St. Andrew's College
The Great Lakes
The Great Lakes are so large, you could easily see them if you stood on the Moon!
They’re the world’s largest group of freshwater lakes, and they’re found in North
Five lakes make up the Great Lakes. They are Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake
Huron, Lake Erie, and Lake Ontario.
The Great Lakes are located in the eastern half of North America along the United States-
Canadian border. The lakes are a part of both countries and are shared by both. Only
Lake Michigan lies entirely within the United States.
Eight American states border the lakes to the south. They are New York, Pennsylvania,
Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. The big Canadian province
of Ontario is on the north side of the lakes.
Four of North America’s largest cities are located on the edge of the Great Lakes. They
are Chicago, Detroit, Toronto, and Cleveland.
Huge glaciers moving over the land dug out the Great Lakes. The glaciers melted away
about 10,000 years ago. Before the glaciers came, the area now covered by the lakes was
made up of plains, broad valleys, and rivers.
The five lakes cover an area 94,250 square miles (244,100 square kilometers). That
makes them larger than the states of Indiana and Illinois combined! All together, the
lakes hold about 20 percent of all the fresh water on the Earth’s surface.
St. Andrew's College
Lake Superior is the biggest of the Great Lakes. In fact, it’s the world’s largest body of
fresh water. It is 350 miles (560 kilometers) long and it reaches a depth of 1,332 feet (406
meters). Lake Ontario is the smallest of the Great Lakes.
The five Great Lakes are linked by rivers and canals. These allow ships to sail from lake
to lake. The St. Lawrence River provides an outlet for large vessels to the Atlantic Ocean.
The Great Lakes, together with the St. Lawrence River, form one of the most important
inland waterway systems in the world.
Today, the Great Lakes are among the world’s busiest shipping routes. Farms, factories,
and businesses ship iron ore, coal, grain, steel, automobiles, and other goods across the
lakes and beyond.
The Great Lakes are also popular for recreation. There are thousands of homes and cabins
on the shores. Millions of people flock to the lakes in the summer to water-ski, sail, fish,
Answer the following questions in full sentences. Use your own words!
1. Name the 5 Great Lakes:
2. Where are the Great Lakes?
3. List the American States that border the Lakes to the South.
4. How were the Great Lakes formed?
5. How many square kilometres do the Great Lakes cover?