Decoding Diatoms

Diatoms are a type of algae. Their cell walls are made of silica (glass.) This unique structure preserves their shape, and makes them excellent species to study the condition of lakes over time. Scientists can collect core samples and identify diatoms in the layers of that sediment core that were living at various points in time. The presence or absence of certain diatoms can help us understand the history of a particular lake. Diatoms are ubiquitous and are found in most water. In this lesson, students will practice microorganism identification using local water samples and apply this understanding to a study of diatoms found in Lake George.

Decoding Diatoms Lesson Plan

Minnesota Science Standards: 0.4.2.1.1, 1.1.3.1.1, 3.1.1.2.1, 3.1.1.2.3, 3.1.1.2.4, 5.3.4.1.3, 5.4.2.1.2, 5.4.4.1.1, 6.1.3.1.1, 8.3.4.1.3, 9.1.3.1.1, 9.3.4.1.1, 9.4.2.1.1, 9.4.4.1.2,

Supporting Materials:

Decoding Diatoms Worksheet

Diatom ID Cards

Credit: Science Institute 2011

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