Curriculum Filter Results

Great Lakes Literacy education exploration (GLLee)

What is a GLLee?

Great Lakes Literacy Education Exploration, or GLLee, are an introductory collection of resources and partners assembled in three easy steps to help teachers and youth explore Great Lakes Literacy through place-based education and stewardship opportunities in your school and community!

  1. Explore a Great Lakes Topic

  2. Support Teaching and Learning with Additional Resources

  3. Engage Youth in Place-based Education or Stewardship

Want to participate?

CGLL programs are open to all, but registration is required gain access to each Google Classroom and connected content.

Current GLLee Topics available during the 2021-22 school year – join below: 

  • Coastal Erosion (Best suited for students in grades 6-12)

    • What? Coastal erosion is the process by which strong wave action and coastal flooding wear down or carry away rocks, soils, and sands along the coast.
    • Driving Question? How does coastal erosion shape the shorelines of the Great Lakes and impact our ecosystems and communities?
  • Marine Debris (Best suited for students in grades 4-12)

    • What? Marine debris is any human-made material that can end up – on purpose or by accident – in our rivers, ocean, and Great Lakes.
    • Driving Question? How does marine debris impact our Great Lakes and animals (including humans) and plants that depend on this freshwater resource?
  • Vernal Pools (Best suited for students in grades 6-12)

    • What? Vernal pools are “wicked big puddles” and ecologically serve as the “coral reefs of our northern forest ecosystems.”
    • Driving Question? How do vernal pools (seasonal woodland wetlands) benefit the Great Lakes region?

For accessibility concerns or issues with this virtual resource, please contact [email protected].

Center for Great Lakes Literacy programs and materials are open to all without regard to race, color, national or ethnic origin, gender, gender identity, religion, age, height, weight, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, or veteran status. 

Freedom Seekers: The Underground Railroad, Great Lakes, and Science Literacy Activities

Great Lakes connections to Underground Railroad – Black History Month
Free Curriculum for Middle and High School Educators

Learn about Freedom Seekers and the Underground Railroad
Link to view curriculum ▶ Google Document | PDF
Link to edit and use curriculum

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IISG’s Weather and Climate Toolkit

Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG) has created a weather and climate education toolkit where teachers—whether parents, home school tutors or licensed professionals—can find resources on the topics of weather, climate and climate change.  The toolkit provides a sortable list of external resources and can be filtered by grade level, specific weather and climate subtopics or geographic locations, learning mode and more.  Filtering by scale can identify educational resources unique to the Great Lakes.  Many of the lesson plans and activities in this curated catalog of resources can be used as-is or adapted for virtual learning and at-home teaching environments.

External Curriculum Materials

Great Lakes Fisheries and the Economy

Students participate in a role play investigating the economics value of fishing in the Great Lakes.



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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.


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

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Great Lakes Waves and Water Safety Lesson

Students learn about how to analyze wind and wave data in the context of the famous historical wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, as well as a more recent storm in 2010. This lesson provides the opportunity for students to perform a retrospective investigation of the meteorological conditions that led to the shipwreck and explore how modern data sources could help prevent such a disaster. Additionally, students use weather maps to plan a “safe route” for a ship to navigate through the “North American Extratropical Cyclone of October 2010.” This lesson was prepared to support the educational mission of the Great Lakes Observing System.

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