Elementary Programs

Students measuring saguaro during program.
Students measuring a saguaro.

NPS Photo

Rincon Mountain District (RMD) – East District


Desert Diversity: The investigation and science of nature (3rd grade)
Discover the secret life of the giant saguaro, follow the trail of coyotes, Javelina, and deer, explore the unique, dry world of desert plants, and consider the past and future of humans in the Sonoran Desert. Over a 2 ½ hour field trip, students discover their “desert biome neighborhood”, by investigating the adaptations that allow plants and animals to thrive in their desert home. Students will also experience the life of a scientist and learn about the biodiversity of the desert. They will be exposed to the 5 components of scientific research (observe, identify, measure, record, and map) as they are led on a 1/3 mile hike collecting plant data. Students also collect data as park scientist do as they study the saguaro cactus. The program has a STEM focus and a strong science foundation.

This program is offered on Wednesdays and Thursdays from November 15, 2017 through March 30, 2018. Fieldtrips begin at 9:30 a.m. and finish at 12:00 p.m. The field trip is free and transportation is provided by the Friends of Saguaro National Park. Group size: 2 classes (approximately 60 students) Classes are encouraged to have lunch in the picnic area after the program.

A classroom pre-visit, one week prior to the field trip, provides the students with the base knowledge to prepare them for the field trip and enhance their place-based experience.


Desert Communities: Life in the desert 1,000 years ago (4th grade)
Students will explore prehistoric life as it was in the Tucson Basin 1,000 years ago using their imagination and hands-on activities. Over the 2 ½ -hour experience, students will explore the Hohokam Culture by creating a petroglyph, digging into the past with the tools of an archeologist, exploring the hunter-farmer-gatherer life in this plentiful land, and engaging in other everyday life experiences as a child living in the desert. The four, hands-on stations, nestled in a beautiful location against the foot of Tanque Verde Ridge, are curriculum-based and cover many State Standards.

This program is offered on Wednesdays and Thursdays from November 15, 2017 through March 30, 2018. Fieldtrips begin at 9:30 a.m. and finish at 12:00 p.m. The field trip is free and transportation is provided by the Friends of Saguaro National Park. Group size: 2 classes (approximately 60 students) Classes are encouraged to have lunch in the picnic area after the program.

A classroom pre-visit, one week prior to the field trip, provides the students with the base knowledge to prepare them for the field trip and enhance their place-based experience.


Tucson Mountain District (TMD) – West District


Fields Studies: An introduction to the scientific method and citizen science (3rd grade)
The preservation and protection of the natural and cultural resources, as well as the habitat of Saguaro National Park, requires park scientists and researchers to understand and monitor the resources and natural processes of the Sonoran Desert biome within the park by using science and the scientific method.

This field trip engages students in hands-on exploration of the plants and animals of the park through STEM, the scientific method, and inquiry based learning. At two different stations, students will explore plants and animals as a scientist or biologist would through observing, analyzing, measuring, and recording their observations in a provided journal. On the last station, students will reinforce their findings while exploring signs of life first hand.
The off-trail experience through rugged terrain will not only provide an opportunity for them to make a personal connection to nature, but will also expose them to Leave No Trace concepts.

This program will be offered on Tuesdays from October 31, 2017 and end on April 3, 2018 from 9:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. The field trip is free and transportation is provided by the Friends of Saguaro National Park. Group size: 2 classes (62 students maximum). Classes are encouraged to have lunch in the picnic area after the program.

A classroom pre-visit, one week prior to the field trip, provides the students with the base knowledge to prepare them for the field trip and enhance their place-based experience.

Hohokam Life: Life in the desert 1,000 years ago (4th grade)
The Hohokam Life field trip explores interrelationships of the desert plants and animals, and “those who came before”, also known as the prehistoric Hohokam people of the Sonoran Desert. Students will explore life in the desert as it might have been 1,000 years ago through discussion, short hikes, exploration, and hands-on activities. While visiting four stations, students will consider Hohokam communications using petroglyphs, the types of shelters they used in desert extremes, what life was like as a hunter-gatherer-farmer, and the different implements they used to store their food and possessions. Each station is approximately 25-30 minutes in duration including the hands-on activity. Classes are encouraged to have lunch in the picnic area after the program.

This program will be offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays from October 31, 2017 and end on April 5, 2018 from 9:30 - 12:00 a.m. The field trip is free and transportation is provided by the Friends of Saguaro National Park. Group size: 2 classes (62 students maximum).

Classes are encouraged to have lunch in the picnic area after the program.

A classroom pre-visit, one week prior to the field trip, provides the students with the base knowledge to prepare them for the field trip and enhance their place-based experience.


Biodiversity Survey (*new!): The scientific method, citizen science, and real life applications (5th grade)
In order for students to understand the impact of climate change on biodiversity, students will act as citizen scientists by hypothesizing, observing, analyzing data, and interpreting results. This cross-curricular, inquiry based program provides a pre-vist that will train students how to use the scientific equipment (tape measure, camera, Kestral, compass, GPS, and soil thermometer) needed for their survey.

Students will break into four independent groups and through using a key will identify all species on their plot. Each plot is unique providing students the opportunity to compare differences and offer suggestions as to why their results are different. Students, collaborating in pairs, use scientific equipment, along with individual field notebooks, to record data that will be used during the post-visit.

This program will be offered on Mondays from January 8, 2018 and end on April 2, 2018 from 9:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. The field trip is free and transportation is provided by the Friends of Saguaro National Park. Group size: 1 class (30 students maximum). Classes are encouraged to have lunch in the picnic area after the program.

Classroom pre and post visits are provided just before and after the field trip. The pre-visit provides the students with the base knowledge to prepare them for the field trip and enhance their place-based experience. During the post-visit, students will use the combined class data, and present real-life, critical thinking activities that promote protection and preservation of the park for future generations.

Last updated: December 20, 2017

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3693 S Old Spanish Trail
Tucson , AZ 85730

Phone:

(520) 733-5153

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