The activities below are a great way to get your kids up and out of their desks while continuing to teach them the critical environmental information. We have compiled these activities after careful trial and can offer staff to come into your classroom to help present many of them. Please check back periodically as we will highlight a complete lesson plan each month. if you would like a copy of any of the lesson plans listed please contact Denise Blanchette.
- Aquatic Food Web An introduction to the basic food web of a Maine lake. After learning about algae, zooplankton, and fish students act out the predator prey relationships with different numbers of predatory fish simulating current research in Maine called Bio manipulation to reduce the incidence of algal blooms.
- Bucket Brigade Students learn about daily water consumption and use in this fun water relay.
- What Critters Tell Us About Water Quality Students study macroinvertebrates to test/monitor water quality.
- Design a Plankton After observing the various shapes and adaptations of plankton, students create a plankton from the recycle bin items. They present their organism to the class and demonstrate how it floats in water.
- Droplets & Downpours Using wet tennis balls to represent raindrops, students explore concepts of erosion and runoff in three areas - a dirt road, a lawn, and a buffer. To wrap up the lesson, students test their knowledge in a sand castle competition by building a castle that withstands a downpour of rain.
- Lake Ice Out Essay and Activities This lesson is exploring the transition of ice out in our Maine Lakes. There are a variety of activities and essay questions exploring climate change and how weather influences our Maine lakes. Grades 4-8.
- Invasive Aquatic Plant Identification Students explore differences among aquatic plants commonly found in lakes and ponds near their communities. They can compare these native aquatic plants to invasive aquatic plants that originate from different parts of the world.
- 3D Model of Lake Benthos Using a topographical map of a local lake, students create their own 3-dimensional model of the lake.
- Musical Milfoil Lesson Explore the effects of Variable and Eurasian Milfoil on Maine lakes and rivers with a game based on musical chairs. A pdf of Musical Milfoil game cards can be requested.
- Tee shirt Printing Imprint t-shirts with native plants, bugs, and fish and the message "Plant a buffer" to promote the importance of vegetative buffers or "Clean your Boat" to encourage people to take potentially invasive plants off of their boats.
- The Watershed Model A great supplement to a water-based curriculum, the watershed model is a plastic model that can be used to discuss topics such as watersheds, nonpoint source pollution, vegetated buffers and land use. (Please call DEP for availability).
- Who Lives Here? Aquatic wildlife identification activity.
- You Be the Judge The classroom turns into courtroom as students role-play to discuss water quality and the effects of nonpoint source pollution.
If you are interested in any of these curricula, please call or email Denise Blanchette at 215-5040. Before calling, be aware of your specific goals, objectives and available resources.
Featured Lesson Plan - Seasonal Magic
Swimming, boating, and fishing attract people from all over the northeast to Maine lakes during the summer. In winter too, Maine lakes offer skating, snowmobiling, and ice fishing until late winter when the ice starts to melt. In olden days, people used lakes instead of roads and often floated logs to mills when there was no ice.
The day in the Spring when all the ice has disappeared is called “ice-out”. The people who used lakes for work started keeping track of "ice-out" as early as the 1880s.
Today, scientists continue to record the date of "ice-out" using Julian days. Instead of using months they just number the days starting with January 1 as day one. February 1 would be day 32 and March 1 would be… well that depends if it is a leap year. The U.S. Geologic Survey (USGS) has compiled ice out dates for 29 lakes in New England in a report available on the web. Follow the link above to use the "Seasonal Magic" lesson to guide your students in tracking ice-out here in Maine.