Curriculum Filter Results

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.

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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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Invader Species of the Great Lakes

Learners will work in small groups to organize scrambled exotic species cards. Each group will present a different exotic species in a poster or fact sheet to the class, and then the group will act out (charades) a way to avoid the spread of their exotic species.

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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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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