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Gulf of Maine Research Institute


6th, 7th, 8th


Science, Social Studies, English Language Arts, Mathematics

Resource Types

  • Lesson Plans, 45-90 minutes
  • Charts, Graphs, and Tables
  • Presentation Slides
  • Activity - Classroom

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - Northeast, Maine, Coastal


Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides

Lake Ice-Out Lesson 4 - Write a Recommendation Letter

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  • This lesson challenges students to compose a letter that presents data about ice-out day, describes the trends, and recommends future scheduling of the ice-out fishing derby based on the observed data.
  • A student graphic organizer, slides of the data, and sample grading rubric are included in the lesson plan.
Teaching Tips


  • This lesson shows students how to be active members of their community. 
  • This lesson reinforces the idea that evidence and reasoning are the pillars of a strong argument.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students may need to zoom in to clearly read the data.
  • Students have to make a copy of the "Lesson 4 Graphic Organizer" in order to fill it out.


  • Teachers could craft a similar lesson where students write to state officials about combating climate change that uses both local and global data.
  • This lesson could fit within a larger unit on the human impacts of climate change.
  • To finish the lesson, the teacher could instruct students on the various ways they could communicate their recommendations to derby organizers.
  • Younger students may need assistance with filling in the graphic organizer and/or transferring their statements into a letter format.
Scientist Notes
This lesson plan from the Education Development Center and Gulf of Maine Research Institute provides teachers with everything they need to walk students through consolidating all of the data they have reviewed and analyzed into a recommendation letter to the Sebago Lake Rotary Ice Fishing Derby that clearly discusses what the data illustrates, the effect of climate change on the derby, and what action should be taken so that the derby can continue to be held. This lesson would be a great addition to an English class discussion about persuasive writing or to a science classroom for analyzing the effects of climate change, and it is recommended for teaching.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Writing (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.1 Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
    • Writing: History, Science & Technical Subjects (6-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.6-8.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • Common Core Math Standards (CCSS.MATH)
    • Statistics & Probability (6-8)
      • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.6.SP.A.2 Understand that a set of data collected to answer a statistical question has a distribution which can be described by its center, spread, and overall shape.
      • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.6.SP.B.4 Display numerical data in plots on a number line, including dot plots, histograms, and box plots.
      • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.8.SP.A.1 Construct and interpret scatter plots for bivariate measurement data to investigate patterns of association between two quantities. Describe patterns such as clustering, outliers, positive or negative association, linear association, and nonlinear association.
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