Curriculum Filter Results

Global and Great Lakes Climate Change

In this investigation, groups of students will graph data reflecting temperature anomalies over a short period in the recorded climate history of the world or in part of the Great Lakes region. Using only their own data, they will predict how their actual temperature anomaly trend might continue. That is, with limited data, what do they conclude about the future? As all student groups assemble and observe the trend of the 130-year data set, they may conclude that having a larger data set offers more confidence in predictions. Students will learn to identify a trend in a set of graphic data, evaluate and discuss the difficulties inherent in interpreting and forecasting long- and short-term trends, and analyze data, draw conclusions about whether temperature anomalies are evidence of global warming, and defend their conclusions.

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How do greenhouse gases affect heat absorption?

Students build a model and simulate a portion of the greenhouse system using carbon dioxide, learning about the components of the greenhouse effect and the effect of carbon dioxide on the absorption of heat in the atmosphere.

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Snowmaking: Great Lakes Style

Students living near the Great Lakes often feel the chill of lake-effect snowstorms. Students who have been introduced to weather basics can become familiar with the lakes’ effect on winter storms through this mapping exercise. This activity involving map interpretation skills compliments a weather and climate unit.

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How do the Great Lakes modify the growing season?

Using agricultural product and frost maps and an infrared satellite image, students develop a hypothesis about the effect of the lakes on growing seasons and then create a model to test the hypothesis.

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What happens to heat energy reaching the Great Lakes?

Even as far back as the “log cabin days,” people knew that water absorbs a great deal of heat energy and can in turn release this heat. Pioneers would prevent foods from freezing on cold nights by placing a large container of water in the room. Can you think of why this might work? Conduct an investigation to explore how bodies of water can affect the surrounding areas. Learn how soil and water differ in their ability to absorb and release heat energy and how this difference in heat absorbed or released affects the atmosphere immediately above the land and immediately above the water.

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How is coastal temperature influenced by the Great Lakes and the ocean?

The ocean is a major influence on weather and climate. Use a combination of laboratory investigation, map study, and graphing to learn how large bodies of water can serve as a heat source or sink at different times and how proximity to water moderates climate along the coast.

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What is the Great Lakes Triangle?

Former aviator Jay Gourley has written a book called The Great Lakes Triangle (1977), which claims that the Great Lakes account for more unexplained disappearances per unit area than the Bermuda Triangle. This is no small comparison, considering that the Bermuda Triangle is 16 times larger than the Great Lakes area.
When you have completed this activity you will be able to:
  • Demonstrate an ability to perceive patterns in a set of data.
  • Explain how scientific habits of mind should include the seeking of logical explanations for “mysterious” happenings.

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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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Trees on the Move

This activity set helps students examine the climate niches of the sugar maple Acer saccharum and the Ohio buckeye Aesculus glabra, and see how some global climate models predict those niches are likely to change. We will observe examples of how plants migrate, and predict some possible impacts on the North American economy and culture as maple and buckeye ranges shift. Finally, examination of research on tree seed germination offers insight on one way temperature affects trees.

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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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