Activity: Heat Source and Sink
Summary: Students investigate the Great Lakes as a heat source and a heat sink.
- 50 minutes
- Map of the Great Lakes region
As a whole class, discuss the Great Lakes as a heat source and a heat sink.
Develop a hypothesis to investigate, for example:
- During the summer, coastal temperatures are typically lower than inland temperatures.
- During the winter, coastal temperatures are typically higher than inland temperatures.
In small groups, students investigate July and January temperatures. The activity is optimal when there are 10 groups of 2 to 4 students.
- Groups graph coastal and inland temperatures. Locate cities using Great Lakes map or use the Great Lakes Station viewer on the Great Lakes Observing System (GLOS) website.
- Go to glos.org and select Observations Explorer and then search by station code.
- Each group graphs coastal and inland temperatures at their location and completes a data sheet.
- Five groups graph January temperatures and five groups graph July temperatures.
As a whole class, groups report their findings and discuss graphs.
- Are hypotheses supported?
- During which season is the difference between coastal and inland temperatures greatest? Least?
- In which region is the difference between coastal and inland temperatures greatest? Least?
- Is the hypothesis correct in all seasons and in all regions?
- Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the data. For example — the data set includes only 2008 temperature data. Analysis could be improved by including data from additional years.