Curriculum Filter Results

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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Density: Sea Water Mixing and Sinking

Two of the most important characteristics of ocean water are its temperature and salinity. Together they help govern the density of seawater, which is a major factor controlling the ocean’s vertical movements and layered circulation.

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Going with the Flow

Students use a simple model to discover that air moving over water causes the surface of the water to move horizontally. In writing and in a discussion, students relate this concept to surface currents in the ocean and the Great Lakes.

Objectives:

  • Relate the motion of surface currents (cause) to the motion of objects floating in the ocean and Great Lakes (effect)
  • Relate the transfer of energy from wind moving across water (cause) to the horizontal movement of water (effect)
  • Use the term “surface current” to explain horizontal movement of surface water caused by wind
  • Explain that surface currents affect surface water, not deep water

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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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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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