Winter Ecology Field Trip (Grades 6 to 12)
Summary: Students will snowshoe the Three Bears Loop at Marias Pass or an extended off-trail route from the Oxbow Trail. Throughout the day, they will use a worksheet to collect and record data for wildlife/insect signs, snow density and snow crystal shapes, as well sketch a map of their route and record weather readings.
Objectives (Students will be able to do some or all of these depending on grade level and weather conditions):
Montana Content and Performance Standards:
MT.SCI.K-12.1 Students, through the inquiry process, demonstrate the ability to design, conduct, evaluate, and communicate results and reasonable conclusions of scientific investigations.
MT.SCI.K-12.2 Students, through the inquiry process, demonstrate knowledge of the properties, forms, changes, and interactions of physical and chemical systems.
MT.SCI.K-12.3 Students, through the inquiry process, 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.
Making Connections to Glacier National Park:
Glacier National Park protects habitat and natural processes with little human disturbance. In winter, this habitat changes drastically and winter ecologists can study the inter-relationships and adaptations of organisms which allow them to cope with these factors in order to survive.
Field Trip Logistics:
Teachers wishing to have their students participate in the winter ecology field trip should plan to arrive in the park between 9:30 - 11 a.m. and stay until 1:30 or 2 p.m. For programs at Marias Pass, there are no bathrooms open in winter, so groups must make arrangements for bathroom breaks before and after the trip. Everyone in the group must be prepared to be outside the entire time and ready to snowshoe for a distance of about 2 miles on gently rolling terrain.
Did You Know?
Lake McDonald is the largest lake in the park with a length of 10 miles and a depth of 472 feet. The glacier that carved the Lake McDonald valley is estimated to have been around 2,200 feet thick.