Curriculum Filter Results

Fish Habitat and Humans

A healthy environment supports a variety of native species. This is especially true for Great Lakes fish. Different species of fish require specific habitats, and loss or alteration of fish habitat can lead to population declines. This lesson explains some of the characteristics of healthy fish habitat and guides students in making their own field observations and scientific predictions. It will require 3 50 minute class periods.

Objectives:

  • Name three basic requirements for fish survival.
  • Name several Great Lakes fish species and their habitats.
  • Explain two ways human activities impact Great Lakes fish habitat and affect the survival of fish and other organisms.
  • Use observations to predict which Great Lakes fish might favor particular habitat.
  • Make purposeful observations of a nearby aquatic area using illustrations, photographs and narratives (See: Activity).

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Environmental Decision Making

Every day we make choices. We decide simple things like what to wear, what to eat, or how much time to allow for homework. Some decisions, however, require us to think critically and consider the potential consequences of our actions. When it comes to making environmental decisions there is often no clear right or wrong. However, many factors must be considered, especially since the environment is held in the public trust. When making environmental decisions, it often means the decision you are making doesn’t just affect you — and it can have very long-lasting effects.

Objectives:

  • Discuss land use practices that affect Great Lakes wetlands.
  • Make decisions and recognize personal priorities with regard to wetlands.
  • Describe some of the economic factors that often drive land use decisions.

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How Does Stratification Affect Water Quality?

Some lakes have water quality problems related to the layering of the lake’s waters, which occurs in the summer months. Because of its shallowness, Lake Erie is such a lake. During the summer, the warm surface layer of water does not mix with the colder bottom layer of water. If a lot of algae has grown in the lake, decay of the dead algae on the lake bottom may use up all of the oxygen in the cold bottom water layer. When there is no oxygen in the bottom waters, the water is said to be anoxic. Fish and other animals cannot live in these anoxic waters. In the fall, the surface water cools and mixes with the bottom water, resupplying the bottom water with oxygen needed for life.

Objectives

When you complete the activity you will be able to:

  • Describe how stratification of lake waters influences water quality.
  • Explain how phosphorus affects oxygen levels in lakes.

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Out One Lake and In Another – How long does it take water to flow through the Great Lakes?

Water that is in a lake does not stay in that lake. Where does the water go? If you think about the water cycle, you will be able to figure out several places that it might go. The length of time that it takes for the amount of water in a lake to be completly replaced (enter the lake) is called retention time. Each of the Great Lakes has a different retention time. Lake Superior’s retention time is much longer than the others: 194 years compared to just 75 years for Lake Huron, for example. Since the water mixes as it pours in and out, over the course of 194 years only half of the water in Lake Superior actually leaves.

Objectives:

When you have completed this activity you will be able to:

  • Construct an appropriate model of the water flow of the Great Lakes.
  • Define the concepts of retention time and replacement time and, describe how they are different.
  • Discuss how Lake Superior affects the dynamics of water flow, retention time and flushing rates for the Great Lakes system and why this is important

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How does water move in the Great Lakes basin?

You are familiar with the water cycle. The sun heats the surface of the earth, water evaporates, water vapor rises in the atmosphere cools and condenses, precipitation falls and then water flows in the streams, rivers, lakes and oceans. In this activity you will find out how water moves in the Great Lakes system.

Objectives:

When you complete this activity you will be able to:

  • Locate and identify the Great Lakes on a map.
  • Identify the connecting waters.
  • Define water basin.
  • Begin an analysis of the flow of water.

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Paddle-to-the-Sea, Google Lit Trip

Google Lit Trips let people experience the journeys in great literature. Paddle-to-the-Sea, a picture book written and illustrated by Holling C. Holling, teaches children and adults alike about the natural and cultural wonders of the Great Lakes. It remains timely seven decades after its initial publication. Follow “Paddle-to-the-Sea”, a carving of a young Indian boy in a canoe, on a journey through all the Great Lakes. This Google Earth application shows the path of Paddle’s journey to the sea.

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Great Lakes Waves and Water Safety Lesson

Students learn about how to analyze wind and wave data in the context of the famous historical wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, as well as a more recent storm in 2010. This lesson provides the opportunity for students to perform a retrospective investigation of the meteorological conditions that led to the shipwreck and explore how modern data sources could help prevent such a disaster. Additionally, students use weather maps to plan a “safe route” for a ship to navigate through the “North American Extratropical Cyclone of October 2010.” This lesson was prepared to support the educational mission of the Great Lakes Observing System.

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Wisconsin’s Great Lakes Shipwrecks

Wisconsin’s shipwrecks and maritime attractions are tangible reminders of how important water has been in shaping the state’s history and culture. Discover more about how underwater archaeologists unearth this lost history and learn about the research that is currently underway.

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