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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
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Invader Species of the Great Lakes

Students do a card-matching activity to learn about aquatic invasive species (AIS). In groups students select an aquatic invasive species, create a poster or factsheet and develop a charade-like game to demonstrate ways to prevent invasive species from spreading.

Objectives:

  • name and visually recognize some invader (nonindigenous/ exotic) species of the Great Lakes
  • understand and analyze the positive and negative impacts of invader species on the Great Lakes ecosystem
  • explain the ways in which invader species are introduced into the Great Lakes
  • describe and act out ways to avoid the spread of exotic species

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Ruffe Musical Chairs

Students use role-play to mimic the behavior of an invasive, non-native fish called Eurasian ruffe (pronounced rough) to experience firsthand how and why the species has multiplied so rapidly in some Great Lakes harbors.

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Beat the Barriers

This board game teaches students about the various methods used to limit the sea lamprey population in the Great Lakes. Students assume the identity of sea lampreys and attempt to migrate from Lake Ontario to Lake Superior.

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Beach Mysteries

Students learn about bacteria as an indicator of beach water quality for swimming. In groups they solve
hypothetical problems associated with beaches. Then students write persuasive essays on the issue.

Activities:

  • Discuss the effect of harmful bacteria on swimming conditions at beaches.
  • Diagram three reasons for beach contamination.
  • Explain solutions for beach health problems.
  • Write a persuasive essay about beach health

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Indoor Dunes

Students study Creature Cards at sand dune ecosystem stations and determine what adaptations help the organisms to live in their environments.

Objectives:

  • List organisms that live in the dunes.
  • Describe the specialized adaptations of sand dune organisms.
  • Explain the different habitats in sand dunes.

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