Curriculum Filter Results

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?

Objectives:

  • Identify the evidence of ancient beach ridges.
  • Become aware of the uses of ancient beach ridges today.

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Visualizing Climate Changes in the Great Lakes

In this activity, students examine information about how climate change will likely impact the Great Lakes of North America and assume that they are in a part of the region experiencing a water level decline of over two meters! They listen to [or read] a story in which they imagine that they have spent a lifetime visiting the Great Lakes. With their “memories” and their science information, they describe the changes they have noticed in the Lakes during their lifetime.

Objectives:

After completing this activity, students will be able to:
  • List and explain many potential impacts of climate change
  • Discuss various interpretations of the possible impacts of climate change

Alignment

National Framework for K-12 Science Education:
CC2: Cause and effect: Mechanism and explanation
Core Idea ESS2: Earth’s systems
Core Idea ESS3: Earth and human activity

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Hurricane Bingo

Hurricane Bingo is a great game for grades 6 and up. Students will learn hurricane terms in a fun, fast atmosphere. The game can be played independently or in groups.

National Standards:

Grade Level 5-12

  • Science Content Standards 5-8:
    • Physical Science: Content Standard B; Motion and forces, Transfer of energy
    • Earth and Space Science: Content Standard D: Structure of the Earth System, Earth in the Solar System
    • Science in Personal and Social Perspectives: Content Standard F; Natural Hazards
  • Science Content Standards 9-12:
    • Science as Inquiry: Content Standard A; Understandings about scientific inquiry
    • Earth and Space Science: Content Standard D; Energy in the earth system
    • Science in Personal and Social Perspectives: Content Standard F: Natural and human hazards, Science and technology in local and global challenges
    • History and Nature of Science: Content Standard G: Science as a human endeavor, Nature of scientific knowledge

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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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Lake Effect Snow

The Great Lakes create unique weather patterns. One of those weather patterns is lake effect snow. Lake effect snowstorms occur in only three places in the world: the Great Lakes, the east shore of Hudson Bay and along the west coasts of the Japanese islands of Honshu and Hokkaido. While people in the snow belt regions have learned to adapt, living near the lakes and experiencing lake effect snow still affects the economy and culture in significant ways. For example, winter sports like skiing and snowmobiling are major industries in some snow areas. This lesson explores how the Great Lakes influence lake effect snow, other factors that contribute to it and ways of reading weather conditions to forecast lake effect storms.

Objectives:

  • Describe the factors that create lake effect snow.
  • Describe how differences in lake and air temperature relate to lake effect snow.
  • Describe weather conditions associated with the movement of frontal boundaries across the Great Lakes region.
  • Describe how hills and highlands help form clouds and precipitation.
  • Describe how cities and industrial areas are related to lake effect snow.

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Exploring Watersheds

This lesson and activity focus on watersheds and how they operate. A watershed is an area of land that drains into a river system. As the water moves downward, it forms streams and rivers. The channeling and pooling of water is determined by the shape or topography of the land. Water continues to move downward, and rivers may join with lakes or other rivers as they head toward the ocean.

Objectives:

  • Describe the characteristics of a watershed and explain how water flows through a watershed.
  • Demonstrate scientific concepts using a model.
  • Share ideas about science through purposeful conversation in collaborative groups.
  • Evaluate data, claims and personal knowledge through collaborative science discourse.
  • Communicate and defend findings of observations using evidence.

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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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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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