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Juliet Grable


10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Type

  • Article

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - West, Oregon, Southern Oregon

Keeping Tabs on Crater Lake

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  • This article explores the changes in water clarity in Crater Lake, why that matters, and other ways the lake's ecosystem is negatively affected by climate change.
  • Students will learn how the clarity of Crater Lake is measured, how that clarity correlates to the lake's ecosystem, and how climate change is connected to harmful algal blooms and a population increase of invasive crayfish within the lake.
Teaching Tips


  • The article gives students an opportunity to read the insights of multiple aquatic biologists.
  • The article is concise and full of intriguing pictures.

Additional Prerequisites

  • The word "hell" is quoted by one of the scientists interviewed in the article.
  • Students should understand the importance of maintaining the health of Earth's ecosystems.
  • Students should understand how climate change has lead to the endangerment of species around the world.


  • This article allows students to evaluate the Secchi disk's usefulness in gauging human impacts on the Earth's climate.
  • This article provides an example of how changing climate conditions can lead to a completely new ecosystem. 
  • For ELLs, it may be useful to define some words before these students dive into the reading.
  • In a language arts class, this reading is an opportunity to determine the central ideas or conclusions of a scientific text.
  • Environmental science classes can use this as an example of field measurements and data gathering for assessing water quality.
Scientist Notes
This article discusses changes that have been observed in Crater Lake recently, why they are important and concerning, and how these changes are related to climate change. The article frequently quotes and references two aquatic biologists, Scott Girdner and Josh Sprague, who study the lake. They discuss a variety of characteristics that they monitor in the lake and some of the changes they’ve seen. This includes monitoring the chemistry, oxygen levels, temperature, etc. of the lake. Additionally, algae and some animals (particularly newts and crayfish) are discussed. The article also covers some brief information about how Crater Lake was formed and why it is unique. The information presented is accurate and this resource is recommended for teaching.

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • English Language Arts
    • Reading: Science & Technical Subjects (6-12)
      • RST.9-10.2 Determine the central ideas, themes, or conclusions of a text; trace the text's explanation or depiction of a complex process, phenomenon, or concept; provide an accurate summary of the text.
      • RST.11-12.2 Determine the central ideas, themes, or conclusions of a text; summarize complex concepts, processes, or information presented in a text by paraphrasing them in simpler but still accurate terms.
  • Science
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • HS-LS2-6. Evaluate 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.
    • LS4: Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
      • HS-LS4-5. Evaluate the evidence supporting claims that changes in environmental conditions may result in (1) increases in the number of individuals of some species, (2) the emergence of new species over time, and (3) the extinction of other species.
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