Great Minds, Great Lakes
- The Journey of the Lake Guardian
- The Lake Guardian Explores Lake Superior
- Investigating Lake Huron
- The Journey Continues on Lake Michigan
- The Lake Guardian Travels the Length of Lake Erie
- The End of the Journey, Lake Ontario
- Materials: 30-foot piece of string or clothesline and at least six clothespins.
- Procedures : Have two persons hold up the string as a time line across the front of the classroom. Either have the persons write down the names and characteristics of each era, or have the persons draw a picture of the activities that occurred. Clip persons' work to the appropriate time period on the string. (Use the timeline diagram for reference).
- Options: Research animals that lived during the time periods and cut out animal tracks of each type of animal, including human beings (they can trace their own feet). Lay the timeline on the floor and lay the tracks down next to it so the footprints walk through time at the appropriate eras. As the Ice Age and recent history time periods converge, students will be able to visualize how plants, animals, and human beings are recent history relative to the evolution of the Earth.
- Using boxes, create "scenes" from different periods of the Great Lakes' geologic history, showing formations and animals unique to each phase of their development.
Great Lakes People
- Research the Native American and European people who first settled in the Great Lakes Region. Locate early settlements on the map.
- As a class, research and dress up as early explorers of the Great Lakes region and describe their experiences. Have the students write a make-believe journal entry of an explorer's adventure.
- Research the history of your town. Write to a local historical group or invite a longtime resident to share his or her memories of the town's history with the class.
- Research a Great Lakes shipwreck and tell the story to the class.
- Contact a maritime museum in your state and ask what underwater archeology is currently being done in the Great Lake nearest you.
Christmas Tree Shipwreck
- Trace the route of the Rouse Simmons on the Great Lakes map.
- Write a diary entry that Claud Winters might have written after one of the evenings he spent at the dock waiting for the Rouse Simmons to arrive, or have them write a message one of the crew of the Rouse Simmons might have written and put into a bottle in hopes that it would eventually reach his family.
Assuming that the Rouse Simmons
had made it safely to Chicago, use the information below to
make up math problems appropriate to the level of our class:
- Number of trees loaded onto the ship: 1,000
- Number of trees washed overboard in the storm: 300
- Price Captain Schunemann paid for the trees: $.25/each
- Price of trees when sold in Chicago: $.75/each
For older students, discuss gross and net profits, taking into consideration that cost of shipping the trees and the cost of the lost trees.
Where Would We Be Without the Great Lakes
- On a map, fill in the major cities mentioned and trace the channels between Lakes which allow ships to travel between Lakes. Draw in symbols or figures representing different types of industries located around the Lakes.
- Have each student draw a picture of his or her favorite Great Lakes recreational activity. Make a collage of all the pictures.
Who Governs the Great Lakes
- On a map of the Great Lakes identify and color in the United States, Canada, the Great Lakes, and states and provinces that border the Great Lakes. Using a different color, trace the United States and Canadian border. Have the students ever crossed any borders? Could they tell they were entering another country?
- Conflict Resolution: Divide the class into groups representing each state and province. Have each group make a plan for protecting the Great Lakes. All state groups should meet to share their ideas and develop one overall plan for the United States. Do the same with the Canadian provinces. Finally, one representative is chosen from each country to work out an international agreement for protecting the Great Lakes. The agreement has to be acceptable to both countries. If there are disagreements, ask the students to explore creative ways of solving conflicts. This activity is easily adapted to different grade levels. For lower grades, students could explore plans for keeping the school yard clean. Higher grade levels could expand the students roles to represent various interests and industries affected by such agreements.
- To illustrate how acid rain occurs, draw a picture of industry emissions entering the sky and coming back down as rain. The h hydrological cycle graphic on page 15 may be useful.
Seeing Air Pollution
- Materials: Cardboard, scissors, clear sticky tape or Vaseline, string, magnifying glass.
- Procedures: Cut out strips of cardboard about 10 inches long and two inches wide, cut a number of holes in the strips, and tape across the holes with the sticky tape (Vaseline on the cardboard strip will also work). Tie a piece of string to one end of each strip, and hang outdoors and in the classroom for one week. Collect the strips and examine tape under a magnifying glass. Where do they think the dirt on the tape comes from? Which strips showed more dirt and why?
The Effects of Acid
- Materials: Two copper pennies, tow nonmetal disposable cups, marker pen, lemon juice or lemons, tap water.
- Procedures: Place one penny in each cup. Mark the cups A and B. Squeeze lemon juice over one of the pennies so that it is well covered. Add the same amount of water to the other cup (warning: liquid could be harmful if swallowed). Hypothesize what may occur if you set aside the cups for a few days. After 4-5 days, check your hypotheses. The liquid in cup A will be bluish green in color, the water in cup B remains clear. Discuss results. What do the students think made the lemon juice change color? What happens when they get lemon juice on a cut? What acids are safe to drink? What acids are not?
The Incredible Terrific
- Materials: Paper, pencils, markers, or crayons, construction paper or magazines which can be cut up, scissors, glue.
- Procedures: Brainstorm what a machine to clean air pollution would look like and how it would operate. Allow the students to express their ideas freely. Divide the class into groups and have them use the materials to create a machine of their own. When each group has combined all their ideas to make one Incredible Terrific Cleanup Machine. Relate this to the idea of two countries combining their resources to clean up pollution in the Great Lakes.
Journey of the Lake Guardian
- On a bulletin board, display a large map of the Great Lakes, or make a copy of the Great Lakes map. As a class or individually, have the students trace the pathway of Lake Guardian as it travels through the Great Lakes as each part of the story is explored. As Lake Guardian arrives at each Lake, have the students fill in the name of the Lake, the names of the bordering states and provinces, the names of towns and cities mentioned in the story, and any places familiar to the students.
- On a bulletin board or large piece of paper taped on the wall, draw a picture of a cross-section of a lake and surrounding shoreline similar to the Pollution Pathways Map on page 13 but without the figures and arrows. As the story progresses, students will discover pathways in which pollution enters the Great Lakes. Have the students draw in figures and arrows representing pathways of pollution learned from each story segment. By the final story segment, student will have learned about the many activities occurring around the Great Lakes that cause pollution problems, and will be able to see these pathways represented in their illustration.
- Using a string on the school play yard, measure the size of the research vessel. Are the ships they have seen bigger or smaller that the new research vessel?
Fun Without Pollution
- Have the students create a "Fun without Pollution" booklet for their family or school's next outing. As a class or individually, have the students decide on pollution prevention rules for their family or school to follow during recreational activities. Include topics such as using garbage cans and preventing fires. On each page write out the rules with drawings illustrating the rules. Magazines can be used for cutouts, and younger children can illustrate their ideas rather than writing them out. Staple or tie the pages together to make a booklet.
Biomagnification and the Food chain
- Materials: Depending on the size of the class, make the equivalent of sic circles per student out of blue paper, marking 1/3 of them on one side with an "X".
- Procedures: This activity can be acted out or if desired, conducted as a discussion through diagrams on the board. Identify on student as the herring gull who likes to eat fish and have him or her stand at one end of the classroom. Divide the remaining students into increasingly larger groups representing the links of the food chain: Large lake trout, smaller rainbow smelt, zooplankton, and microscopic phytoplankton. The majority of students should be phytoplankton. Place the blue disks on the floor with those marked with an "X" face down. The blue disks represent water which phytoplankton take in to obtain nutrients to live. Those disks marked with an "X" contain pollution which has entered the water through the air. Have the phytoplankton "Feed" by having them pick up the disks. Once all the disks are gone, have the phytoplankton reveal who has consumed pollution. Have the zooplankton "feed" on phytoplankton by dividing the phytoplankton up evenly among the zooplankton. Repeat these steps with rainbow smelt and lake trout. When it comes to the herring gull eating his or her dinner, how much pollution has accumulated through the food chain.
- Materials: A clear bottle with a top, water, oil, food coloring.
- Procedures: Put quantities of water and oil in the bottle and close it. Use motor oil or vegetable oil with a drop of food coloring added if you prefer. The separation of oil and water should be easily observed. Shake the bottle to try to get the oil and water to mix and then let it sit and see what happens. Relate the oil in the experiment to urban surface runoff discussed in the story. Talk about what this oil would do to animals, and what effects it may have on plants or creatures living below the surface of the oil, which blocks sunlight.
- Materials: Large flat plastic planting tray; gravel; sand; water pitcher; cooking oil; food coloring; pancake syrup; onion slices; and liquid soap.
- Procedures: Ahead of time, cover a corner of the tray with a layer of gravel. Place drops of food coloring, onion slices, and a few tablespoons of pancake syrup, cooking oil, and liquid soap on top of the gravel. Cover these materials with a thick layer of sand. In front of the students, pour water into the mound of sand, gravel, and other materials, and let water run into empty portion of the tray. Collect water and have students determine what materials are present in the water; how they entered the water; and what substance moved these materials from the soil to the water. Relate this activity to how agricultural and urban litter and pollution on and in the ground can contaminate ground water and ultimately affect the quality of the Great Lakes.
- Draw and discuss the life cycle of the mayfly on the board. Have the students conduct research of other aquatic insects and report to the class why they think they are important.
- Plan a field trip to nearby streams or creeks to conduct water quality monitoring activities including mayfly counting and trash collection. Discuss topics such as the difference between ground water and surface water.
- To highlight the importance of monitoring our environment, have the students monitor and chart your school or their family's generation of waste. Have a custodian of the school give the class a tour of how all the different kinds of waste are handled at the school, such as waste paper and cafeteria garbage. Does the school recycle? Choose "monitors" from the class and for tow weeks, have a monitor visit the custodial office each day and report back to the class on how much waste was generated each day. Keep track of the reports and have the students discuss ways the school or their families can minimize waste.
- Materials: Deep plastic container (rectangular--at least 12" x 12" x 4" deep), fine sand, coarse sand, tiny colored plastic beads, plastic spoon.
- Procedures: Ahead of time, put a one-inch layer of fine sand into the plastic container. Provide every group of students with a container. Mix the beads with the sand, representing pollutants. Cover with water until the water level rises one inch above eh sand layer. Allow this to sit until the water is clear. Carefully drag the end of a pencil once across the top of the fine sand. This represents how the sediment might be stirred up by organisms living on or near the bottom, or by wave action from storms or boats. Use the plastic spoon, scoop up some of the sand off the bottom of the container. This is similar to the dredging of sediment. What happened to the sediment and the colored plastic bead "pollutants"