Lesson Plan

Salamander Monitoring Field Trip - Middle School (North Carolina)

girl viewing salamander
Two middle school girls look at the salamander they captured during their field trip to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

NPS Photo - Susan Sachs

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Grade Level:
Sixth Grade-Eighth Grade
in the park
Salamanders, long-term monitoring, biological inventory, acid deposition, phenology monitoring, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, graphing data sets, scatter plots


The Great Smoky Mountains are known as the “Salamander Capital of the World!” Salamanders are an especially abundant and diverse group in the Great Smokies. There are 30 species of salamanders within the boundaries of the Park. Since salamanders breathe through their skin they are more susceptible to water and air pollution. During this study students will work in groups to collect and record data in taking an inventory in monitoring of many of the salamanders in the park.


1) use the scientific method while studying biodiversity
2) describe the steps in scientific inquiry
3) learn the identifying characteristics between different species of salamanders
4) understand the biodiversity of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
5) learn the threats to specific habitats in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
6) recognize the threats to aquatic and terrestrial salamanders
7) explain why it is important to study animal populations
8) demonstrate the ability to collect and record data
9) demonstrate the ability to graph scatter-plot data
10) determine through inference a predictor of salamander behavior,
11) understand what the term "Stewardship" means
12) how the students can become a steward in their school and their community

Last updated: April 14, 2015