Lesson Plans for the Thunder Bay 2010: Cutting Edge Technology and the Hunt for Lake Huron’s Lost Ships Expedition

Educators and scientists working with NOAA developed a series of lesson plans for students in Grades 5 -12 that are specifically tied to the science behind the Thunder Bay 2010: Cutting Edge Technology and the Hunt for Lake Huron’s Lost Ships expedition. These lesson plans focus on cutting-edge ocean exploration and research using state-of-the-art technologies.

The lesson plans are grouped into the following categories:

In addition to being tied to the National Science Education Standards and the Ocean Literacy Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts, the hands-on, inquiry-based activities include focus questions, background information for teachers, links to interesting Internet sites, and extensions. Web logs that document the latest discoveries and complement the lesson plans, complete with compelling images and video, will be sent each day, and are posted on the expedition’s Web page. Educators are encouraged to use these daily logs to supplement the lesson plans.

All of the lesson plans are available in a PDF format, and may be viewed and printed with the free Adobe Acrobat Reader. To download a lesson plan, click on its title from the listing below. (Note: if you have problems downloading one of these lessons, right-click on the link and save the lesson to your desktop.)

Grades 5-6

Looking for Clues (PDF, 736 Kb)
Focus: Marine Archaeology
Students draw inferences about a shipwreck given information on the location and characteristics of artifacts from the wreck, and explain at least three types of evidence that could support inferences about the use of maritime technology in ancient cultures.

Where’s the Energy? (PDF, 696 Kb)
Focus: Energy conversions (Physical Science)
Students learn the basic operation of a steam engine and identify and describe the energy conversions involved in the operation of a steam engine.

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Grades 7-8

Shipwreck Mystery (PDF, 1 Mb)
Focus: Marine Archaeology (Earth Science/Physical Science/Social Science)
Students draw inferences about a shipwreck given information on the location and characteristics of artifacts from the wreck; use a grid system to document the location of artifacts recovered from a model shipwreck site; and identify and explain types of evidence and expertise that can help verify the nature and historical content of artifacts recovered from shipwrecks.

Death Ship (PDF, 708 Kb)
Focus: Energy conversions and simple machines (Physical Science)
Students will explain the basic operation of a steam engine, identify and describe the energy conversions involved in the operation of a steam engine, and identify at least three simple machines in a steam engine and explain their functions.

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Grades 9-12

My Wet Robot (PDF, 716 Kb)
Focus: Underwater Robotic Vehicles
Students discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using underwater robots in scientific explorations, identify key design requirements for a robotic vehicle that is capable of carrying out specific exploration tasks, describe practical approaches to meet identified design requirements, and (optionally) construct a robotic vehicle capable of carrying out an assigned task.

Do You Have a Sinking Feeling? (PDF, 1.1Mb)
Focus: Marine Archaeology (Earth Science/Mathematics)
Students plot the position of a vessel given two bearings on appropriate landmarks, draw inferences about a shipwreck given information on the location and characteristics of artifacts from the wreck, and explain how the debris field associated with a shipwreck gives clues about the circumstances of the sinking ship.

Ancient Hunters of the Great Lakes (PDF, 744 Kb)
Focus: Early humans in the Great Lakes region (Anthropology/Earth Science)
Students describe alternative theories for how the first humans came to the Americas and explain the evidence that supports or contradicts these theories, explain how exploration of a submerged portion of the Lake Huron coastline may provide additional insights about early human inhabitants of the Great Lakes region, and describe the role of skepticism in scientific inquiry.

The Big Blow (PDF, 744 Kb)
Focus: Extreme storms in the Great Lakes
Students identify and explain factors that contribute to extreme storm conditions in the Great Lakes region, describe the weather systems that produced the Great Lakes Storm of 1913, explain why extreme storms in the Great Lakes region often occur in November, and compare and contrast extra-tropical cyclones, tropical cyclones, and hybrid storms.

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Other Relevant Lesson Plans from NOAA's Ocean Exploration Program

Grades 5-6

Wreck Detectives (PDF, 259 Kb)
(from the Aegean and Black Sea 2006 Expedition)
Focus: Marine Archaeology (Physical Science)
In this activity, students create a model of a Bronze Age shipwreck site, use a grid system to document the location of artifacts recovered from a model shipwreck site, use data about the location and types of artifacts recovered from a model shipwreck site to draw inferences about the sunken ship and the people who were aboard, and identify and explain types of evidence and expertise that can help verify the nature and historical context of artifacts recovered from shipwrecks.

Ship of the Line (PDF, 293 Kb)
(from AUVfest 2008)
Focus: Maritime History/Physical Science/Social Science
In this activity, students will be able to describe general characteristics and technologies used in 18th century naval ships; draw inferences about daily life aboard these ships; and explain at least three ways in which simple machines were used on these vessels.

Grades 7-8

I, Robot, Can Do That! (PDF, 315 Kb)
(from the Thunder Bay 2008 Expedition)
Focus: Underwater Robotic Vehicles for Scientific Exploration (Physical Science/Life Science)
In this activity, students will be able to describe and contrast at least three types of underwater robots used for scientific explorations, discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using underwater robots in scientific explorations, and identify robotic vehicles best suited to carry out certain tasks.

Ping! (PDF, 219 Kb)
(from the Aegean and Black Sea 2006 Expedition)
Focus: Side scan Sonar (Earth Science/Physical Science)
In this activity, students will describe side scan sonar, compare and contrast side scan sonar with other methods used to search for underwater objects, and make inferences about the topography of an unknown and invisible landscape based on systematic discontinuous measurements of surface relief.

This Old Ship (PDF, 272 Kb)
(from the PHAEDRA 2006 Expedition)
Focus: Ancient and Prehistoric Shipwrecks
In this activity, students will be able to describe at least three types of artifacts that are typically recovered from ancient shipwrecks, explain the types of information that may be obtained from at least three types of artifacts that are typically recovered from ancient shipwrecks, and compare and contrast, in general terms, technological features of Neolithic, Bronze Age, Hellenistic, and Byzantine period ships.

Paleo-Diving (PDF, 552 Kb)
(from the Exploring the Submerged New World 2009 expedition)
Focus: Underwater Archaeology of Sinkholes (Physical Science/Archaeology)
In this activity, students will be able to explain how sinkholes are formed, why they may be associated with paleoamerican settlements, and how artifacts retrieved from sinkholes may be interpreted.


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Grades 9-12

The Robot Archaeologist (PDF, 518 Kb)
(from AUVfest 2008)
Focus: Marine Archaeology/Marine Navigation (Earth Science/Mathematics)
In this activity, students will design an archaeological survey strategy for an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV); calculate expected position of the AUV based on speed and direction of travel; and calculate course correction required to compensate for the set and drift of currents.

Where Am I? (PDF, 264 Kb)
(from the 2003 Steamship Portland Expedition)
Focus: Marine navigation and position-finding
In this activity students will be able to identify and explain at least seven different techniques that have been used for marine navigation and position finding, explain the purpose of a marine sextant, and use an astrolabe to solve practical trigonometric problems.

By Land or By Sea or Both? (PDF, 1.1 Mb)
(from the Exploring the Submerged New World 2009 Expedition)
Focus: Watercraft in Paleoamerican Migrations
In this activity, students will describe evidence that supports the idea that the initial settlement of North and South America involved watercraft, discuss types of watercraft that might have been involved in new world settlement, and explain at least three advantages and three disadvantages of coastal settlements compared to inland settlements.

The Ridge Exploring Robot (PDF, 1.6 Mb)
(from the INSPIRE: Chile Margin 2010 expedition)
Focus: Autonomous Underwater Vehicles/Marine Navigation
Students will explain a three-phase strategy that uses an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) to locate, map, and photograph previously-undiscovered hydrothermal vents, design a survey program to provide a photo mosaic of a hypothetical hydrothermal vent field, and calculate the expected position of the AUV based on speed and direction of travel.

X-Storms (PDF, 384 Kb)
(from the 2003 Steamship Portland Expedition)
Focus: Extreme Storms (Earth Science)
In this activity, students identify and explain three factors that contributed to extreme storm conditions during the Halloween Nor’easter of 1991, discover how to obtain real-time and historical meteorological data, and compare and contrast extra-tropical cyclones, tropical cyclones, and hybrid storms.

Now Take a Deep Breath (PDF, 548 Kb)
(from the Exploring the Submerged New World 2009 Expedition)
Focus: Physics and physiology of SCUBA diving (Physical Science/Life Science)
In this activity, students will be able to define Henry’s Law, Boyle’s Law, and Dalton’s Law of Partial Pressures, and explain their relevance to SCUBA diving; discuss the causes of air embolism, decompression sickness, nitrogen narcosis, and oxygen toxicity in SCUBA divers; and explain the advantages of gas mixtures such as Nitrox and Trimix and closed-circuit rebreather systems.


 

For More Information

Contact Paula Keener-Chavis, national education coordinator for the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration, for more information.

Other lesson plans developed for this Web site are available in the Education Section.