Curriculum Filter Results

Snowmaking—Great Lakes Style

Students living near the Great Lakes often feel the chill of lake-effect snowstorms. Students who have been introduced to weather basics can become familiar with the lakes’ effect on winter storms through this mapping exercise. This activity compliments a weather and climate unit.

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Is the Globe Warming? Is there Evidence in the Great Lakes Region?

After completing this activity, students will be able to:
  • Critically interpret graphic data.
  • Evaluate and discuss the difficulties inherent in interpreting and forecasting long- and short-term trends.
  • Analyze data, draw conclusions about whether there is evidence of global warming, and defend their conclusions.

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What Happens to Heat Energy Reaching the Great Lakes?

Even as far back as the “log cabin days,” people knew that water absorbs a great deal of heat energy and can in turn release this heat. Pioneers would prevent foods from freezing on cold nights by placing a large container of water in the room. Can you think of why this might work? In this investigation we will explore how bodies of water can affect the surrounding areas.

Objectives:

  • Describe how soil and water differ in their ability to absorb and release heat energy.
  • Describe how this difference in heat absorbed or released affects the atmosphere immediately above the land and immediately above the water.

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Implications of Warming in the Arctic

Besides being a “canary in the coal mine,” why should we learn about global warming in the Arctic?

Objectives:

  • Explain feedback loops including surface reflectivity (albedo), ocean circulation, melting permafrost releasing heat-trapping gasses and melting ice contributing to rising sea levels.
  • Explain how warming in the Arctic affects the rest of the world.

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How is Coastal Temperature Influenced by the Great Lakes and the Oceans?

Objectives:

  • describe how soil and water differ in their ability to absorb and release heat energy and
  • describe how this difference in heat absorbed or released affects the atmosphere immediately above the land and the water

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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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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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Dangerous Currents 101

You may have heard about the rip tide or undertow before. These are terms that people commonly use to describe dangerous currents. However, since there are no tides in the Great Lakes (needed to form a rip tide) and currents don’t pull a person down under the water (undertow), they are a bit inaccurate. Instead, we call these dangerous currents. Also, most people know that ocean currents can be dangerous, but don’t suspect that there are such strong currents in the Great Lakes.

This lesson explores dangerous currents, including rip currents, that commonly occur throughout the Great Lakes.

Objectives:

  • Learn what a dangerous current is and where they can be found.
  • Understand the influences that contribute to dangerous current development in the Great Lakes.
  • Explain several different types of dangerous currents found in the Great Lakes.

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