Curriculum Materials

Canyonlands partners with Arches National Park in the Canyon Country Outdoor Education program. Lesson plans are designed for grades K-6 in a desert environment but could be adapted to other grades or ecosystems. Before heading out, read these tips on managing an outdoor classroom.

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  • Canyonlands National Park

    Water Cycle

    Water Cycle

    Students hear a story and dance to a water cycle music video. While visiting a wetlands ecosystem they act out the process of erosion in different environments, and participate in a relay where they pretend to be agents of evaporation and precipitation. Students imagine they experience the water cycle first hand and write a poem about it. Afterwards, each student creates a regional drawing of the water cycle.

    Type:
    Lesson Plans
    Grade level:
    Fourth Grade - Fourth Grade
    Subjects:
    Hydrology
    National/State Standards:
    Utah State Core Curriculum Topic Standard One: Students will understand that water changes state as it moves through the water cycle.
  • Arches National Park

    Living & Non-living Interactions

    Living & Non-living Interactions

    Students examine the interaction of elements of the food chain - producers, consumers and decomposers - through dioramas and art projects in the classroom. In the field, a story and an active game reinforce predator-prey relationships. Students examine decomposers and their vital role in the nutrient cycle, then they investigate energy loss in the high desert food chain.

    Type:
    Lesson Plans
    Grade level:
    Third Grade - Third Grade
    Subjects:
    Ecology
    National/State Standards:
    Utah State Science Core Curriculum Topic, Standard Two: Students will understand that organisms depend on living and non-living things in their environment.
  • Arches National Park

    Rocks

    Rocks

    Students explore a few rocks and minerals of the area. They investigate how sandstone was formed and experiment with erosion to demonstrate how local landforms are the result of sand and rock being removed. Students explore biological soil crust, and search for clues to discover how we use rocks compared to the people who lived here in ancient times.

    Type:
    Lesson Plans
    Grade level:
    Second Grade - Second Grade
    Subjects:
    Earth Science
    National/State Standards:
    Utah Integrated Core Curruculum Topic, Standard Three: Students will develop an understanding of their environment. Objective Three: Investigate the properties and the uses of rocks.
  • Arches National Park

    Animal Adaptations

    Animal Adaptations

    Students are introduced to animal adaptations as both activities and anatomy that help animals survive. On the field trip, students explore for beaver sign and dress-up one student to illustrate the amazing adaptations of this animal. Students pretend to be raptors, learning why the birds need sharp eyesight, and play a game that illustrates the adaptations of deer and mountain lions. Finally, they migrate as a gaggle of geese, and examine how much energy it takes to make the long journey.

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    Average: 5.0 (1 rating)

    Type:
    Lesson Plans
    Grade level:
    Fourth Grade - Fourth Grade
    Subjects:
    Biology: Animals
    National/State Standards:
    Utah State Science Core Curriculum Topic, Standard Five: Students will understand the physical characteristics of Utah’s wetlands, forests, and deserts and identify common organisms for each environment.
  • Arches National Park

    Cultural Contributions

    Cultural Contributions

    A pre-trip activity introduces archeology and the artifacts that provide clues to the lives of ancient people. On the field trip, students make their own pottery, cordage, and rock art replicas, and examine an ancient rock art panel. Back in the classroom, students create a timeline of their own lives to learn how vandals can destroy the archeological record.

    Type:
    Lesson Plans
    Grade level:
    Fourth Grade - Fourth Grade
    Subjects:
    Archaeology
    National/State Standards:
    Utah State Core Curriculum Topic, Social Studies Standard One: Students demonstrate the sequence of change in Utah over time.
  • Arches National Park

    Preparing for Winter

    Preparing for Winter

    This in-class presentation uses story and visualization to explore how different types of animals survive the winter.

    Type:
    Lesson Plans
    Grade level:
    Second Grade - Second Grade
    Subjects:
    Biology: Animals, Biology: Plants
  • Arches National Park

    Traveling Safely in the Desert

    Traveling Safely in the Desert

    This in-class presentation explores the tools a student needs to hike safely in the desert ecosystem. Students learn their directions, things to bring with them, and what to do if they get lost.

    Type:
    Lesson Plans
    Grade level:
    Third Grade - Third Grade
    Subjects:
    Physical Fitness
  • Arches National Park

    Imaginary River Trip

    Imaginary River Trip

    Students take an imaginary river trip -- right in their classrooms. Along the way they explore how humans, animals, and insects use the river to survive.

    Type:
    Lesson Plans
    Grade level:
    First Grade - First Grade
    Subjects:
    Recreation Ecology
    National/State Standards:
    Utah State Integrated Core Curriculum Topic, Standard Three: Students will develop an understanding of their environment. Objective Two: Investigate water and interactions with water.
  • Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve

    Digging Back in Time

    Students will participate in a virtual dig and use accompanying field notes and action photos to investigate their own online "hearth" site.

    Type:
    Lesson Plans
    Grade level:
    Sixth Grade - Eighth Grade
    Subjects:
    American Indian History and Culture, Anthropology, Archaeology, History
    National/State Standards:
    Social Studies: 6th grade 1.1, 1.2, 2.1, 2.2; 7th grade 1.1, 2.1; 8th grade 1.1, 2.1