Students will hike with a ranger, participating in activities that highlight landform building, glaciation, rocks and minerals, erosion and soil formation. View our Earth Science Field Trip Schedule to see a basic outline for the day.
The scenery in Glacier National Park provides evidence of a range of geologic processes that have shaped the landscape. Rangers lead students on a 4+ mile hike and explore sedimentation, mountain building, glaciation, rocks and minerals, erosion, weathering, and soil formation. The length of these hikes and level of information is geared toward secondary age students and is a challenge to fit into a regular school day schedule. The ability to have an extended field day is recommended for this program.
How to Dress for the Avalanche Field Trip (Sample permission slip from J. Summerscales, Columbia Falls Jr. High)
Grade Levels: 5th-8th
Skills: Observe, communicate, identify, classify
Duration: 5 hours
Group Size: 60 students total, 2 groups of 30 students.
Locations: Avalanche Lake, St. Mary, and Many Glacier
Available Dates: Fall and Spring
Vocabulary: See the bolded words in the objectives below.
Objectives: (These are examples of some of the objectives that can be achieved on an earth science program. Many others are possible depending on the teacher's focus and the ranger.)
Students will be able to:
Field Trip Logistics: Teachers wishing to have their students participate in the earth sciences field trip should plan to arrive in the park by 9:30 a.m. and stay until 2 p.m. Allowing adequate time (5 hours) inside the park will result in a less-rushed, more enjoyable experience. Everyone in the group must be prepared to be outside all day and ready to hike a trail that gains 500 ft of elevation over 2 miles (one way, for a total of 4 miles round-trip).
Example for a bus of 60 students, divided into 2 groups of 30 students each:
Each group will be assigned a ranger for the day and both groups will cover the same activities but at slightly different times or places along the trail.
Glacier's Education Specialist