Field Trips, Science Labs

Climate Science in Focus Field Trip

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Grade Level:
High School: Ninth Grade through Twelfth Grade


In “Climate Science in Focus (Field Trip),” students have a chance to collect real streamflow data either in a neighborhood stream or at a NPS site. Designed around 9th grade Next Generation Science Standards, it can be easily adapted down for middle school or up for advanced high school classes. 

The Earth consists of four systems: the atmosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere, and biosphere, which are interconnected. Changes to one part of the system can have consequences on the others. Changes to global or regional climate can be caused by changes in the sun's energy output or Earth's orbit, tectonic events, ocean circulation, volcanic activity, glaciers, vegetation, and human activity.

Water is essential for life on Earth. Relative water availability is a major factor in designating habitats for different living organisms. In the United States, things like agriculture and water rights are hot topics. Current models predict that average global temperatures are going to continue to rise even if regional climate changes remain complex and varied. These changes will have an impact on all of Earth's systems. 

Studies have shown that climate change is driven not only by natural effects but also by human activities. Knowledge of the factors that affect climate, coupled with responsible management of natural resources, are required for sustaining these Earth systems. Long-term change can be anticipated using science-based predictive models, making science and engineering essential to understanding global climate change and its possible impacts.

National Parks can serve as benchmarks for climate science trends and effects over time because they are protected areas void of human influence. Understanding current climate trends will help set students up to be successful in interpreting and engaging in discussions about climate change, which will lead to informed decision making.

Option 1: Schedule a field trip with Devils Postpile National Monument or your local NPS site to bring students on a hydrology program. to find sites in your area.
Option 2: Take students out to a local stream for a teacher led lesson on hydrology (Procedure 5.1). Visit for information on having the equipment mailed to you.
Option 3: Schedule a ranger from Devils Postpile National Monument to come into your classroom to discuss hydrology.
Option 4: Set up a virtual lesson with Devils Postpile National Monument or another NPS site to bring a lesson on hydrology into the classroom. Contact Devils Postpile National Monument for further information. 


Students will be able to:
1.      Complete a stream assessment lab activity
2.      Record and analyze appropriate data and report findings through an appropriate medium


Most of the materials for this unit are provided in the Stream Flow River Study Trunk or as downloadable files.


Download Instructions for Teachers

Download Measuring and Calculating Stream Flow worksheet

Download Stream Flow Procedure

Last updated: October 5, 2015