Curriculum Filter Results

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.

External Curriculum Materials

Details

Subject Areas:
Grade Levels: ,
Topics: , ,
Great Lakes Literacy Principles: , ,


Invasive Species

Many non-native species live in the Great Lakes, and some of them are considered invasive. These species have established populations, multiplied rapidly and caused profound and lasting impacts on the Great Lakes ecosystem. Others (such as Asian carp) have caused serious ecological problems in other parts of the country and threaten to enter the Great Lakes. This lesson explores how invasive species have impacted the Great Lakes and how people can help prevent the spread of these unwanted species.

Objectives:

  • Name and visually recognize the primary aquatic invasive species of the Great Lakes.
  • Understand and analyze the negative impacts that invasive species have on the Great Lakes ecosystem.
  • Explain the ways in which non-native species are introduced into the Great Lakes.

External Curriculum Materials

Details

Subject Areas:
Grade Levels: ,
Topics: , , , ,
Great Lakes Literacy Principles: ,


Habitat Restoration

The Detroit River and the St. Clair River do more than just connect the upper Great Lakes to the lower Great Lakes. While most people know the Detroit River and St. Clair River — referred to collectively as the Huron-Erie Corridor — as major commercial waterways used to support shipping and fishing. But this 32-mile connecting channel has another distinction: until the late 1800s, the corridor was an important spawning ground for lake sturgeon. Its fast-moving waters attracted thousands of the large, primitive fish every spring.

In the following decades, the number of lake sturgeon plummeted due to pollution, over-harvesting and loss of spawning habitat. The current population of lake sturgeon in Michigan is estimated to be about 1 percent of its former abundance. Organizations like Michigan Sea Grant and the U.S. Geological Survey are working to restore lake sturgeon and other native fish habitat in the waters of the Detroit River.

Objectives:

  • Describe the basic needs of fish.
  • Describe how humans have changed fish habitat in the Huron-Erie corridor.
  • Describe the ecosystem factors in the Huron-Erie corridor that can influence fish populations.
  • Design sturgeon habitat in the Huron-Erie corridor.

External Curriculum Materials

Details

Subject Areas: ,
Grade Levels:
Topics: , , ,
Great Lakes Literacy Principles: ,


Food Chains and Webs

All living organisms depend on one another for food. By reviewing the relationships of organisms that feed on one another, this lesson explores how all organisms— including humans—are linked. If students understand the relationships in a simple food chain, they will better understand the importance and sensitivity of these connections, and why changes to one part of the food chain almost always impact another.

Objectives:

  • Describe the difference between herbivores, carnivores and producers.
  • Answer questions about the interdependence of herbivores, carnivores and producers as members of a food chain.
  • Answer questions about how pollution affects food chains.

External Curriculum Materials

Details

Subject Areas:
Grade Levels: ,
Topics: , ,
Great Lakes Literacy Principles:


Fish Identification

Each family of fishes in the Great Lakes region has physical traits that set it apart from others, called distinguishing characteristics. These characteristics help fish survive in their environment. By observing and comparing these features, students learn that fish, like other living organisms, can be organized and classified into meaningful groups for identification and further study.

Objectives:

  • Describe the physical characteristics (traits) of fish that help them survive in their environment.
  • Name several distinguishing characteristics of Great Lakes fish.
  • Describe how these characteristics help fish survive in their environment.
  • Organize Great Lakes fish (cards) based on similarities and differences.
  • Use a dichotomous key to identify 10 Great Lakes fish families.

External Curriculum Materials

Details

Subject Areas:
Grade Levels: ,
Topics: , ,
Great Lakes Literacy Principles:


Exploring Watersheds

This lesson and activity focus on watersheds and how they operate. A watershed is an area of land that drains into a river system. As the water moves downward, it forms streams and rivers. The channeling and pooling of water is determined by the shape or topography of the land. Water continues to move downward, and rivers may join with lakes or other rivers as they head toward the ocean.

Objectives:

  • Describe the characteristics of a watershed and explain how water flows through a watershed.
  • Demonstrate scientific concepts using a model.
  • Share ideas about science through purposeful conversation in collaborative groups.
  • Evaluate data, claims and personal knowledge through collaborative science discourse.
  • Communicate and defend findings of observations using evidence.

External Curriculum Materials

Details

Subject Areas:
Grade Levels: ,
Topics: , , ,
Great Lakes Literacy Principles: ,


Dead Zones

Some eutrophic lakes (and coastal regions of the ocean) may develop what is referred to as dead zones in the summer. Dead Zones are areas without enough dissolved oxygen to support fish or zooplankton. Lake Erie is especially prone to developing dead zones. This lesson explores what contributes to dead zones, how it can affect the life in a lake and where and how to spot one using data clues.

Objectives:

  • Explain why and how dead zones affect aquatic organisms.
  • Describe how human activities may contribute to the creation of dead zones.
  • Use graphs to investigate the size and location of the dead zone in Lake Erie.
  • Communicate conclusions about the size and location of the dead zones using evidence.

External Curriculum Materials

Details

Subject Areas:
Grade Levels: ,
Topics:
Great Lakes Literacy Principles: , , ,


Oxygen in the Water

Oxygen is the key to life — most organisms cannot survive without it, even those under water. Seasonal weather patterns and the physical properties of water can affect temperature and dissolved oxygen levels throughout the water column. Why is this important? Because the seasonal weather patterns and cycles are directly related to how much life an aquatic environment can support.

For example, during the summer, bottom water (hypolimnion) can be cut off from new supplies of dissolved oxygen from the air until fall. Therefore, the size of the hypolimnion affects the ecology of a lake. By examining and graphing water temperatures and the amount of dissolved oxygen in a water column, students will be able to make a connection between the life a lake can support to the amount of oxygen found in stratified layers of water.

Objectives:

  • Describe how properties of water are related to productivity in a lake.
  • Describe how dissolved oxygen and temperature levels can influence populations of organisms.
  • Graph dissolved oxygen levels and graph water temperatures.
  • Analyze water temperature versus depth graphs to answer questions.
  • Analyze dissolved oxygen versus depth graphs to answer questions.

External Curriculum Materials

Details

Subject Areas:
Grade Levels: ,
Topics: , , , ,
Great Lakes Literacy Principles:


Healthy Beaches, Healthy Lakes

Healthy coastal areas are of course important to fish and wildlife, but they are also vital to the quality of life in and the economy throughout the Great Lakes basin. For most people, the beach is a place for relaxing, making memories or connecting with nature. However, Great Lakes beaches, streams and rivers are threatened by pollution, contamination and a changing climate. This lesson explores threats to Great Lakes beaches like bacterial contamination, pathogens and harmful algal blooms as well as stewardship efforts like beach cleanup programs that help keep beaches safe and healthy. While humans often play a role in contributing to beach contamination, people work equally as hard to maintain and improve water quality.

Objectives:

  • Describe different sources of beach contamination.
  • Develop a hypothesis about the increase of beach closures.
  • Discuss several ways people can help protect beaches and water quality.

External Curriculum Materials

Details

Subject Areas: ,
Grade Levels: ,
Topics:
Great Lakes Literacy Principles: , ,


Great Lakes, Great Careers

A variety of people make their living studying the oceans and Great Lakes or educating others about these valuable natural resources. Yet for many students in the U.S., these careers may seem relatively remote or unattainable, until they learn about the actual people who do them. This activity will help students become familiar with exciting careers in science.

Objectives:

  • Name at least five careers in marine and aquatic science, including both the oceans and Great Lakes.
  • Identify several recent contributions that people have made in marine and aquatic science fields.
  • Describe a marine or Great Lakes science career that interests them.

External Curriculum Materials

Details

Subject Areas: ,
Grade Levels: ,
Topics:
Great Lakes Literacy Principles: