Lesson Plans & Teacher Guides
Wind Cave National Park is opened all year and teachers can bring students for regularly scheduled cave tours any time. Teachers may request a program that supports a particular classroom objective for any of the cave tours. Reservations for cave tours are accepted throughout the year. The park is opened all year (except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Days).
If you are planning a field trip to Wind Cave National Park the park has designed pre-visit lesson plans Learning About Caves that 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 lesson plans 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.
Wind Cave National Park's teacher's guide, Water in the Environment, leads teachers and students on a journey filled with activities that help students learn about the water cycle from the air to watersheds, to ground water and through cave and karst areas. The program will help students develop a broad understanding of the importance of our world's water.
The teacher's guide is broken into sections to help organize planning. The activities of each section build upon each other to develop the entire hydrology program or can stand alone to support a study of that individual unit. The program is available on the park's website Water in the Environment or by calling the park at 605-745-1132.
Curriculum Based Environmental Education Programs
Wind Cave has two on-site environmental education programs. Connections is designed for grades K-8 and helps students discover relationships between the mixed-grass prairie, the ponderosa pine forest, the cave, the plants and animals that live in these environments and themselves. Water in the Enviroment is a hydrology program designed for grades 6-12. Either program can be used to reinforce classroom studies and can be adjusted to coincide with particular school subjects. There are no fees to participate in these programs.
In the outdoor classroom of Wind Cave National Park students participate in structured, hands-on learning activities that reveal how ecological principles and natural processes work. The programs encourage critical thinking and cooperative learning experiences. "Connections" introduces specific ecological concepts that increase in complexity with grade levels. These programs are available late April and early May. Reservations may be made beginning early March. For reservations please call 605-745-1132.
Did You Know?
Alvin McDonald was the first systematic explorer of Wind Cave. He explored the cave from 1890 until his death in 1893. More...