Lesson 306 – Lake Superior: Circling the Sweet Water Ocean

It’s the largest lake in the world, a body of fresh water so vast it creates its own climate and supports thousands of residents along its shores. Lake Superior straddles the U.S. – Canadian border, the two nations separated on the east side by a busy portage canal. The lake’s icy waters harbor a remote national park, Isle Royale, an island large enough to support a lake with its own island. Long before the arrival of Europeans, Lake Superior was home to vibrant cultures and vigorous trade in copper. The Canadian shores feature seemingly unending forests and some of the coldest towns in the Americas.

Learning Objective

Students will learn that Lake Superior, the world’s largest lake, creates its own climate and supports thousands of residents along its shores.

Social Studies Standards

People, Places, & Environments
A, B, J

Discussion Prompts

  • Scientists are speculating that climate change will cause strong storms, posing a major threat to people, homes, and business along the Lake Superior communities. Discuss how the residents of these areas could prepare for this scenario. How might climate change affect the area where you live?
  • What would be some of the consequences to the environment and to the residents if high water cycles get higher and low cycles get lower?
  • David Yetman said that he would never swim in the lake because it was too cold for him. Do you think that the residents around the lake share this same feeling? Why do you think that? Do you share the same feeling? Why or why not?
  • In what ways could Winnie the Pooh help to revitalize tourism for the White River’s city?

Lesson Activities

  • Draw and label a map that shows all the 1300 miles of the largest lake in the world highlighting the five largest tributaries and major towns around the lake.
  • Create a scale drawing of the largest lake. The dimensions are 1300 miles around, 350 miles long, 600 feet elevation, the greatest width of 160 miles, and 10 percent of the world’s fresh water.
  • The video shows ships and boats transporting goods and people around the area. Imagine at least two real life scenarios for residents and businesses when the river water is too high or too low to navigate.
  • Imagine that David Yetman and his crew want to go back to Lake Superior. Create a new road map for them and explain why your choices would make a great episode for this series.


  • border
  • canal
  • crucible
  • elevation
  • emblem
  • portage
  • sea level
  • straddle
  • vibrant
  • vigorous


Lesson Plan S03E06