Exploring the Grand Canyon A WebQuest for 4th Grade (Science) Designed by Annie VandiverContact Annie Based on a template from San Diego State University’s The WebQuest Page
Introduction This lesson was developed as part of the elementary science methods course at Roger Williams University, in Bristol, Rhode Island. The content was inspired by a book called Mountain Dance by Thomas Locker. The intent of this lesson is to introduce students to the concepts of geology, specifically erosion, but also includes meteorology, botany, zoology, environmental awareness and anthropology.
Learners This lesson is designed for Third Grade Science focusing specifically on Earth Science. Some research done on this field of science suggests that “students of all ages may hold the view that the world was always as it is now, or that any changes that have occurred must have been sudden and comprehensive (Freyberg, 1985)”. The lesson also touches upon other fields of study like plants and animals. In this field research indicates that “Elementary- and middle-school students hold a much more restricted meaning than biologists for the word "animal" (Mintzes et al., 1991). For example, most students list only vertebrates as animals. Elementary- and middle-school students use such criteria as number of legs, body covering, and habitat to decide whether things are animals.” Students will encounter these two subjects when working on this web quest and should have some working knowledge of Earth Science and Biology; at least enough to read and comprehend the information they come across.
Curriculum Standards • National Science Education Standards • Earth and Space Science • CONTENT STANDARD D:As a result of their activities in grades K-4, all students should develop an understanding of: • Changes in earth and sky • The surface of the earth changes. Some changes are due to slow processes, such as erosion and weathering, and some changes are due to rapid processes, such as landslides, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes. • Weather changes from day to day and over the seasons. Weather can be described by measurable quantities, such as temperature, wind direction and speed, and precipitation. • Benchmarks for Science Literacy • The Physical Setting • Processes That Shape the Earth • By the end of the 5th grade, students should know that • Waves, wind, water, and ice shape and reshape the earth's land surface by eroding rock and soil in some areas and depositing them in other areas, sometimes in seasonal layers. • The Living Environment • Interdependence of Life • By the end of 5th grade, students should know that • For any particular environment, some kinds of plants and animals survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all.
Process • You will first be broken up into groups of seven. • You can have the students count of be seven, or however you want. The make up of the group is not going to effect the outcome of the project. Students of varying learning levels can work in the same group. • Once you are in your groups you will choose a role to play in the group. • Spend about ten minutes with your group members discussing each role and what that person should be focused on. • There are descriptions of each role on the WebQuest, but circulate around the room and answer any questions that might come up. • At this point you should break off from your group to research the Grand Canyon in your field independently. • Remind them that it is ok to talk to their team mates and share information with them. • To begin your research investigate some general information about the Grand Canyon and take note of anything relating specifically to your topic. (There is a lot of general information on the Grand Canyon so you may want to consider dividing the list up with your group members. If you do this, be sure to let your team mates know when there is information on their topic at a particular site.) • Note: you do not need to read every web page word for word. However, you should scan through them thoroughly. Many of the web sites will have a lot of the same information, but there still might be something new on a page, so make sure you give each web page a good looking-over. If there are links to pictures, articles or even other web sites click them to see what it learns if you think it will be useful to your research. Don’t just look at a site’s homepage; navigate through the site. A lot of information will not be on the first page you see. • Crystalinks - Grand Canyon • Encarta article on the Grand Canyon • Grand Canyon Explorer • National Geographic - Grand Canyon • American Park Network
Grand Canyon National Park Information PBS article on Grand Canyon Protected Areas Programme Science and History at the Grand Canyon The Online Guide to Grand Canyon National Park Links to Articles - there is a portion of this web site in French. Just scroll down, the rest is in English. Online Dictionary – this is a wonderful site to help you define some challenging words that you might come across Now that you have seen the canyon and have some basic knowledge, dive into your specific field and collect information from the web sites linked below. Remember to tell your team mates if you find any information relating to their field. When looking at web sites remember to be critical. Ask questions like Is this source reliable? Does this information agree with other information I have found? Is this information fact or theory? How does this contribute to my research? You should consider looking at one of the General Information sites with the class and model asking these questions with them. Also remember to investigate your field beyond just the grand canyon. If you are a Zoologist, you should have information what species of animals live at the Grand Canyon and some information about these species. If you are an Anthropologist you should be aware of the culture of the peoples that have lived and currently live in and near the Grand Canyon. Geologist Zoologist Botanist Anthropologist Environmentalist Meteorologist Process (cont’d)
“Exploring the Grand Canyon” is a lesson organized into seven different focuses in the science and social studies fields. The web sites chosen do have a lot of the same information, but each one has something the other’s don’t so encourage your students to skim through each web site. Most of the links also don’t take you right to the site with the information pertinent to their field; the students need to navigate through the sites. This lesson is designed to be fairly simple for a teacher to implement. Most of the work is done by the students; the teacher simply has to be there to answer questions and observe the students’ work. As far as time goes, it’s up to you if you want to put a time limit on each section or if you just want to let the students do everything in their own time. A time limit might help keep them on track, however. Before the students begin this web quest they need to be introduced to the concepts of erosion, anthropology, biology and meteorology. The book Mountain Dance by Thomas Locker would be an excellent way of incorporating the concept of erosion into your Language Arts curriculum. You could also work in weather patterns and Native American tribes in the American Southwest into your Social Studies curriculum. Variations If you do not have the resources to get each student their own computer you could consider turning this into a jigsaw activity. Break the group up into seven groups allowing each group to take on one of the seven roles described in the web quest. Have each group research one field of study as a group. Next, reorganize the students into groups with one member from each of the original seven groups. Each student can teach the other students in their group what they learned in the first group. Then that group can write the final report to congress arguing whether or not the Grand Canyon should be made into a National Park. If you find you do not have enough students to make groups of seven, you could consider taking out a few of the roles. You could also eliminate a role if you feel that your students are not prepared to do research in that field. Process (cont’d)
Geologist • As you gather information you should be looking to answer these questions: • How was the Grand Canyon formed? • How does erosion work? • What are some other examples of erosion in America? • What sort of materials make up the Grand Canyon? • What can we learn from the Grand Canyon in regards to geology? • Dirtmeister • Grand Canyon National Park - Geological Story • Grand Canyon Explorer - Geology of the Grand Canyon • Wilner - Grand Canyon • Erosion from About.com • Links to information on Erosion *Remember to tell your team mates if you come across information that may help them
Zoologist • As you gather information you should consider these questions: • What kinds of animals live in the Grand Canyon National Park? • Why do they live in this environment? • How can these animals be saved? • Grand Canyon Park Flora and Fauna • Grand Canyon Animals • Grand Canyon National Park Foundation • What kinds of animals and plants live at Grand Canyon National Park? • Kaibab Squirrel • Mule Deer • Desert Animals • Northern Arizona Wildlife • Squirrel Species * Remember to tell your team mates if you come across information that may help them. Hint: consider looking for the word Fauna when scanning through articles and web pages
Botanist • As you gather information you should consider thefollowing questions: • What kinds of plants live in and around the Grand Canyon? • What about the Grand Canyon provides these plants with an optimal environment? • How can these plants be preserved? • Land Use Histor of North America - Colorado Plateau • Plants of the Grand Canyon • Grand Canyon Park Flora and Fauna • Utah Agave • Search engine for Plant species • The Desert Hiker's Guide - Banana Yucca • Desert Hiker's Guide to Flora and Fauna *Remember to tell your team mates if you come across information that may help them • Hint: consider looking for the word ‘flora’ when scanning articles and web pages.
Anthropologist • As you gather information you should consider these questions: • What kinds of peoples have lived in this area? • What have they left behind? • What kinds of peoples value the Grand Canyon as part of their culture today? • How will Americans benefit from the Grand Canyon being made a national park? • Human History of Grand Canyon • American Park Network • American Indians at the Grand Canyon - Past and Present • Arizona's Native American Tribes • National Park Service - US Department of the Interior • The Natural American • Indian Country Today • Native Americans – Crystalinks • Side Canyon - Travel Southwest • The Brown Quarterly - The Color of Life • Human Drama of the Past • Anasazi Tribe *Remember to tell your team mates if you come across information that might help them.
Environmentalist • As you gather information consider these questions: • What are some threats facing the environmental safety of the Grand Canyon? • What have people done to damage the Grand Canyon? • How can people contribute to preserving the Grand Canyon? • National Park Service • National Park Service • American Park Network • Grand Canyon Trust • PBS - Meeting the Natives • Seattle Times Article *Remember to tell your team mates if you come across information that may help them.
Meteorologist • As you gather information consider these questions: • What is the climate of the Grand Canyon? • How does this climate effect the local wildlife, plants and people? • How is this climate unique? • Grand Canyon National Park • Grand Canyon Climate and Weather from About.com • Local Weather Forecast for Grand Canyon • Climate is what you expect, weather is what you get *Remember to tell your team mates if you come across information that may help them.
Resources Needed All of the students will need to have access to their own computer in order to complete this assignment. One teacher should be sufficient to supervise this activity.
Evaluation There are two evaluations connected to this assignment; a group evaluation and an individual evaluation. You can use one of the two or both of them. more
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Conclusion This lesson has so much in it that any student will be able to find something in it that they will enjoy. It is fairly concise so that it will fit into one or two periods and the subject lends itself to almost every discipline. Obviously it is based in science, but when students are learning about the different climates at the Grand Canyon, you could take the opportunity to have a geography lesson about Arizona or deserts in the world. The anthropology section lends itself to the historical aspect of the Grand Canyon with the peoples that have lived in that area. The geology section allows for a lesson on plate tectonics or even a lesson on pre-history. There are so many places that this lesson could be taken to it does not even have to be based in Science. Wherever you take it, what remains consistent with this lesson is that students are learning about the Grand Canyon. It is an awesome place, in the true sense of the word, and most students may never get an opportunity to see it. This WebQuest will allow those students that will never see the Grand Canyon an opportunity to explore it. For those students that will see the Grand Canyon, they will have a deeper appreciation of it because of what they learn in this lesson.
Credits & References This WebQhest was based on a template found on The WebQuest Page. The images found here were thanks to Google Images. The specific sites where each picture was found is listed below. Geologist Picture Zoologist Picture Botanist Picture Anthropologist Picture Environmentalist Picture Meteorologist Picture Conclusion Picture Any other pictures seen in this presentation were found in ClipArt from Microsoft Office.