Curriculum Filter Results

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

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:


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:


Fish Habitat and Humans

A healthy environment supports a variety of native species. This is especially true for Great Lakes fish. Different species of fish require specific habitats, and loss or alteration of fish habitat can lead to population declines. This lesson explains some of the characteristics of healthy fish habitat and guides students in making their own field observations and scientific predictions. It will require 3 50 minute class periods.

Objectives:

  • Name three basic requirements for fish survival.
  • Name several Great Lakes fish species and their habitats.
  • Explain two ways human activities impact Great Lakes fish habitat and affect the survival of fish and other organisms.
  • Use observations to predict which Great Lakes fish might favor particular habitat.
  • Make purposeful observations of a nearby aquatic area using illustrations, photographs and narratives (See: Activity).

External Curriculum Materials

Details

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


Environmental Decision Making

Every day we make choices. We decide simple things like what to wear, what to eat, or how much time to allow for homework. Some decisions, however, require us to think critically and consider the potential consequences of our actions. When it comes to making environmental decisions there is often no clear right or wrong. However, many factors must be considered, especially since the environment is held in the public trust. When making environmental decisions, it often means the decision you are making doesn’t just affect you — and it can have very long-lasting effects.

Objectives:

  • Discuss land use practices that affect Great Lakes wetlands.
  • Make decisions and recognize personal priorities with regard to wetlands.
  • Describe some of the economic factors that often drive land use decisions.

External Curriculum Materials

Details

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