VA SEA Lesson Plan Project for Science Graduate Students

Virginia Scientists & Educators Alliance (VA SEA)

August 29 & September 12, 2023
VIMS Davis Hall
Gloucester Point, VA
*Apply Now* Deadline: July 31

Matt Freedman

Virginia Scientists & Educators Alliance (VA SEA)

Educators from the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Virginia (CBNERRVA) and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) invite science graduate students from Virginia Sea Grant affiliated universities to participate in a lesson plan development project where they’ll learn best practices for communicating their research through the development of lesson plans designed for middle and high school classrooms.

VA SEA is a hybrid of VIMS' successful GK-12 project and North Carolina's SciREN project ( Both efforts have helped young scientists hone science communication skills by translating their research into classroom lesson plans. The lessons share current research and science problem solving with K-12 teachers and their students, increasing literacy in STEM subjects. Our VA SEA program which began in 2015 and has drawn 39 graduate students from VIMS, ODU and UVA produced 44 lesson plans. The lessons are shared with classroom teachers from across the state each year at our annual VA SEA Lesson Plan Expo in April. They are now available on-line as VIMS educational publications and we continue to demonstrate and promote them to teachers at workshops and science education conferences.

We are starting a third round of the VA SEA project, and are now accepting applications from graduate students currently enrolled in any Virginia Sea Grant affiliated institution.

VA SEA Project Timeline

  • Aug & Sep 2023 - Attend two 1/2-day training workshops
  • Sep & Oct 2023 - Check-in meetings to review progress & answer questions
  • Oct - Nov 2023 - Develop research-based lesson plan
  • Nov 2023 - Submit full draft lesson plan for pilot testing
  • Jan - Feb 2024 - Teachers pilot test lesson plans
  • Mar 2024 - Refine lesson plan based on teacher feedback
  • April 2024 - Share lesson plan with VA teachers at VIMS Lesson Plan Expo

Benefits to graduate students:

  • Improve your communication & teaching skills
  • Learn best practices for lesson plan development
  • Work with teachers to bring current science into the classroom
  • Share your research with teachers & students across Virginia
  • $250 in workship

Expectations of graduate students:

  • Attend two 1/2-day training workshops at VIMS (Aug 29 & Sep 12, 2023)
  • Develop & submit a draft lesson plan
  • Revise lesson plan based on teacher feedback
  • Share lesson plan at VIMS Lesson Plan Expo on Thursday, April 18, 2024

Registration is limited to 10 participants. 

Questions? Contact:

Lisa Lawrence (graduate student contact)


Sarah McGuire Nuss (classroom teacher contact)

VA SEA is a collaborative project between the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve,  the Virginia Institute of Marine Science's Marine Advisory Program, and Virginia Sea Grant. 

The VA SEA project is made possible through funding from the National Estuarine Research Reserve System Science Collaborative, which supports collaborative research that addresses coastal management problems important to the reserves. The Science Collaborative is funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and managed by the University of Michigan Water Center.