Outdoor Ed class explores canyon life
Mar 16, 2005 | 672 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Last week, second graders from Red Rock Elementary took advantage of the balmy weather to explore Courthouse Wash at Arches National Park for signs of spring during their Canyon Country Outdoor Education field trips.

As part of their science core curriculum, second graders are required to “investigate relationships between plants and animals and how living things change during their lives.” Courthouse Wash made an ideal setting for these investigations. During the field trip, students learned how plants respond to seasonal differences. Employing this knowledge, they explored Courthouse Wash. The budding trees, new green shoots, and “water skeeters” skimming the surface of the water where the students carried out their investigations made it evident that spring has arrived.

Students explored the life cycles of insects by examining a variety of insect galls. They discussed how insects have specific plants they use as hosts for the formation of their galls. They then role played the larvae’s life cycle imagining what it would be like to spend a winter inside a gall, where it’s cozy and dry and food is all around. Students acted out butterfly behavior in all its stages, from egg to adult during the life cycle obstacle course, and observed the differences between butterflies and moths. The spotting of butterflies in Courthouse Wash gave students further evidence that spring has arrived. Finally, students examined the life cycle of a frog and acted out the life cycle, imagining what it would be like to start life as a swimming creature and grow into a land creature.

Canyon Country Outdoor Education is a partnership between the Grand County School District, the National Park Service and the Youth Garden Project. Part of the mission is to “to help students safely experience and understand the natural and cultural resources of our national parks, surrounding areas, and the earth as a whole; and to enhance existing state approved science curricula.” If you have a second grade student ask them about their trip to Arches National Park. Describing the field trips will reinforce the concepts they have learned. If you have students in other grades at Red Rock and HMK watch for upcoming field trips. Parents are always welcome to come along and join in the fun.

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