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Activities and Resources:
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Background: In the northern part of the United States and much of Illinois, the landscape was greatly affected by ice. Many of the most prominent geological features, including the Great Lakes themselves, formed as a result of streams of ice called glaciers that once covered the landscape.
Objectives: To show how the abrasive action of a glacier can change the surfaces over which it flows and to show how the melting of a glacier can result in deposition of sediment.
Land Survey Activity (Mapping)
Purpose: To learn/refine measuring skills, note taking, and to recognize their importance in creating a useful map.
Age Group: This activity may be adapted for a wide age range. Younger children may be assigned smaller spaces to survey, with fewer objects and less exacting measurements. Older students may survey areas that are larger and include a greater diversity of objects.
Converting Measurements - Links and Chains (Math and History)
Purpose: This is a simple exercise to incorporate into other mathematical exercises, or to be used along with a discussion of land surveys, and their importance in describing original vegetation.
Prairie: Dynamic Ecosystem (Interdisciplinary)
Purpose: To encourage students to consider relationships between different components of prairie ecosystems, and to understand how changes, natural, or anthropogenic (human caused) affect the individual organisms or populations of organisms in the system. This acitivity can also form the basis for a writing exercise.
Pollen Analysis Activity (Ecology)
Investigative Question: How do Palynologists use ancient pollen to reconstruct ancient plant communities, and what do these communities tell them about past climates in Illinois?
Overview: Students analyze sediment samples combined with material that represents pollen grains. They determine the type and amount of the pollen in the samples. From this information, they identify the age of the samples and the vegetation prevalent at that time. They also draw conclusions about the climate based on their pollen data.
Objective: Students analyze sediment samples and hypothesize about past vegetation and climates in Illinois.
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