Lesson Plan

Walnut Canyon Web Quest

Walnut Canyon Cliff Dwelling

NPS Photo

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Grade Level:
Fifth Grade-Twelfth Grade
Archaeology, Biology: Animals, Biology: Plants, Computer Science, Ecology, Science and Technology, Writing
1 hour 45 minutes
Group Size:
Up to 24
computer lab
National/State Standards:
Common Core: SL.5.2; RST.6-12.3; RST.6-12.4, W.5.7; WHST.6-12.6. AZ State Science: S1C1, S1C3, S1C4, S1C2 PO1, S2C2 PO4. AZ State Social Studies: S1C2 P03a, S1C1, S1C1 PO4, S1C2, S4C2, S4C5.


This web-based activity will walk the students through a virtual tour of many of the key natural and cultural sites around the monument while helping the students learn about the processes and history that makes this area so unique. Students will conduct an internet based inquiry investigation focusing on understanding how the plants, animals, people and places have shaped this unique place.


Guiding Questions: How has Walnut Canyon shaped the way of life for people throughout its history?

Critical Content: Learn how the terrain and contour of Walnut Canyon has shaped how plants, animals, and humans have lived in the canyon over time.

Student Objectives: Students will …

  • conduct an internet based inquiry investigation focusing on understanding how life has been shaped by Walnut Canyon.
  • use critical thinking techniques to answer cultural and natural history questions.
  • explore a National Monument using virtual technology.


The web quest itself is broken up into 2 distinct investigations, one focused on looking at the people and places that formed Walnut Canyon's unique history, and the second focusing on the plants and animals that make this area home. Students will be given one of the 2 investigation sheets to complete at the computers, which will create the groups for part 2 of this lesson. For the second part of this lesson, students will group up based on which investigation they completed. In these groups, students will compare the answers they found, and then create a poster or whiteboard presentation that explains what they found in their investigation. These presentations can be as simple or detailed as the teacher would like to make them.



  • Sign up for a day to use the computer lab.
  • Photocopy the worksheets (2) for the web quest.
  • Decide if the groups will be presenting from a poster or whiteboard.
  • Gather presentation materials and supplies.
  • Webpage for Groups: access the webpage for each group worksheet here.



Students will complete a worksheet in the computer lab, and a group presentation to share their answers.


Park Connections

It is suggested that classes visit Walnut Canyon National Monument and compare what they saw in the web quest to what they can see at the monument itself. Walnut Canyon National Monument is a great place to see how people adapted and used the land and naturally occurring elements around them to make life possible. Check out the Visitor Center and see some of the tools used by the Ancestral Puebloan people, hike the trails down to some of the cliff dwellings, or hike the Rim Trail to view various plant and animal species around the canyon.



  • Make a shoe box model of a cliff dwelling and life within Walnut Canyon.
  • Check out some of the virtual artifacts found on the Flagstaff Area National Monument's webpages.
  • Check out some readings about the Ancestral Puebloan people and their descendants.

Last updated: February 24, 2015