• 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?

The toe of Carbon Glacier appears dirty as it is covered in silt. Mount Rainier is in the background.

Carbon Glacier, on the north side of Mount Rainier, comes to the lowest elevation of any glacier in the lower 48 states at 3500 feet. It is also Mount Rainier's thickest glacier, one section being nearly 700 feet thick.