Olmsted Island Nature Scavenger Hunt: Secondary

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The Great Falls Overlook

Olmsted Island Nature Scavenger Hunt: Secondary


In this program, students will hike from the Washington Aqueduct to Olmstead Island/Potomac Gorge Overlook. Along the way, students will participate in a scavenger hunt and compose a poem.

Students may not realize that there are clues around them in the natural world that can be used to determine what has happened in the past and predict what may happen in the future. During the activity, students will observe water levels, plant growth, and identify evidence of flooding.

At the end of the activity, students will be able to…

1. Identify biotic and abiotic factors along the trail.

2. Use evidence observed to make predictions and draw conclusions.

3. Determine how the natural features of the area influenced human ingenuity and invention.

The park partnered with Montgomery County (Maryland) Public Schools to develop this field trip day along with pre- and post-visit activities for your classroom. Completing the classroom activities will enhance student learning. The lessons include a mapping project, a critical thinking activity, a reader's theater, and several math and estimation activities. See Appendix A or our website for materials.

Location: Great Falls Tavern/Olmsted Island

Length: 1 hour

Cost: $5 per person

Activity Itinerary

Students will start at the Washington Aqueduct and make observations about vegetation, wildlife, structures, etc. and answer questions about the river and aqueduct. Following this, the group will walk down the flat towpath to the Olmsted Island trail head (about a quarter of a mile). Here, students will receive a safety message from the Rangers. Students will then walk down the Towpath and along the Olmstead Island Trail to the Great Falls Overlook. Students are encouraged to be aware/observe their surroundings. After a Ranger-led discussion at the Overlook, students will begin a native plants and animals scavenger hunt while walking back to the Towpath.

Plan Your Visit

A Plan your Visit Guide including your itinerary, pre- and post-visit activity worksheets, vocabulary, and safety reminders is available if you want more information. To get a Plan your Visit Guide or to schedule a field trip e-mail us.


Canal Classrooms Rangers

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Last updated: January 4, 2018

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