Curriculum

Making Great Lakes Connections

Groups of learners work on a single Great Lake and connecting waterway and then come together as a class to construct a simple three dimensional model of the Great Lakes. Individual groups also present their Great Lake and connecting waterway information.

Objectives

After participating in this activity, learners will be able to:

  • identify the Great Lakes and the bodies of water that connect specific Great Lakes with each other and with the Atlantic Ocean
  • describe the three-dimensional geography of the Great Lakes, including elevations
  • describe why locks are needed, and how a lock system works

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More Than Just A Lake!

By creating a map of the rivers flowing into your Great Lake, learn how rivers form a watershed.

Objectives

  • Students will understand the defining role that rivers have in watershed activity
  • Students will be able to state whether they live inside or outside the drainage basin of their Great Lake
  • Older students will be able to identify the river drainage basin in which they live

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Your Great Lake!

How much water does each Great Lake hold? Use this lesson as a demonstration or a classroom lesson to create visual representations of the Great Lakes, Lake Baikal, and the relationships between surface area, retention time and pollution effects.

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Visualizing Climate Changes in the Great Lakes

In this activity, students examine information about how climate change will likely impact the Great Lakes of North America and assume that they are in a part of the region experiencing a water level decline of over two meters! They listen to [or read] a story in which they imagine that they have spent a lifetime visiting the Great Lakes. With their “memories” and their science information, they describe the changes they have noticed in the Lakes during their lifetime.

Objectives:

After completing this activity, students will be able to:
  • List and explain many potential impacts of climate change
  • Discuss various interpretations of the possible impacts of climate change

Alignment

National Framework for K-12 Science Education:
CC2: Cause and effect: Mechanism and explanation
Core Idea ESS2: Earth’s systems
Core Idea ESS3: Earth and human activity

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Who Can Harvest a Walleye?

The Great Lakes are an example of a natural community. In this community the small organisms (living things) outnumber the large organisms. The smaller organisms may be eaten by the larger ones.In this activity, students will count all the organisms of one kind, then count all the things they eat and all the things that eat them, creating pyramid of numbers that will also show who eats what.

Objectives:

When you have completed this investigation you should be able to:

  • Apply 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.
  • Analyze how different conditions in the environment affect the pyramid

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Ojibwe – Early Immigrants to the Great Lakes Region

Most history books say Europeans “discovered” North America as if it had no history before then. As a result, students know little about the American Indians who settled here long before the Europeans came. This activity introduces students to one tribe of early Great Lakes settlers, the Ojibway (Chippewa), who began to migrate from what would later become New Brunswick and Maine in 900 A.D.

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Hurricane Bingo

Hurricane Bingo is a great game for grades 6 and up. Students will learn hurricane terms in a fun, fast atmosphere. The game can be played independently or in groups.

National Standards:

Grade Level 5-12

  • Science Content Standards 5-8:
    • Physical Science: Content Standard B; Motion and forces, Transfer of energy
    • Earth and Space Science: Content Standard D: Structure of the Earth System, Earth in the Solar System
    • Science in Personal and Social Perspectives: Content Standard F; Natural Hazards
  • Science Content Standards 9-12:
    • Science as Inquiry: Content Standard A; Understandings about scientific inquiry
    • Earth and Space Science: Content Standard D; Energy in the earth system
    • Science in Personal and Social Perspectives: Content Standard F: Natural and human hazards, Science and technology in local and global challenges
    • History and Nature of Science: Content Standard G: Science as a human endeavor, Nature of scientific knowledge

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Water Hyacinth Jeopardy

When learners have completed this activity, they should be able to discuss basic information about the water hyacinth. This information will include the origin, distribution, movement, consequences and solutions dealing with the water hyacinth

Geographic Standards:
Standard 14. How human actions modify the physical environment
Standard 15. How physical systems affect human systems
Standard 16. The changes that occur in the meaning, use, distribution, and importance of resources

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Lake Effect Snow

The Great Lakes create unique weather patterns. One of those weather patterns is lake effect snow. Lake effect snowstorms occur in only three places in the world: the Great Lakes, the east shore of Hudson Bay and along the west coasts of the Japanese islands of Honshu and Hokkaido. While people in the snow belt regions have learned to adapt, living near the lakes and experiencing lake effect snow still affects the economy and culture in significant ways. For example, winter sports like skiing and snowmobiling are major industries in some snow areas. This lesson explores how the Great Lakes influence lake effect snow, other factors that contribute to it and ways of reading weather conditions to forecast lake effect storms.

Objectives:

  • Describe the factors that create lake effect snow.
  • Describe how differences in lake and air temperature relate to lake effect snow.
  • Describe weather conditions associated with the movement of frontal boundaries across the Great Lakes region.
  • Describe how hills and highlands help form clouds and precipitation.
  • Describe how cities and industrial areas are related to lake effect snow.

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