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Changing With the Times

Name of Corresponding Unit Plan: Human Impact on the Lake

Grade Level: 8-12

Common Core Standards
RI3. Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect.
RI9. Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.
W1. Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.
W8. Recall information from experiences or gather information from print and digital sources; take brief notes on sources and sort evidence into provided categories.
SL3. Identify the reasons and evidence a speaker provides to support particular points.

Content Areas: Science, Social Studies, Language Arts

Recommended Length/Duration: 45-60 minutes.

Learning Goals: Students will learn about the four periods of Lake Champlain History and speculate on the impact people of each period had on the lake.


  1. Introduce the activity by asking students how life around the lake has changed over time. Accept responses and guide students to recognize how their ideas fit into the structure of four distinct periods: First Nations, Period of Conflict, Commercial Era, Recreational period.
  2. Introduce the idea that each period impacted on the lake ecology in different ways. Give some examples of how uses from the past no longer exist and how current uses have changed the lake in recent times.
  3. Distribute worksheets and review the directions for identifying human impacts from each period.
  4. Give students time to work on the worksheets individually.
  5. Organize students into groups of 4-5 and have them share their responses. Ask them to challenge each other on points of disagreement. Help them reject, refine, or add responses based on the discussion.
  6. Ask each group to share their ideas with the rest of the class. Record key themes that emerge on the board.

Assessments: Informal assessment based on effort, participation, and written responses.

Materials/Resources: Changing with the Times worksheet (pdf)

Special Considerations: It may be helpful to group more able students with less able students for group work. Students with writing difficulties may need a scribe accommodation.

Extension: Students could research the details of one or more of the activities they generate in this exercise.