Learning Communities

GMRI continues to expand its efforts to advance educator practice and cultivate communities that support student learning in the region.

This year, we helped educators exchange ideas and best practices through workshops, professional development institutes, online forums, and an innovative "un-conference." We also added activities to our online library of curriculum resources, which support standards-aligned activities, classroom-based research, field investigations, and student-led community projects. Our novel, effective approaches drew the attention of education leaders and grew our recognition on the national stage.

Engaging students with authentic science centered on real-world problems is the hallmark of our learning experiences, and we are increasingly focused on nurturing the learning communities that surround our programs. This year alone, Vital Signs students and teachers uploaded almost 2,000 species observations based on missions created by a community of scientists and citizen scientists interested in the monitoring of invasive species in Maine.

We also see enormous potential in our nascent PowerHouse program to build an active learning community centered on home energy management. Currently being developed by GMRI under a grant from the Department of Energy, the program is already drawing national attention. During the summer, we were asked to travel to the White House to participate in Energy Datapalooza, an event that highlighted the potential benefits of engaging average citizens with energy usage data.

A Participatory Approach

New publication highlights Vital Signs' best practices and innovative methods of teacher professional development.

Growing and Evolving

Christine Voyer, Vital Signs team member, reflects on examples of cooperative learning among students, scientists, and citizen scientists.

Diverse Community of Practice

Sarah Kirn, Vital Signs manager, explains how the program's community works together to investigate, monitor, and map invasive species.


GMRI forms exciting partnership enabling parents, teachers, and utility companies to engage with students' study of home energy use.