If you are looking for a good study on the Great Lakes, Paddle-to-the-Sea by Holling C. Holling is a treasure. Paddle-to-the-Sea is a little wooden Indian in a canoe, carved by a young boy up north in Canada. Paddle is sent on a journey to the ocean and the story follows him as he travels through each of the Great Lakes (and has many adventures along the way!). Full of wonderful details, drawings and information on the areas surrounding each lake, this book was much enjoyed in our home. Though it's been a year since we read it, the children have still retained quite a bit of what they learned.
Here are a few free online resources to go along with the book:
Paddle-to-the-Sea with Google Earth: "An exciting new program that uses the travels of Paddle to link real-time Great Lakes data to Google Earth’s mapping application. Tracing the path of Paddle's journey to the sea, it includes themes, key words, and Web sites for each chapter of the book." Click here for more information and to download
Paddle-to-the-Sea Film on YouTube: I saved this old film until we finished the book. While it did leave out many details it was still enjoyable, and it was neat for the children to see little Paddle on the big lakes.