Curriculum Filter Results

What is the Ecological Role of an Estuary?

To most people, an estuary (es-chew-airy) is a place where fresh water meets the sea. In its broader meaning, an estuary is that part of the mouth of a stream in which the water level is influenced by the lake or sea into which the stream flows. The Great Lakes have some estuaries.

Old Woman Creek on Lake Erie has an estuary that has been set aside by the state and federal governments as a “state nature preserve” and “national estuarine research reserve.” The St. Louis River Estuary on Lake Superior is currently listed as an “Area of Concern”by the EPA and is undergoing remediation for pollution. Why should the government bother to preserve an estuary such as Old Woman Creek or the St. Louis River Estuary?

External Curriculum Materials

Details

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


What are the Characteristics of Some Great Lakes Fish?

If you know how to construct a dichotomous key, you can make one that classifies real organisms, some fish in the Great Lakes. For this activity you will work in groups of 3 or 4. Your group will construct a key to identify some fish families and learn something about them.

Lake Erie has a larger variety of fish life than any other Great Lake. Scientists believer this is because of the southern position of the lake and because it is shallow. Lake Erie has 138 species of fish. These species can be grouped into 27 families. All of the fish in a given family share certain characteristics.In this exercise you will learn how to use these characteristics to identify the 27 families.

External Curriculum Materials

Details

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


Revival for Survival

This game presents real-life choices involving exotic species found in the Great Lakes, such as zebra mussels and purple loosestrife. Students are to analyze a situation related to ecology and make an environmentally sound decision. After playing the game, students organize what they learned into a concept map.

Objectives:

  • Analyze situations and factors affecting ecosystems.
  • Recognize exotic species found in the Great Lakes.
  • Create a concept map that interrelates the topics presented in the game

External Curriculum Materials

Details

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


Seeing Purple: A Population Explosion

Through a simulation, sampling, and estimation activity, students learn about the impact of purple loosestrife on a wet land due to its exponential growth. They learn about purple loosestrife’s life cycle and appreciate how scientists determine population size in an ecosystem.

Objectives:

  • Recognize purple loosestrife and tell how the seeds are dispersed.
  • Describe that purple loosestrife produces over 2 million seeds and have a concept of how much that really is.
  • Determine the population of purple loosestrife seeds for their wetland ecosystem through sampling.

External Curriculum Materials

Details

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


Being Productive in the Arctic Ocean

Objectives:

  • Students will be able to identify the three realms of the Arctic Ocean, and describe the relationships between these realms.
  • Students will be able to identify major factors that limit primary productivity in the Arctic Ocean, and will be able to describe how these factors exert limiting effects.
  • Given data on potentially limiting factors and primary productivity, students will be able to infer which factors are actually having a limiting effect.

External Curriculum Materials

Details

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


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.

External Curriculum Materials

Details

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


Ooze Clues, Diatom Ooze

Plot the distribution of various oozes using information from sediment maps.
Objectives:
  • Describe the characterless of different types of seafloor sediments and oozes
  • Predict distribution of calcareous and siliceous oozes.
  • Compare and discuss locations of sediments and oozes.

External Curriculum Materials

Details

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


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: , ,


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:


Exploring Watersheds

This lesson and activity focus on watersheds and how they operate. A watershed is an area of land that drains into a river system. As the water moves downward, it forms streams and rivers. The channeling and pooling of water is determined by the shape or topography of the land. Water continues to move downward, and rivers may join with lakes or other rivers as they head toward the ocean.

Objectives:

  • Describe the characteristics of a watershed and explain how water flows through a watershed.
  • Demonstrate scientific concepts using a model.
  • Share ideas about science through purposeful conversation in collaborative groups.
  • Evaluate data, claims and personal knowledge through collaborative science discourse.
  • Communicate and defend findings of observations using evidence.

External Curriculum Materials

Details

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