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
How Can Disappearances Within the Triangle Be Explained?
Investigating multiple hypotheses, students discuss the values of using several data types and sources to solve a science problem, demonstrate how bathymetric charts are used and constructed, demonstrate how weather information is mapped and interpreted, and explain how scientists use multiple working hypotheses to solve complex problems.
Your class should first study the locations of missing craft and personnel in the activity titled, “What is the Great Lakes Triangle?” Like scientists, you should examine the data for trends and indicators; in this case you examine concentrations of the disappearances and speculate on their causes. The present investigation is actually three activities that are to be performed by different classroom groups simultaneously through cooperative learning. If time permits, all three activities could be done by the entire class.
The activities treat the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald as example of a Great Lakes Triangle tragedy. When all three topics have been considered, there will be a discussion to consider whether the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald was an accident resulting from natural causes or whether other supernatural or extraterrestrial forces might be at work (as proposed in Berlitz’ The Bermuda Triangle).
- Discuss the values of using several data types and sources to solve a science problem.
- Demonstrate how bathymetric charts are used and constructed.
- Demonstrate how weather information is mapped and interpreted.
- Give an example of how scientists use multiple working hypotheses to solve complex problems.
Estuary Values and Changes
Activity A: What is the ecological role of an estuary?
In this investigation, students use various sets of data to examine some of the characteristics of the estuary at Old Woman Creek,near Huron, Ohio. Students learn about the methods used by ecologists to sample populations of plant and animal life in aquatic ecosystems, the living communities that are found in different depths of water in an estuary, and how plant communities are important to animal life in an estuary.
Activity B: How do estuaries impact nutrients entering a lake?
Students analyze a map and data to learn how estuaries affect nutrient levels as water enters a lake.
They make predictions about how the effects of climate change might affect an estuary’s ability to improve water quality and function properly.
External Curriculum Materials
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.
How Fast Can a Shoreline Change?
Ohio’s Lake Erie shoreline consists of wetlands, low bluffs, and gently sloping shore in the western one-third of the state and glacial till and soft shale bluffs in the eastern two-thirds of the state. The rate of shore erosion is affected by the kind of land and rock materials and the use of protective structures. Use map reading skills to recognize some shoreline features on aerial photos, observe changes in a shoreline over time, and observe the effects of shoreline devices on rates of erosion.
What evidence of glaciation exists in the Great Lakes region?
The Great Lakes Basin was once covered by the ice of continental glaciers. About 15,000 years ago the last ice melted to expose the lake basin. There have been minor advances and retreats of glaciers since then causing the level of the water in the lakes to rise and fall. How do scientists determine these past lake levels? Use mapping skills to identify the evidence of ancient beach ridges and become aware of the uses of ancient beach ridges today.
How Did Rocks and Rivers Shape the Great Lakes?
The rocks in the Great Lakes Basin are of two main types: metamorphic/igneous and sedimentary. The metamorphic/igneous rocks formed long ago, when molten rock hardened and the heat changed other rocks nearby without melting them. This happened over one billion years ago. The sedimentary rocks in the Great Lakes Basin formed in an ocean that covered most of the basin beginning about 600 million years ago. Use maps skills to relate the hardness of rocks to topography and lake depth, describe the topography of the Great Lakes area, and relate the pre-glacial drainage system to the present size and position of the Great Lakes.
After completing this activity, each student will be able to:
- Relate the hardness of rocks to topography and lake depth.
- Describe the topography of the Great Lakes area.
- Relate the pre-glacial drainage system to the present size and position of the Great Lakes.
What causes the shoreline to erode?
Shorelines along the Great Lakes vary in the nature of their sediments and resistance to erosion. Natural causes of erosion include waves, currents, and effects of wind and storms on shoreline processes. Simulate the processes of shoreline erosion to investigate the ongoing changes in coastal areas.
How Does Stratification Affect Water Quality?
Some lakes have water quality problems related to the layering of the lake’s waters, which occurs in the summer months. During the summer, the warm surface layer of water does not mix with the colder bottom layer of water. If a lot of algae has grown in the lake, decay of the dead algae on the lake bottom may use up all of the oxygen in the cold bottom water layer. In the fall, the surface water cools and mixes with the bottom water, resupplying the bottom water with oxygen needed for life. Learn how stratification of lake waters influences water quality and phosphorus affects oxygen levels in lakes.
When you complete the activity you will be able to:
- Describe how stratification of lake waters influences water quality.
- Explain how phosphorus affects oxygen levels in lakes.
How Well Do You Know the Great Lakes?
Many people, including a large portion of those who live close to the Great Lakes, do not a have a basic understanding of the individual characteristics of and the differences between the lakes. Since it is difficult to understand many of the Great Lakes issues, such as global climate change, pollution, and water use without a basic understanding of the lakes, this activity is designed to help visualize the differences in volume, shoreline length, human population distribution, and fish populations of the Great Lakes.
After completing this activity, students will be able to:
- Compare and contrast the differences between the Great Lakes in water volumes, length of shoreline, human population distribution, and the amount of fish harvested from each lake.