Lake Study

| 4th Grade - Adult
| Half Day 3 hrs
| Moderate


Students will examine the physical, chemical and biological properties of Wolf Lake.  Wearing boots, which are provided, and working in small groups, the students will test temperature, pH and dissolved oxygen.  They will use nets to collect and examine aquatic animal life, and will evaluate the health of the lake based on their findings.


Class Outline

I. Introduction

A. Greeting/Grabber

B. Learn Names

C. Behavior Guidelines

D. Class Overview

E. Assess Learner Level

II. Demonstrations

A. Physical Properties

1. Temperature

2. Bottom Type

B. Chemical Properties

1. Dissolved Oxygen

2. Ground Partner

C. Biological Properties

1. Capture and Identification

2. Diversity and Biotic Index

III. Travel to Wolf Lake

IV. Wolf Lake Investigation

A. Equipment and Site Arrangement

B. Small Group Research

V. Conclusion 

A. Review

B. Stewardship Actions

Concepts and Outcomes


  • All living and non-living components of an environment interact with one another to form an ecosystem.
  • A complex natural system is more stable than a simple one, and more able to absorb disturbances.
  • All living things acquire physical and behavioral adaptations to be successful in their environment.



Upon completion of the Lake Study class students will be able to:

  1. Understand and measure the temperature, pH, and dissolved oxygen of an aquatic system.
  2. Examine and report upon the diversity of aquatic creatures captured.
  3. Recommend actions to preserve healthy lake environments.


Standards Supported

MN Science Standards Grade Code
Objects have observable properties that can be measured. 4
Science is a way of knowing about the natural world, is done by individuals and groups, and is characterized by empirical criteria, logical argument and skeptical review. 5
Scientific inquiry requires identification of assumptions, use of critical and logical thinking, and consideration of alternative explanations. 5
Tools and mathematics help scientists and engineers see more, measure more accurately, and do things that they could not otherwise accomplish. 5
Living things are diverse with many different characteristics that enable them to grow, reproduce and survive. 5
Natural systems have many components that interact to maintain the living system. 5
Humans change environments in ways that can be either beneficial or harmful to themselves and other organisms. 5
Current and emerging technologies have enabled humans to develop and use models to understand and communicate how natural and designed systems work and interact. 6
Natural systems include a variety of organisms that interact with one another in several ways. 7
Human activity can change living organisms and ecosystems. 7
Natural and designed systems are made up of components that act within a system and interact with other systems. 9
The interrelationship and interdependence of organisms generate dynamic biological communities in ecosystems. 9
Human activity has consequences on living organisms and ecosystems. 9

Common Core Math Standards Grade Code
Solve real-world and mathematical problems requiring addition and subtraction of decimals, fractions and mixed numbers, including those involving measurement, geometry and data. 5

Next Generation Science Standards Grade Code
Standard units are used to measure and describe physical quanitities such as weight, temperature, and volume. 4 5-PS1-2, 5-PS1-3
Cause and effect relationships may be used to predict phenomena in natural or designed systems. Middle School (6-8) MS-PS1-4

Extension Activities

Writing Prompts

How do you know if an ecosystem is healthy based on a plankton sample and fish survey?

Write a letter convincing a friend who lives in Brazil that ecosystems still function beneath a frozen lake.

How do your daily actions affect the health of lakes and rivers?  What actions can you take within your community to ensure we maintain healthy lakes and rivers?


Additional Resources

Lesson plan on aquatic food chains in the Great Lakes.  Includes a component about how pollution affects food chains.