Curriculum Filter Results

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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Dangerous Currents: Don’t Get Swept Away

It was the day after Christmas 2010. Dave Benjamin, a Great Lakes surfer, was winter surfing on Lake Michigan with some friends when he got into trouble. The leash to his surfboard failed, and he was out in the water, getting hit by wave after wave and was caught in a current. Water had breached his wetsuit. He was losing energy.

“I have been swimming in Lake Michigan all of my life,” said Benjamin. “All of that experience went out the window when panic set in. I came to a point where I was writing myself off. I came to the resolution that I’m not going home today.”

This lesson explores dangerous currents, including rip currents that commonly occur throughout the Great Lakes.

Objectives:

  • Learn about the different types of dangerous currents and where they occur.
  • Understand who is most at risk.
  • Analyze data about rescues and deaths related to dangerous currents.
  • Explain actions that will help prevent drowning.

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Dangerous Currents 101

You may have heard about the rip tide or undertow before. These are terms that people commonly use to describe dangerous currents. However, since there are no tides in the Great Lakes (needed to form a rip tide) and currents don’t pull a person down under the water (undertow), they are a bit inaccurate. Instead, we call these dangerous currents. Also, most people know that ocean currents can be dangerous, but don’t suspect that there are such strong currents in the Great Lakes.

This lesson explores dangerous currents, including rip currents, that commonly occur throughout the Great Lakes.

Objectives:

  • Learn what a dangerous current is and where they can be found.
  • Understand the influences that contribute to dangerous current development in the Great Lakes.
  • Explain several different types of dangerous currents found in the Great Lakes.

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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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Out One Lake and In Another – How long does it take water to flow through the Great Lakes?

Water that is in a lake does not stay in that lake. Where does the water go? If you think about the water cycle, you will be able to figure out several places that it might go. The length of time that it takes for the amount of water in a lake to be completly replaced (enter the lake) is called retention time. Each of the Great Lakes has a different retention time. Lake Superior’s retention time is much longer than the others: 194 years compared to just 75 years for Lake Huron, for example. Since the water mixes as it pours in and out, over the course of 194 years only half of the water in Lake Superior actually leaves.

Objectives:

When you have completed this activity you will be able to:

  • Construct an appropriate model of the water flow of the Great Lakes.
  • Define the concepts of retention time and replacement time and, describe how they are different.
  • Discuss how Lake Superior affects the dynamics of water flow, retention time and flushing rates for the Great Lakes system and why this is important

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Paddle-to-the-Sea, Google Lit Trip

Google Lit Trips let people experience the journeys in great literature. Paddle-to-the-Sea, a picture book written and illustrated by Holling C. Holling, teaches children and adults alike about the natural and cultural wonders of the Great Lakes. It remains timely seven decades after its initial publication. Follow “Paddle-to-the-Sea”, a carving of a young Indian boy in a canoe, on a journey through all the Great Lakes. This Google Earth application shows the path of Paddle’s journey to the sea.

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Wisconsin’s Great Lakes Shipwrecks

Wisconsin’s shipwrecks and maritime attractions are tangible reminders of how important water has been in shaping the state’s history and culture. Discover more about how underwater archaeologists unearth this lost history and learn about the research that is currently underway.

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