• Mount Rainier peeks through clouds, viewed across subalpine wildflowers and glacial moraine.

    Mount Rainier

    National Park Washington

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Cascading Effects

Several Teacher-Rangers holding posters and signs and using string to create a living concept web about climate change.
Several Mount Rainier Teacher-Rangers creating a living concept web with string and posters to illustrate the effects of climate change as part of the Cascading Effects lesson plan.
NPS Photo
Overview: In this lesson students will learn about potential impacts of climate change in Mount Rainier National Park and communicate these potential impacts to their peers through a concept web activity. This lesson will lead into Enviro-Ethics where students will develop a "Personal Code of Environmental Ethics" for exploring and enjoying the natural world while reducing their ecological and carbon footprint.
Grade Level:
5 - 12
Objectives: Students will:
  • Read case studies about potential impacts and Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change reports and summarize important details using words and/or labeled diagrams.
  • Identify ways in which organisms may be affected by climate change.
  • Explain how components of an ecosystem are interdependent.
  • Use a variety of media to communicate their understanding to peers.
  • Explain why understanding climate change is important.
  • Make choices to mitigate or reduce potential negative impacts of climate change.
Lesson Plan:
Cascading Effects - word, 57KB
Cascading Effects - pdf, 201KB
Resources: Climate Change Data Evidence Cards (English & Japanese)
Climate Change Flash Cards
Case Study Card - Forest
Case Study Card - Glacier
Case Study Card - Pika
Case Study Card - Salmon
Case Study Poster Materials Example - Forest
Case Study Poster Materials Example - Nisqually Glacier
Case Study Poster Materials Example - American Pika
Case Study Poster Materials Example - Chinook Salmon

Did You Know?

Winter snow buries the lower floors of the Paradise Inn.

At Mount Rainier, winter snowfall is typically heaviest between the elevations of 5,000 and 8,000 feet. Paradise, at 5,420 feet, receives an average of 641 inches of snowfall (nearly 54 feet) every year, making it one of the consistently snowiest places on Earth of those where snowfall is measured.