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

    Mount Rainier

    National Park Washington

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The TwiLIFE Zone

Mount Rainier from the Moraine Trail at Paradise.
The biotic (living) elements found (or not found) in an environment like Mount Rainier's alpine ecosystem are influenced by abiotic (non-living) factors such as temperature, wind, water flow, rock type, and soil.
NPS, Steve Redman
Overview: In this inquiry-based activity students will conduct a field study of four different environments as they focus on sunlight, soil, rock types, temperature, wind, water flow, plants, and animals in each environment. By comparing different environments, students will consider how nonliving elements influence living elements in an ecosystem.
Grade Level:
5 - 8
Objectives: Students will describe similarities and differences they observe in the non-living (abiotic) and living (biotic) components in four life zones.

Students will identify ways that abiotic components of an ecosystem affect biotic components.

Lesson Plan:
The TwiLIFE Zone - word, 53KB
The TwiLIFE Zone - pdf, 754KB
Resources: The TwiLIFE Zone Brainstorming Questions
The TwiLIFE Zone Data Sheet

Did You Know?

Artist rendering of the Osceola Mudflow releasing from Mount Rainier.

About 5,600 years ago the summit and northeast face of Mount Rainier fell away in a massive landslide accompanied by volcanic explosions. The Osceola Mudflow, a towering wall of mud and rock, thundered down the White River Valley where it deposited 600' of debris eventually reaching the Puget Sound.