Exploring Habitats Field Trip

Students sit in tall prairie grass while listening to kneeling ranger talking and holding up her hands with another ranger standing behind
Glacier exhibits a myriad of habitats


This is a whole-day program on exploring habitats. Focus is on comparing and contrasting different natural features on earth—mountains/land vs. lakes/rivers (different habitats) as well as on how plants and animals go through predictable life changes as they grow so they have specific structures and characteristics that help them to survive in each type of habitat—in order to find food, water, shelter, and space.

Grade: 2nd grade
Locations: Apgar Village and St. Mary
Duration: 4 hours, view our Exploring Habitats Hike Field Trip Schedule to see a basic outline for the day
Group Size: 45 students total, 2 groups of 22 or 3 groups of 15 students
Skills: Observe (using all senses), sort/classify, compare & contrast, match, count, communicate findings
Vocabulary: Habitat, food chain, aquatic, forest, alpine, grassland/meadow, adaptations, national parks, valleys, shelter, wild animals, beaver, observations
Essential Questions:

  • Why are there so many habitats at Glacier National Park?
  • Why does Glacier National Park protect habitats?
  • How do animals use different habitats to survive?
  • Do wildlife need multiple habitats to survive?
  • Why do animals live where they do? (or "How are animals suited for their habitats?")
  • Why do we preserve and protect habitat for animals/plants?
  • How does habitat loss impact animals/plants?
  • How do people use habitat?

National and State Standards:
Montana State Standards

  • MT.SCI.K-12.1 Students, through the inquiry process, demonstrate the ability to design, conduct, evaluate, and communicate results and reasonable conclusions of scientific investigations.
  • MT.SCI.K-12.3 Students, through the inquiry process, demonstrate knowledge of characteristics, structures and function of living things, the process and diversity of life, and how living organisms interact with each other and their environment.

Next Generation Science Standards

2-LS4-1 Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats.



Students will be able to:

  • List some of earth’s natural features that national parks like Glacier, protect– lakes, mountains, valleys, forests.
  • Name or draw an animal that lives in each of the alpine, forest, aquatic, or grassland habitats of Glacier.
  • Find and describe differences of what land looks like from place to place (hills, mountains, valleys, rivers, etc.) and why different plants and animals live in those different places.
  • Give another word that can be used in place of habitat and list the requirements all animals (and people) need in their habitats: food, water, shelter, space.
  • Show or tell one thing people should do to be safe when hiking in a place that has wild animals.
  • Describe a beaver’s habitat. (Tell which it is: aquatic, forest, grassland, or alpine.)
  • Tell a characteristic of a beaver that helps it live in its habitat.
  • Use senses to make observations and to sort, count, and classify various natural objects. Then try to identify those same objects on the trail.
  • Use bingo cards in a scavenger hunt activity to find evidence of organisms, food chains, and inter-relationships within habitats along the trail.
  • Make a number of simple food chains of organisms in Glacier.

Field Trip Logistics

Teachers wishing to have their students participate in the habitat field trip must have their classes divided into groups of approximately 20 students. For example, a bus of 45 - 60 students would be divided into 2-3 groups, of 15-20 students each.


Reserve Your Trip

Visit the Scheduling & Guidelines page to find the reservation form as well as tips for a successful day in the park.

If you have questions, email or call the Education Specialist at 406-888-5837.


Preparing for Your Trip

Students that spend time preparing for their visit get more out of a field trip to the park. Activities post-visit also help to reinforce information learned during the trip.

MUST READ! Follow this specially designed Exploring Habitats Field Trip Lesson Plan (719 KB pdf)

Suggested activities and supplementary materials:

Last updated: November 10, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 128
West Glacier, MT 59936


(406) 888-7800

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