Great Lakes Basin Map

December 12, 2018

This 7 foot by 10 foot vinyl Great Lakes Basin map illustrates the 2,212 mile journey from the tip of Lake Superior out to the Atlantic Ocean. The map includes a depth profile of the lakes and major rivers within the system, shows the direction and volume of flow through each of the lakes, and represents the journey of water from Lake Superior out to the Atlantic Ocean.

Suggested lessons to use with the basin map from the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network:

How big is a crowd? – In this teacher-facilitated activity, learners will construct the five Great Lakes from string and use wrapped candy or peanuts in shells to investigate the impacts of population centers on Great Lakes fish production and water quality. Students learn to compare the relative sizes of the five Great Lakes and their human populations, as well as describe some of the problems that arise when many people depend on a limited resource.

How does water move in the Great Lakes basin? – You are familiar with the water cycle. The sun heats the surface of the earth, water evaporates, water vapor rises in the atmosphere cools and condenses, precipitation falls and then water flows in the streams, rivers, lakes and oceans. In this activity you will find out how water moves in the Great Lakes  system.

How well do you know the Great Lakes?Many people, including a large portion of those who live close to the Great Lakes, do not a have a basic understanding of the individual characteristics of and the differences between the lakes. Since it is difficult to understand many of the Great Lakes issues, such as global climate change, pollution, and water use without a basic understanding of the lakes, this activity is designed to help visualize the differences in volume, shoreline length, human population distribution, and fish populations of the Great Lakes.

Twister! Create your own Great Lakes Twister game to be used with the basin map.


Request to borrow a Great Lakes Basin map from your Sea Grant program.

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