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    National Park Montana

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Forest Processes Field Trip

Grade: 3-6 (can be modified for older students)
Subject: Science
Skills: Communicate, Observe, Identify, Model
Duration: 4.5 hours
Group Size: 60 students total, 2 groups of 30 students
Location: Trail of the Cedars, Native Plant Nursery
Available Dates: Spring and Fall
Vocabulary: See the bolded words in the objectives below.

Summary: Students may visit the native plant nursery and then travel to a 1-2 mile long (round-trip) trail to hike with a ranger. There will be stops at various points along the trail to do an activity or discuss something they see in the forest.

Objectives: (These are examples of some of the objectives that can be achieved on a forest walk. Many others are possible depending on the teacher's focus and the ranger.)

Students will be able to:

  • Tell what national parks protect and one reason Glacier National Park was established.
  • Identify coniferous trees with a dichotomous key.
  • Give 3 examples of interrelationships in the forest.
  • Point to a place in the forest that would have a different micro-climate than on the trail.
  • Define producers, consumers, decomposers and point to an example of each in the forest.
  • Model how trees transfer food and water throughout their structures, and how they are adapted for protection from insects, cold weather, and drought.
  • Name one symbiotic relationship in the forest.
  • Write a recipe for soil.
  • List the raw materials needed for photosynthesis as well as the products.
  • Explain how trees play a role in the carbon cycle.
  • Find an example along the trail of a living organisms depending on something non-living.
  • Give an example of a forest community food chain.
  • Give one way that non-native plants can cause problems for native plants and wildlife.
  • List 2 ways that humans impact native plants in the forest.
  • Describe one benefit of planting native plants over non-native plants.
  • Identify at least one plant and tell how Native Americans used it.

Montana Content and Performance Standards:

10.54.5010 Science Standard 1= “…design, conduct, evaluate, and communicate scientific investigations.”

10.54.5030 Science Standard 3= “…demonstrate knowledge of characteristics, structures and function of living things, the process and diversity of life, and how living organisms interact with each other and their environment.”

10.54.5040 Science Standard 4= “…demonstrate knowledge of the composition, structures, processes, and interactions of earth’s systems and other objects in space.”

Making Connections to Glacier National Park:

One of the reasons Glacier National Park was established was to preserve the natural processes and the biological diversity (variety of plants and animals) that live here.

Field Trip Logistics:

Teachers wishing to have their students participate in the forest processes field trip should plan to arrive in the park by 9:30 – 10 a.m. and stay until 1:30 – 2 p.m. Everyone must be prepared to be outside all day and ready to hike 2 miles on fairly level terrain.

Did You Know?

Bull moose

Did you know that male moose use almost as much energy growing their antlers yearly as female moose use being pregnant?