Teaching Great Lakes Science

Welcome to Great Lakes Lessons — your source for science, technology, engineering and math! This website features a suite of lessons, activities and data sets focused on the Great Lakes. Any of these resources may be easily incorporated into formal and informal educational settings. All the lessons, activities, teacher tools and data sets are free and targeted for 4-12th grades.

Throughout the site, content is organized to allow you to work through a complete module or mix and match components based on your needs. Browse by type or resource, broad-concept topic (e.g., earth science), or by specific topic. Grade levels are highlighted after the title of each lesson. The Teacher Tools Section includes an overview of teaching methods, focusing on guided inquiry.

The Teaching Great Lakes Science User Guide will help you understand and navigate the resources contained within this website.

Three Main Components

Lessons and Activities

Fully developed and ready-to-use STEM lessons and activities make it easier to teach not just Great Lakes science, but also broader concepts like earth and life sciences. The lessons include:

  • Clearly identified learning objectives.
  • Background information on expansive concepts like water density and specific information on Great Lakes science such as seasonal turnover.
  • Complete hands-on learning activities to carry out in the classroom or outside.

Data Sets

We know that when students use real data, they show an increased interest, are more engaged in learning and develop better math and science skills. The data sets found here have been optimized for use in the classroom. Information about the technology used to collect is incorporated into the data sets, which include data:

  • Collected from buoys, satellites and other monitoring devices;
  • Customized for use in the classroom with fewer data and decimal points; and
  • Compiled into a usable spreadsheet format with user guides and background information.

Guided Inquiry

This suite of lessons and data sets also includes guided inquiry methods to assist educators in targeting higher-level thinking and science process skills in their students. The resources found here provide a step-by-step explanation of guided inquiry and the tools needed to implement these methods in a classroom.


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