This series of Everyday Conversations is about a family traveling to each of the 50 states in the U.S. Join the family members as they learn about local pastimes and history. These conversations are for intermediate-level English-language learners or higher.

In this conversation, the family goes to Michigan and spends time doing activities around one of the Great Lakes.


Sam: Lake Superior is the largest of the five Great Lakes?

Paul: That’s right. It’s also considered the second-largest lake in the world.

Gina: It’s hard to imagine now, but it was carved by glaciers over 12,000 years ago.

Claudine: I’m glad it’s warmer now. Otherwise, I wouldn’t want to go scuba diving.

Sam: This is going to be the coolest dive ever. Are there really shipwrecks that we can explore on the bottom of the lake?

Paul: The guide told me that there are over 5,000 ships scattered on the bottom of the five lakes.

Sam: That’s a lot of possible hidden treasure to find.

Now let’s review the vocabulary.

The Great Lakes are five freshwater lakes located on the United States–Canada border. The five lakes are Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. Four of the five lakes border the state of Michigan in the U.S.

The verb to carve means to create something by cutting into the surface.

A glacier is a very large area of ice that moves slowly over land.

Scuba diving is the activity of swimming underwater with special equipment (an air tank) that you carry on your back and a tube through which you breathe.

In the context of scuba diving, a dive is the act of swimming underwater with special scuba diving equipment.

A shipwreck is a ship that has been lost, ruined or destroyed.

A guide is a person who shows and explains interesting things about a specific place to visitors.

Scattered means to be spread or placed apart over a wide area.

Hidden treasure is a collection of valuable things (such as jewelry, gold, etc.) that is kept hidden.

The American English website offers a variety of free resources for learners and teachers of English. The American English Facebook page posts learning materials for English-language learners daily. The American English for Educators Facebook page posts teaching materials for English-language teachers daily.

Everyday Conversations are developed by the State Department’s Heidi Howland, a senior program officer in the Office of English Language Programs, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Learn more about planning a trip to the U.S. and applying for a tourist visa.