Curriculum

What are some characteristics of Great Lakes fish?

If you know how to construct a dichotomous key, you can make one that classifies real organisms, some fish in the Great Lakes. After building a dichotomous key, students will describe some ways fish differ from each other in appearance and use similar characteristics of fish to group them into categories for  classification.

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Who Can Harvest a Walleye?

Students play a board game where they learn the meaning of the following terms as they relate to a
biomass pyramid: producer, herbivore, first-order carnivore, second-order carnivore; calculate the relative number of kilograms at each level of the biomass pyramid in a given environment; and analyze how different conditions in the environment affect the pyramid.

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Rival for Survival

This game presents real-life choices involving exotic species found in the Great Lakes, such as zebra mussels and purple loosestrife. Students are to analyze a situation related to ecology and make an environmentally sound decision. After playing the game, students organize what they learned into a  concept map.

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Seeing Purple: A Population Explosion

Through a simulation, sampling, and estimation activity, students learn about the impact of purple loosestrife on a wetland due to its exponential growth. They learn about purple loosestrife’s life cycle and  appreciate how scientists determine population size in an ecosystem.

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Don’t Stop for Hitchhikers!

Students role-play the part of lake inhabitants and the aquatic exotics who displace the native species. Props are used to help demonstrate how aquatic exotic species enter a lake or river system, the negative effect they have on the native species, and things people can do to stop the spread of exotic species.

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How Can Disappearances Within the Triangle Be Explained?

Investigating multiple hypotheses, students discuss the values of using several data types and sources to
solve a science problem, demonstrate how bathymetric charts are used and constructed, demonstrate how weather information is mapped and interpreted, and explain how scientists use multiple working
hypotheses to solve complex problems.

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