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Lake Age and Health

Name of Corresponding Unit Plan: Aquatic Environments

Grade Level: 9-12

Common Core Standards:
RI.1. Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

W.2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

RS9-10. 4. Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context.

Content Areas: Science, Reading, Writing

Recommended Length/Duration: One or two 45-60 minute periods

Learning Goals: Students will learn about the various characteristics that identify a lake’s evolutionary stage.  They will be introduced to scientific vocabulary and concepts related to natural succession and the human activities that can accelerate that process.  Students will apply information from the reading to issues related to underwater discovery.


  1. Distribute “Lake Age and Health” articles.  Introduce the lesson by explaining that lakes and other bodies of water go through natural, predictable changes over time.  Normally these changes happen over hundreds and thousands of years.  Knowing the condition of a lake is important for planning an exploration.
  2. Many of the technical terms in the article are in bold type the first time they are used.  The teacher may want to define or have students look up these terms in advance if they are unfamiliar
  3. Have students independently, or as a group, read the article.
  4. Have students answer the reading comprehension questions following the article.
  5. Once students have completed their worksheets, have them share responses.  Clarify any errors, disagreements, or questions.

Assessments: Informal assessment of student responses on their worksheets.

Materials/Resources: Lake Age and Health article and worksheet (pdf)

Special Considerations: Weaker readers may need additional assistance with new vocabulary and understanding key concepts.

Extensions: Interested students may want to evaluate the tropic state of a local lake or pond.

Interested students may want to research issues related to runoff, phosphorous, waste treatment, etc. you their area.

Students may want to contact a local SCUBA diver to describe underwater conditions in the various bodies of water in the region.