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
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.
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.
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.
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.
- describe how soil and water differ in their ability to absorb and release heat energy and
- describe how this difference in heat absorbed or released affects the atmosphere immediately above the land and the water
Can You Say ‘Seiche?’
An Erie Times-News Newspapers in Education article on seiches in the Great Lakes
How Does Water Move in the Great Lakes Basin?
You are familiar with the water cycle. The sun heats the surface of the earth, water evaporates, water vapor rises in the atmosphere cools and condenses, precipitation falls and then water flows in the streams, rivers, lakes and oceans. In this activity you will find out how water moves in the Great Lakes system.
When you complete this activity you will be able to:
- Locate and identify the Great Lakes on a map.
- Identify the connecting waters.
- Define water basin.
- Begin an analysis of the flow of water.
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.
External Curriculum Materials