• Spires of Cedar Mesa sandstone in Chesler Park (Needles District)


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5th Grade

Fifth graders modeling sandstone layers
Fifth graders modeling sandstone layers
NPS Photo by Neal Herbert

Physical Features of the Earth (download PDF)
Students assemble jigsaw puzzles in their classroom which provide them information about the different types of rock and the rock cycle. At a field trip site near the Arches National Park Visitor Center, students examine a limestone layer to find fossils, and make clay models of faulting after putting their hands on the actual surface of an exposed fault plane. They explore and model the formation of arches, and learn the names and depositional histories of the rock layers surrounding them. Back in the classroom, a mapping activity introduces the ultimate source of the rock cycle: plate tectonics.

Physical and Chemical Changes in Matter (download PDF)
In the classroom, students explore the difference between physical changes and chemical changes in matter. On the field trip, they go for a hike and observe these changes taking place in the natural world. They learn about particulate matter in the air, discuss what types of changes created these particulates and discover how scientists are measuring them. They act out the chemical changes that are destroying ozone in the upper atmosphere and see how scientists are measuring ozone recovery. Back in the classroom, students mix household items and predict the type of resulting reactions.

Plant Adaptations (download PDF)
Students explore genetics using desert plant adaptations, riparian plant adaptations, and a few desert plants and animals adapted to nighttime activities. Their field activities include: rough observation and data collection, a clue trail, plant keys, story, and a smelling game. In classroom activities, students take on the identity of a desert plant or animal, and later create an imaginary plant with adaptations for survival in its imaginary environment.

Download entire 5th Grade curriculum
[3mb PDF File]

Did You Know?

Collared Lizard

Lizards, including the colorful collared lizard, are one of the most frequently seen animals in Canyonlands. When not chasing flies or basking in the sun, they are often seen doing what appears to be push-ups. Scientists believe this and other behaviors signal dominance and facilitate courtship.