Great Lakes Education Workshop
FT Stone Laboratory
Gibralter Island, Lake Erie, Ohio State University
July 21-27, 2013
An Analysis of Biology on Gibralter
Science and Education Log: Our morning began with an ice breaker activity involving puzzle construction. Three cooperative groups were formed, and a puzzle completion race began. During the competition, participants were not permitted to utilize verbal communication. This was an interesting task to complete without talking, and has the potential to teach the educator the dynamics of a particular group of students as they relate to one another non-verbally.
Our focus turned to Lake Erie aquatic life, as we analyzed curriculum that engages students through the use of board games. “Who can harvest a walleye?” a game that promotes the understanding of how energy travels through a fish food web, teaches students how biomass is conserved and lost in a lake ecosystem. “What factors affect the size of a natural population?” a second game based activity, focuses on the challenges faced by a perch population. Both lessons uniquely demonstrate the challenges fish species face trying to survive.
During our afternoon science cruise on Stone Lab’s research vessel The Biolab, we set out to gather limnological data using traditional tools. We also had the opportunity to collect lake data using a Hydrolab data sonde on loan from the EPA. Led by lab assistant, Kevin Hart, class participants assessed light penetration into the lake using a Secchi disk. We also learned how to engage younger students in the collection of water turbidity data with the use of Peanut M&Ms by conducting an experiment that tested the question “Which Peanut M&M color can be seen by the naked eye the longest after being dropped into Lake Erie?” Our science cruise also provided us the opportunity to perform a brief lake trawl where Stone Lab scientist, Tory Gabriel, helped us identify white and yellow perch, dreissenids, and round gobies. We also gathered phytoplankton and zooplankton samples to analyze in the lab.
On Gibralter Island’s “Alligator Bar” we used macroinvertebrate sampling equipment to collect organisms that indicate water quality. Our samples included organisms such as leaches, scuds, mayfly nymphs, dreissenids, and left and right opening snails. Based on this assessment Lake Erie earned a water quality rating of 17, a number indicating “Good Quality”.
Personal Log: Great Lakes Education has afforded us the opportunity to experience the magic of Lake Erie. We have learned from each other and have bonded as a cohesive group of educators. We have our students and our communities in our hearts as we learn the best way to create an awareness and a deep respect for the Great Lakes.