About the Data Sets

Great Lakes Water Data Sets for Teachers

Although many sites provide scientific data, it is often in a form that only a knowledgeable scientist can use. These Data Sets have been customized for use in the classroom with fewer data and decimal points. Original data sets were provided by the NOAA-Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, U.S. Geological Survey and other organizations. Developers have modified the lessons over time to pair them with appropriate data sets, allowing teachers to better address STEM.

How Data Was Collected (Modified and Formatted)

Data was collected by buoys, satellites and other devices as well as people, as part of a regional and global monitoring effort. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) has both historical and real-time data available. However, the format of the data was not ideal for educational purposes.

Students (pre-service teachers) from Eastern Michigan University modified the data sets. These students worked with NOAA-GLERL scientists and outreach specialists to extract and modify the data sets. Data was transferred to spreadsheet format. Subsets were extracted from large data sets to increase accessibility, specifically for K-12 educators and students. For example:

  • Annual averages may be presented, rather than daily/hourly data.
  • Only a handful of sites were selected for the spreadsheets, rather than hundreds.
  • Taxa were combined at genus levels rather than species levels.

Specific methods used to collect the data, calculations provided, and links to the original data are provided in the background accompanying each data set.

To learn more about how the data is collected, see: About Observing Systems

Great Lakes Water Data Sets Project

This project was supported by the Office of Education and Outreach at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (NOAA-GLERL) under award #NA07SEC4690004 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Department of Commerce. The statements, findings, conclusions and recommendations are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of NOAA or the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Physical data was collected and formatted in 2008-2009. Biological data was added in 2009. Sociological data was added in 2010-2011. Education specialists are continuing to refine both the data sets and lessons.

Eastern Michigan University

Under the direction of Professor Sandra Rutherford (principal investigator), pre-service teachers, Ann Marshall, Heather Gee and LaTeesha Stewart from Eastern Michigan University modified the data sets and developed spreadsheets based on the original scientific data. Students worked with NOAA-GLERL scientists and outreach specialists.