Red Clay Room
NPS Photo by Dan Austin
Caves are mysterious, dark, and packed with wonders to discover! They are home to many intersting formations (speleothems) and unusual life forms. The following lessons will help students discover what caves are, how speleothems form, what might live in a cave, and what Wind Cave is like.
If you are planning a field trip to Wind Cave National Park the lessons will be helpful in providing background information for your students so they better understand the unique features of Wind Cave.
If you are studying caves without intending to visit the park, the lessons will provide a basic understanding of rocks, caves, speleothems, what water does as it travels through the earth, and life forms that spend either all or part of their time in a cave.
Clicking on the titles below will take you the lesson plans.
Lesson 1: What Makes a Cave?
Lesson 2: Learning About Rocks
Lesson 3: Limestone in the World
Lesson 4: Understanding and Making Fossils
Lesson 5: Make a Cave and Make a Cave Part 2
Lesson 6: Cave Crystals (this experiment needs to be set up several days before you present the lesson)
Lesson 7: Build a Maze Cave
Lesson 8: What Causes the Winds of Wind Cave
Lesson 9: A review Speleo-Concentration
The Environmental Education Learner Guidelines addressed in these lesson plans are:
Strand 1: Questioning and Analysis Skills
- Questioning--Develop questions that help them learn about the environment and do simple investigations
- Collecting information--Locate and collect information about the environment and environmental topics
- Organizing information--Describe data and organize information to search for relationships and patterns concerning the environment and environmental topics
- Working with models and simulations--Understand that relationships, patterns, and processes can be represented by models.
Strand 2: Knowledge of Environmental Processes and Systems
2.1 The Earth as a Physical System
- Processes that shape the Earth--Identify and explain changes and differences in the physical environment.
- Changes in matter-- Identify and describe basic characteristics of and changes in matter.
2.2 The Living Environment
- Organisms, populations, and communities--Identify similarities and differences among a wide variety of living organisms; describe organisms' basic needs, habitats, and ways in which they meet their needs in different habitats
Systems and connections--Explain basic ways in which organisms are related to their environments and to other organisms.
2.4 Environment and Society
Places--Describe ways in which places differ in their physical and human characteristics.
Environmental Issues--Be familiar with some local environmental issues and understand that people in other places experience environmental issues as well
State or National Science Content Standards addressed:
4.L.2.1. Students are able to identify behavioral and structural adaptations that allow a plant or animal to survive in a particular environment.
4.L.2.2 Students are able to explain how size of a population is dependent upon available resources within its community.
5.L.3.1 Students are able to describe how natural events and/or human influences may help or harm ecosystems.
5.l.3.3. Students are able to describe how interrelationships enable some organisms to survive.
4.l.2.1 Students are able to identify behavioral and structural adaptations that allow a plant or animal to survive in a particular habitat.
4.L.2.2 Students are able to explain how a size of population is dependent upon the available resources within its community
4.L.3.1 Students are able to describe the flow of energy through food chains and webs
5.L.3.3 Students are able to describe how interrelationships enable some organisms to survive
5.S.2.1 Students are able to explain the interrelationships of populations, resources and environments
5.L3.3 Describe how interrelationships enable some organisms to survive