- 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 years ago
- Use graphical representations to gather data
- Test their hypotheses using the data they gather
Materials and Resources
- Hardware requirements: At least one computer with a modem and/or an Internet hook-up.
- 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 predictions.
- Give the groups of students the URL to the Illinois State Museum's exhibit entitled "The Midwest U.S. 16,000 Years Ago" [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 observations.)
- 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 Ago
An exhibit by the Illinois State Museum.