Classroom Activities

Schoolship Classroom Activities

These activities will help you prepare your class to come on the Schoolship, and are great follow-up lessons to complement the shipboard experience.

PDF Files are available below:

Journey to the Sea: Map Great Lakes lake levels and flow to the ocean

Shoe Key: Make a dichotomous key

The Great Plankton Race: Design a slow-sinking “plankton” (engineering lesson!)

Why Do Boats Float: Design a boat that will hold the most cargo (engineering lesson!)

What Do Scientists Know About Invader Species of the Great Lakes: Match invasive species to modes of introduction and ecological impact

Understanding Water in Your Own Region: Audit and evaluate personal water use

Understanding Global Water Distribution: Build a model of water distribution on Earth

Teaching Vocabulary: Learn sailor names for everything on our ship

Sea Shanties: Listen to a traditional sailing song and map the voyage of the ship featured in the shanty

Layers of the Lake: Learn about sediment layers with models

Lake Stratification: Make a model of thermal stratification

Gyotaku fish printing: Create art prints using real fish, and learn fish anatomy

Great Lakes Stewardship Community Involvement: Take action on behalf of the Great Lakes, some ideas

Great Lakes Food Web: Draw a food web diagram and predict effects when species change

Calculating Cloud Cover: Observe the sky then build a model that represents percent cloud cover

Building Your Own Watershed: Make and use landscape models with paper and clay

Acids and Bases: Test the pH of common substances and predict the pH of unknowns

A Watershed View of the Bay: Examine topographic maps to find watershed boundaries and features

Our favorite places for Great Lakes curriculum

Michigan Sea Grant – Teaching Great Lakes Science  This might be the best place on the web for Great Lakes lessons. Click on Explore Lessons and Data Sets to get started.

NOAA – Marine Debris Education Materials If you want to educate about microplastics, or trash in the Great Lakes in general, this is the place to begin. Click Activities and Curriculums for several curriculum guides to marine debris.

Minnaqua – Fishing Get in the Habitat! An elaborate curriculum from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources that includes dozens of fish-related (and water stewardship) activities

Michigan State University – Data Nuggets Graduate student researchers at MSU create classroom lessons using actual data sets. These lessons apply all of the NGSS practices of science, and expose students to real world issues, the complexity of nature, and the messiness of a real dataset. Some of the lessons are aquatic, many are not, all are excellent.

While not specifically focused on the Great Lakes, the NOAA Planet Stewards Education Project provides education and stewardship project support. Their resources and past projects can be applied to the Great Lakes region and will help you get your students and community involved.

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