Electronic Field Trips
The Midwest 16,000 Years Ago
- Grade Level: Upper Elementary
- Subject Area: Science
Students will visit a natural history web site to learn about
life in the midwest 16,000
years ago and draw conclusions about the effects of glaciers on topography.
- Formulate hypotheses about how the topography of the midwest was formed and what
sort of life was around 16,000
- Use graphical representations to gather data
- Test their hypotheses using the data they gather
Materials and Resources
In developing our lessons and activities, we made some
assumptions about the hardware
and software that would be available in the classroom for teachers who visit the
LETSNet Website. We assume that teachers using our Internet-based lessons or
activities have a computer
(PC or Macintosh) with the necessary hardware components (mouse, keyboard, and
monitor) as well as software (operating system, TCP/IP software, networking or
software, e-mail and a World Wide Web client program, preferably Netscape, but
Mosaic or Lynx). In the section below, we specify any "special"
requirements for a lesson or activity (in addition to those described above)
and the level of Internet access required to do the activity.
- Special hardware requirements: At least one computer with a modem and/or an
- Special software requirements: An Internet browser, preferably Netscape.
- Network/Internet requirements: Access to the Internet.
- General classroom requirements: Maps of the midwest that show
topographical relief-- can be either
individual copies in books or a large classroom map.
- Have students work in groups or individually to develop hypotheses about how the
topography of the midwest was
shaped and what sort of life forms might have been around 16,000 years ago. In
discussing land formations, have
students pay specific attention to features such as the Great Lakes. In their
discussions of life forms, ask students
to list what sorts of animals and plants might have lived in that time period. Have
students record their
- Give the groups of students the URL to the Illinois State Museum's exhibit entitled
"The Midwest U.S. 16,000 Years
[http://www.museum.state.il.us/exhibits/larson/]. Have students explore the site with
the aim of using the graphical
aids and text they find to either support or refute their hypotheses. Have students
record data they find that either
supports or refutes their hypotheses. For each piece of information the students
should explain why they think it
supports or contradicts their hypotheses. (If you only have one computer with Internet
access, you may choose to
rotate the research groups through the computer station, giving each group 15-20
minutes to explore the site and make
- Have the class regroup and share their findings. Ask students to highlight the
ways in which the evidence they
found either supported or disputed their hypotheses.
The Midwest U.S. 16,000 Years
An exhibit by the Illinois State Museum.
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