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