Estuary Values and Changes
Activity A: What is the ecological role of an estuary?
In this investigation, students use various sets of data to examine some of the characteristics of the estuary at Old Woman Creek,near Huron, Ohio. Students learn about the methods used by ecologists to sample populations of plant and animal life in aquatic ecosystems, the living communities that are found in different depths of water in an estuary, and how plant communities are important to animal life in an estuary.
Activity B: How do estuaries impact nutrients entering a lake?
Students analyze a map and data to learn how estuaries affect nutrient levels as water enters a lake.
They make predictions about how the effects of climate change might affect an estuary’s ability to improve water quality and function properly.
External Curriculum Materials
Trees on the Move: Can Maples and Buckeyes Migrate?
Activity A: What do climate models predict about tree ranges?
This lesson introduces examples of how General Circulation Models [GCMs] predict possible scenarios of climate change. Three methods of visualizing change are introduced and students compare how sugar maples and buckeye trees’ climate niches are likely to be altered.
Activity B: How can trees migrate?
The seeds of maples and buckeyes are “dispersed” in an outdoor simulation of how far a tree species might be able to spread over several tree generations.
Activity C: How does temperature affect maple seed germination?
Students examine research data on seed germination at different temperatures to infer some of the impacts of temperature on species survival.
Activity D: After the maples, then what?
Students study an outdoor area that has sugar maples and other species. Following research methods of Catherine Keever, they catalog the size and relative abundance of species in the plot and infer what species is likely to succeed if maples disappear.
Climate Change and Aquatic Invaders
Using a jigsaw pedagogical strategy, students research aquatic invasive species and then manipulate cards to identify aquatic invasive species and explain the effects of global climate change on these species.
Cars on Trial: How Do Energy Use Decisions Influence Global Climate Change?
In this activity, students will role play a courtroom trial to discuss energy use as it is related to climate change in order to: (1) recognize several pros and cons regarding the use of automobiles in America (or Canada); (2) think critically about the complexity of reducing the amount that Americans (or Canadians) drive cars; and (3) understand the basic effects of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Water Levels on the Great Lakes
In this activity students analyze, interpret and make inferences from web-based data on Great Lakes water levels. Students interpret graphic information about water level fluctuations in the Great Lakes in order to examine the relationship between temperature and precipitation and corresponding changes in lake levels, and learn how changing water levels within the Great Lakes region impact ecosystem health and the people who live there.
How Will Climate Change Affect a Great Lakes State?
To make climate change relevant to students, they need examples of changes that are occurring or are expected in areas and enterprises near them. If it doesn’t snow, what happens to winter recreation? If it doesn’t rain, what happens to production of corn and dairy products? If the water levels change, will fish be able to find places to spawn? This lesson uses examples of climate change from one Great Lakes state, Ohio, to determine local relevance of climate change. When students have completed this activity, they will recognize that global climate change will have consequences for the environment and economy of individual states, and be able to give examples of state issues and the consequences of global climate change.
Visualizing Changes in the Great Lakes
Whenever people talk about the future, they form a mental image of what things will be like. They think about themselves and the things they know about, and in their imagination build a new picture of what they can expect. As we consider the impacts of climate change on the Great Lakes, there are a number of ways of visualizing those changes. In this activity, students will construct a web of things that may increase or decrease as a result of a changing climate. Constructing a concept map will enable students to list and explain many potential impacts of climate change and discuss various interpretations of the possible impacts of climate change.
What factors impact ice coverage on the Great Lakes?
What impacts do you think ice on the Great Lakes might have on the surrounding area? Ice actually has a considerable impact. Shipping is shut down for a part of the year. Fish spawning can be impacted. Shoreline structures can be damaged. Even the climate itself is impacted by the ice overage. After students have recorded their own perceptions of ice coverage of the great lake and then compared them to actual data, they will be asked to develop an investigation that will test factors that they believe influence ice coverage on the Great Lakes.
Global and Great Lakes Climate Change
In this investigation, groups of students will graph data reflecting temperature anomalies over a short period in the recorded climate history of the world or in part of the Great Lakes region. Using only their own data, they will predict how their actual temperature anomaly trend might continue. That is, with limited data, what do they conclude about the future? As all student groups assemble and observe the trend of the 130-year data set, they may conclude that having a larger data set offers more confidence in predictions. Students will learn to identify a trend in a set of graphic data, evaluate and discuss the difficulties inherent in interpreting and forecasting long- and short-term trends, and analyze data, draw conclusions about whether temperature anomalies are evidence of global warming, and defend their conclusions.
How do Greenhouse Gases Affect Heat Absorption?
Students build a model and simulate a portion of the greenhouse system using carbon dioxide, learning about the components of the greenhouse effect and the effect of carbon dioxide on the absorption of heat in the atmosphere.