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Photo by Mircea Ploscar via Pixabay

Database Provider


PBS Wisconsin Education


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences, Mathematics

Resource Types

  • Interactive Media
  • Charts, Graphs, and Tables
  • Articles and Websites

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - Midwest, Wisconsin, Capital (CESA 2)

Ice Cover

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  • These interactive graphs display ice cover data for Lakes Mendota and Monona from 1855 to 2018, while the article examines the ecological importance of ice cover and how these lake ecosystems could be impacted by warmer water temperatures.
  • Students will learn that ice cover season is becoming much shorter for both lakes, ice cover is important for the growth and reproduction of aquatic species, and warmer water temperatures could enable invasive species to disturb these lake ecosystems.
Teaching Tips


  • The interactive graphs are easy to use and reasonably scaled.
  • The article is well-organized and concise.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should know what invasive species are and how they disturb ecosystems.
  • In order to select years with precision, zoom in on your web browser when viewing the graphs.


  • Students can use the article for a persuasive essay on how climate change impacts aquatic ecosystems, why this impact matters, and what should be done to fight climate change.
  • To assess prior knowledge, the teacher can ask the class questions about winter weather conditions needed for ice to form on large lakes before reading the article.
  • This resource pairs well with another one titled Ice Fishing.
  • The article can support a lesson on how climate change impacts various ecosystems around the world.
Scientist Notes
This resource contains an article and two interactive graphs depicting the number of days that two Madison, Wisconsin area lakes are covered by ice. The resource explains year to year variability, trends, and how those concepts relate to climate change. The article also discusses why lake ice cover loss is a concern. There are links to additional resources and the most current lake ice records. This resource is a nice example of how climate change trends can be seen in different areas of our environment and how trends and year-to-year variability are different. The information presented in this lesson is accurate and this resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • HS-ESS2-2 Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth’s surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.
      • HS-ESS2-4 Use a model to describe how variations in the flow of energy into and out of Earth’s systems result in changes in climate.
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • HS-LS2-6 Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Reading: Informational Text (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.2 Determine two or more central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to provide a complex analysis; provide an objective summary of the text.
  • Common Core Math Standards (CCSS.MATH)
    • Functions: Interpreting Functions (9-12)
      • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.HSF.IF.B.6 Calculate and interpret the average rate of change of a function (presented symbolically or as a table) over a specified interval. Estimate the rate of change from a graph.
  • Related Resources


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