Curriculum Filter Results

Water Hyacinth Jeopardy

When learners have completed this activity, they should be able to discuss basic information about the water hyacinth. This information will include the origin, distribution, movement, consequences and solutions dealing with the water hyacinth

Geographic Standards:
Standard 14. How human actions modify the physical environment
Standard 15. How physical systems affect human systems
Standard 16. The changes that occur in the meaning, use, distribution, and importance of resources

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Invasive Species

Many non-native species live in the Great Lakes, and some of them are considered invasive. These species have established populations, multiplied rapidly and caused profound and lasting impacts on the Great Lakes ecosystem. Others (such as Asian carp) have caused serious ecological problems in other parts of the country and threaten to enter the Great Lakes. This lesson explores how invasive species have impacted the Great Lakes and how people can help prevent the spread of these unwanted species.

Objectives:

  • Name and visually recognize the primary aquatic invasive species of the Great Lakes.
  • Understand and analyze the negative impacts that invasive species have on the Great Lakes ecosystem.
  • Explain the ways in which non-native species are introduced into the Great Lakes.

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Habitat Restoration

The Detroit River and the St. Clair River do more than just connect the upper Great Lakes to the lower Great Lakes. While most people know the Detroit River and St. Clair River — referred to collectively as the Huron-Erie Corridor — as major commercial waterways used to support shipping and fishing. But this 32-mile connecting channel has another distinction: until the late 1800s, the corridor was an important spawning ground for lake sturgeon. Its fast-moving waters attracted thousands of the large, primitive fish every spring.

In the following decades, the number of lake sturgeon plummeted due to pollution, over-harvesting and loss of spawning habitat. The current population of lake sturgeon in Michigan is estimated to be about 1 percent of its former abundance. Organizations like Michigan Sea Grant and the U.S. Geological Survey are working to restore lake sturgeon and other native fish habitat in the waters of the Detroit River.

Objectives:

  • Describe the basic needs of fish.
  • Describe how humans have changed fish habitat in the Huron-Erie corridor.
  • Describe the ecosystem factors in the Huron-Erie corridor that can influence fish populations.
  • Design sturgeon habitat in the Huron-Erie corridor.

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Oxygen in the Water

Oxygen is the key to life — most organisms cannot survive without it, even those under water. Seasonal weather patterns and the physical properties of water can affect temperature and dissolved oxygen levels throughout the water column. Why is this important? Because the seasonal weather patterns and cycles are directly related to how much life an aquatic environment can support.

For example, during the summer, bottom water (hypolimnion) can be cut off from new supplies of dissolved oxygen from the air until fall. Therefore, the size of the hypolimnion affects the ecology of a lake. By examining and graphing water temperatures and the amount of dissolved oxygen in a water column, students will be able to make a connection between the life a lake can support to the amount of oxygen found in stratified layers of water.

Objectives:

  • Describe how properties of water are related to productivity in a lake.
  • Describe how dissolved oxygen and temperature levels can influence populations of organisms.
  • Graph dissolved oxygen levels and graph water temperatures.
  • Analyze water temperature versus depth graphs to answer questions.
  • Analyze dissolved oxygen versus depth graphs to answer questions.

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Fish Habitat and Humans

A healthy environment supports a variety of native species. This is especially true for Great Lakes fish. Different species of fish require specific habitats, and loss or alteration of fish habitat can lead to population declines. This lesson explains some of the characteristics of healthy fish habitat and guides students in making their own field observations and scientific predictions. It will require 3 50 minute class periods.

Objectives:

  • Name three basic requirements for fish survival.
  • Name several Great Lakes fish species and their habitats.
  • Explain two ways human activities impact Great Lakes fish habitat and affect the survival of fish and other organisms.
  • Use observations to predict which Great Lakes fish might favor particular habitat.
  • Make purposeful observations of a nearby aquatic area using illustrations, photographs and narratives (See: Activity).

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Environmental Decision Making

Every day we make choices. We decide simple things like what to wear, what to eat, or how much time to allow for homework. Some decisions, however, require us to think critically and consider the potential consequences of our actions. When it comes to making environmental decisions there is often no clear right or wrong. However, many factors must be considered, especially since the environment is held in the public trust. When making environmental decisions, it often means the decision you are making doesn’t just affect you — and it can have very long-lasting effects.

Objectives:

  • Discuss land use practices that affect Great Lakes wetlands.
  • Make decisions and recognize personal priorities with regard to wetlands.
  • Describe some of the economic factors that often drive land use decisions.

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