Glencoe World Geography, 2005
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Chapter 5: The Physical Geography of the United States and Canada
"The Great Lakes"

Students have read about similarities and differences in the physical geography of Canada and the United States. In this lesson they will learn more about one of the most significant geographic features the two countries share—the Great Lakes. Students will explore the importance of the Great Lakes to both countries, how the Great Lakes were formed, and how the lakes compare in size and volume to one another. They will also learn about the physical features of the Great Lakes' shorelines.

Lesson Description
Students will use information from the Great Lakes Information Network's TEACH Great Lakes education and curriculum site to study the lakes' locations, along with statistical and physical differences among the lakes. They will answer four questions and then use what they have learned to create an informational brochure.

Instructional Objectives

  1. Students will be able to compare and contrast the physical geography of the Great Lakes.
  2. Students will be able to conduct research to plan a trip using Internet resources.

Applied Content Standards
Standard 7: The geographically informed person knows and understands the physical processes that shape the patterns of Earth's surface.

Student Web Activity Answers

  1. Lake Huron has the longest shoreline, counting the shorelines of its 30,000 islands.
  2. Lake Michigan
  3. The Great Lakes' beaches are formed when the waves move sand from the lake bottom and deposit it on the shore. Sand dunes were once sand bars created at the openings of rivers when the lakes' water levels were much higher. The water levels dropped, leaving the sand bars. Winds then sculpted the sand bars into dunes. Wetlands are the result of glacial activity, erosion and deposit of sediment, floods, and winds. A sand dune becomes a forest because one plant community replaces another over time. Grasses catch blowing sand and help form the dune. Shrubs then overtake the grasses and stabilize the dune so that trees can take root. Eventually, trees take over, and the dune becomes a forest.
  4. Evidence of North America's primitive past is found on the island chain of Isle Royale, located in the northwestern section of Lake Superior. Here one can see giant columns formed by volcanic activity, beaches of reddish sedimentary rocks deposited during a pause in the retreat of the last glacier, and rocky bluffs formed by glaciers.
  5. Students' travel itineraries will vary.

Go To Student Web Activity


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Glencoe World Geography, 2005
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