Glencoe World Geography

Chapter 5: The Physical Geography of the United States and Canada

"The Great Lakes"

The Great Lakes, along with the rivers and smaller bodies of water that connect them, make up the largest fresh surface water system on our planet. The lakes cover more than 94,000 square miles and hold 6 quadrillion gallons of water. Parts of eight U.S. states and the Canadian province of Ontario are bordered by the Great Lakes, and more than one-tenth of the population of the United States and one-fourth of Canada's population inhabit the Great Lakes region. In this activity you will learn more about this significant geographic resource shared by the United States and Canada.

Destination Title: TEACH Great Lakes

Start at the Great Lakes Information Network's TEACH Great Lakes Web site.
  • Click on Geography. This section has three topics—Introduction to the Great Lakes, How the lakes were formed, and Great Lakes shoreline geology.
  • Browse each topic, taking notes as you read. Be sure to look at every page of each topic and to click on the accompanying graphics to aid your understanding. Click on the appropriate section title in the Go To box to move from section to section.

Using the information you gathered from this site, answer the following questions.

Which lake has the longest shoreline?
Which lake is the only one located entirely within the United States?
Explain how the beaches, sand dunes, and wetlands of the Great Lakes were created. How does a sand dune become a forest?
Where in the Great Lakes region can you find evidence of North America's primitive landscape? What kinds of features can be found there?
Using only the Internet, conduct research to plan an imaginary trip to the Great Lakes region. To what city or area will you go? Will you fly to your destination? What will this cost? If you decide to drive, you will need directions. Where will you stay while there? What does this cost? What will you do while there—what sort of activities and attractions are available? Your travel plan should be detailed and accurate enough that someone could actually use it to take this trip.
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