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Limnology Virtual Field Trip



Full course description

Limnology is the study of the biological, chemical, and physical characteristics of lakes and other bodies of freshwater. Limnologists study how living and nonliving factors function and interact within these inland waters. They use a variety of methods and tools to collect data which give them insight into lake conditions, processes, and water quality. We have created this virtual field trip for teachers of grades 5-12 to explore an intricate lesson plan about limnology. The virtual field trip includes video of our limnologists working on Lake Erie, a jigsaw strategy for increased student engagement, and many additional resources. Teachers are taught exactly how to share this lesson with students including participation in our unique “Chat with a Biologist” program. 

Objectives Upon completion of this activity, students should be able to:

  • identify and explain the functions of equipment used to collect lake data.
  • identify phytoplankton and zooplankton commonly found in Lake Erie.
  • analyze data to draw conclusions and make predictions about lake conditions.
  • explain lake stratification and the factors that help determine when it is happening.
  • explain how and why phytoplankton and zooplankton assist with understanding lake processes.

Grade Levels 6 - 12 Life Science/Environmental Science

Time Required Approximately 2-3 class periods

Alignment Ohio’s Learning Standards and Model Science Curriculum for Science

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

DCI: Life Science

  • LS2.A Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems
  • LS2.C Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning and Resilience      

PI: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics

  • MS-LS2-2
  • MS-LS2-4
  • HS-LS2-2

CC: Patterns; Cause and Effect

  • Graphs, charts, and images can be used to identify patterns in data.
  • Patterns can provide information about natural systems.
  • Relationships can be classified as causal or correlational, and correlation does not necessarily imply causation.

SEP: Planning and Carrying Out Investigations; Analyzing and Interpreting Data

  • MS: (1) Collect data to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence to answer scientific questions.
  • MS: (2) Construct, analyze, and/or interpret graphical displays of data and/or large data sets to identify linear and nonlinear relationships.
  • MS: (3) Use graphical displays of large data sets to identify temporal and spatial relationships. (4) Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for phenomena.

SEP: Planning and Carrying Out Investigations; Analyzing and Interpreting Data

  • HS: (1) Select appropriate tools to collect, record, analyze, and evaluate data.
  • HS: (2) Analyze data using tools, technologies, and/or models (e.g., computational, mathematical) in order to make valid and reliable scientific claims.

Ohio's Learning Standards for Science and the Model Science Curriculum
MS: Life Science - 7.LS.2
HS: Biology - B.DI.3
HS: Environmental Science

  • ENV.ES.1 Biosphere 
  • ENV.ES.4 Hydrosphere 
  • ENV.ER.3 Water and water pollution 

The Great Lakes Literacy Principles
Principle 1: The Great Lakes, bodies of freshwater with many features, are connected to each other and to the world ocean.
Principle 4: Water makes Earth habitable: freshwater sustains life on land.
Principle 5: The Great Lakes support a broad diversity of life and ecosystems.
Principle 7: Much remains to be learned about the Great Lakes.
The Stone Laboratory In-Person Field Trip Experience
This module aligns with the Stone Laboratory Science Cruise Field Trip Experience

This module also aligns with the Stone Laboratory Plankton Lab.  

If you have questions about the course, contact Angela Greene at


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