Curriculum Materials

Sister Mountain Curriculum Materials
The Sister Mountain Curriculum Project teaches middle and high school students in the United States and Japan about two iconic mountains, Mount Fuji and Mount Rainier. These famous peaks serve as a lens to focus student awareness of mountains' physical processes, ecology, and human culture. Students gain insight into the value of mountains and the importance of stewardship. By highlighting similarities and differences between these two volcanoes and their people, the project also enhances international understanding. In August 2010, six Japanese teachers visited Mount Rainier to meet with American teachers and review the lesson plans they had developed. In 2012, Japanese teachers hosted a workshop in Japan for the US teachers.

Nisqually River Curriculum Materials
Where the River Begins, the first in a series of interdisciplinary curriculum guides focusing on the Nisqually River Watershed (the Nisqually River begins near the top of Mount Rainier at the Nisqually Glacier), is designed for upper elementary to middle school students. The guide includes pre- and post-visit activities and field trip activities that provide overview of glaciers, glacial rivers, life zones, national parks, and some park history.

Nisqually River Curriculum Guide
Nisqually River Student Log Book

The Nisqually River Council provides more information about the Nisqually River Corridor.

Volcano Curriculum Materials
Living with a Volcano in Your Backyard, an interdisciplinary middle school curriculum, focuses on the processes, products, and hazards associated with living in the shadow of Mount Rainier, the volcano. The curriculum is divided into three thematic chapters: What the Past Tells Us, Today's Discoveries Unlock the Past, and Don't be Scared- Be Prepared! Living with a Volcano in Your Backyard is part of the partnership between the park and the US Geological Survey Cascades Volcano Observatory. You can browse some of this curriculum's lesson plans below (more on the way).

The Washington State History Museum offers a new Ring of Fire: Volcanoes of Washington State History Box that helps students explore the historic interaction between the people of Washington and their ever-changing volcanic landscape. Find out more from the Washington State History Museum's Education Department.

Webcams: A Window of Weather
At 14,410 feet, Mount Rainier acts as a speed bump for incoming weather, which directly affects the life residing on this iconic mountain as well as those visitors who love to recreate here. Using webcams from Mount Rainier National Park's website as well as data from weather stations, students will gain an understanding of how dynamic the weather at Mount Rainier can be by observing, collection, and analyzing weather data.

Webcams: A Window of Weather Lesson Plan
Mount Rainier Weather Tutorial Powerpoint
District Ranger Report
Weather Report Form
Weather Station Reference: Observations to Record

Browse Our Curriculum Materials

Results

Showing results 1-10 of 17

  • Mount Rainier National Park

    Fire and Ice

    Fire and Ice Experiment

    Students use ice cream glaciers and hot wax lava flows to simulate the interactions of glaciers and lava flows. By the end of the lesson, students will be able to answer the question:

    How do a volcano and its glaciers work together, specifically at Mount Rainier?

    Type:
    Lesson Plan
    Grade level:
    Middle School: Sixth Grade through Eighth Grade
    Subjects:
    Science
  • Mount Rainier National Park

    Lahar in a Jar

    Lahar from the Jar

    Explore how small amounts of water can mobilize loose rock to form lahars by making a small lahar within the safety of a beaker or jar and analyzing it using scientific methods. By the end of the lesson, students will be able to answer the question:

    What are lahars and why are they the greatest volcanic hazard at Mount Rainier?

    Type:
    Lesson Plan
    Grade level:
    Middle School: Sixth Grade through Eighth Grade
    Subjects:
    Science
  • Mount Rainier National Park

    Lava Building Blocks

    Mount Rainier Map

    Students investigate the influence of magma viscosity on the shape of a volcanic cone. Then, they explore nature and motions of lava flows and learn about the importance of lava flows as the building blocks of Mount Rainier. Students will:

    How do lava flows influence volcano structure and type, specifically at Mount Rainier,
    Mount St. Helens, and Kilauea?

    Type:
    Lesson Plan
    Grade level:
    Middle School: Sixth Grade through Eighth Grade
    Subjects:
    Science
  • Mount Rainier National Park

    String of Volcanoes

    Students research information about Cascade volcanoes in Washington, Oregon, and California, then transfer the information onto the appropriate mobile piece before constructing the mobile "A String of Volcanoes". By the end of the lesson, students will be able to answer the question:

    How are the Cascade volcanoes in Washington, Oregon, and California similar and different?

    Type:
    Lesson Plan
    Grade level:
    Upper Elementary: Third Grade through Fifth Grade
    Subjects:
    Science
  • Mount Rainier National Park

    Tephra Explorer

    Students view distribution patterns of tephra layers found around Mount Rainier on an isopach map and discover their source. After this lesson, students will be able to answer the questions:

    How was tephra dispersed in the Cascade string of Volcanoes and specifically at Mount Rainier? 

    Type:
    Lesson Plan
    Grade level:
    Middle School: Sixth Grade through Eighth Grade
    Subjects:
    Science
  • Mount Rainier National Park

    Soda Bottle Volcano and Mount Rainier

    Soda Bottle Volcano

    Students will examine how gases provide for explosive volcanic eruptions by making comparisons to gases in a soda bottle and by conducting a carefully controlled "eruption" of baking soda/vinegar or soda water. By the end of the lesson, students will be able to answer the questions:

    *What is the role of gases in providing energy for explosive volcanic eruptions?
    *How does pressure effect gases?
    *How do gases influence the texture and appearance of volcanic rock?

    Type:
    Lesson Plan
    Grade level:
    Middle School: Sixth Grade through Eighth Grade
    Subjects:
    Science
  • In an exploration of magma behavior, students role-play minerals that are cooling at different rates, and then examine rock samples. This lesson plan is part of the "Living with a Volcano in Your Backyard" curriculum, created through a partnership between Mount Rainier National Park and the US Geological Survey Cascades Volcano Observatory.

    Very poor

    Average: 1.0 (36 ratings)

    Type:
    Lesson Plan
    Grade level:
    Fourth Grade-Eighth Grade
    Subjects:
    Chemistry, Earth Science, Geology, Volcanoes
    Keywords:
    andesite, chemical elements, continental crust, extrusive, granite, granodiorite, igneous, intrusive, lava, magma, magma chamber, mantle, mineral, obsidian, oceanic plate, plutonic, solidus, tephra, mount rainier, Mount Rainier National Park, Cascades Volcano Observatory
  • A mound of melting ice cream draped with hot wax

    Students use ice cream glaciers and hot wax lava flows to simulate the interactions of glaciers and lava flows. This lesson plan is part of the "Living with a Volcano in Your Backyard" curriculum, created through a partnership between Mount Rainier National Park and the US Geological Survey Cascades Volcano Observatory.

    Very poor

    Average: 1.0 (37 ratings)

    Type:
    Lesson Plan
    Grade level:
    Sixth Grade-Tenth Grade
    Subjects:
    Climate Change, Earth Science, Environment, Geology, Glaciers, Hydrology, Landscapes, Volcanoes
    Keywords:
    erosion, glacier, ice ages, lahar, lava, lava flows, pycroclastic flow, striations, vent, volcano, volcanic eruptions, mount rainier, Mount Rainier National Park, Cascade Volcano Observatory
  • Students explore a riverbank with a geologist and learn about the Law of Superposition by arranging and interpreting Earth Blocks. This lesson plan is part of the "Living with a Volcano in Your Backyard" curriculum, created through a partnership between Mount Rainier National Park and the US Geological Survey Cascades Volcano Observatory.

    Very poor

    Average: 1.0 (35 ratings)

    Type:
    Lesson Plan
    Grade level:
    Sixth Grade-Twelfth Grade
    Subjects:
    Earth Science, Geology, History, Landscapes, Volcanoes
    Keywords:
    deposit, Electron Mudflow, glacier, lahar, lava flow, National Lahar, Law of Superposition, pyroclastic flow, radiometric dating, Round Pass Mudflow, stratigraphy, tephra, volcano, Mount Rainier National Park, Cascade Volcano Observatory, mount rainier
  • A ruler is used to measure the layers in a completed geology shoebox.

    Model depositional processes from volcanically active areas using sediments in a shoebox. Interpret geologic events from layers in a classmate's shoebox model and draw a stratigraphic column graphic. This lesson plan is part of the "Living with a Volcano in Your Backyard" curriculum, created through a partnership between Mount Rainier National Park and the US Geological Survey Cascades Volcano Observatory.

    Very poor

    Average: 1.0 (34 ratings)

    Type:
    Lesson Plan
    Grade level:
    Fifth Grade-Tenth Grade
    Subjects:
    Earth Science, Geology, Volcanoes
    Keywords:
    Law of Superposition, stratigraphic column, volcanic ash, volcano, measure, demonstrate, compare, interpret, observe, apply, analyze, conclude, tephra, lahar, pyroclastic flow, stream gravel, lava flow, landslide, rock fall, mount rainier, Mount Rainier National Park, Living with a Volcano in Your Backyard, Cascades Volcano Observatory
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