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

    Mount Rainier

    National Park Washington

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King of the Mountain

Mount Rainier with subalpine meadow/forest "parkland" in the foreground.
Subalpine forest/meadow is one of the four main life zones found on Mount Rainier.
NPS Photo
Overview: Students will learn about the low-elevation forest, mid-elevation forest, subalpine forest/meadow, and alpine life zones on Mount Rainier by creating a playdough volcano and plant and animal adaptation cards to determine which team is "king of the mountain".
Grade Level:
6 - 8
Objectives: Students will:
  • identify characteristic life forms in each of the four main life zones
  • describe adaptations of the living things in each ecological community
  • identify that there are no set boundaries for the plants and animals of a life zone and that organisms migrate through more than one life zone
Lesson Plan:
King of the Mountain - word, 53KB
King of the Mountain - pdf, 659KB
Resources: King of the Mountain Powerpoint Presentation
King of the Mountain Adaptation Cards
Life Zone Animals and Plants

Did You Know?

President Taft visits Paradise in 1911.

In 1911, President William Howard Taft's touring car was the first vehicle to drive the newly-built road to Paradise. The road was very muddy, and the car had to be pulled through the upper portion by a team of mules. Learn more about Mount Rainier's transportation history at the following link: More...