Educator's Packet


Enclosed in the packet, you will find great background information and classroom activities suitable to use before the webcast or afterward to reinforce learning. A brief summary of some of the activities follow:

"Welcome to the Underground"

Troglobites, troglophiles, cave pearls—what do these terms mean? This special article and poster reprint from "Science and Children" provides excellent background information on caves and cave life. The beautiful poster captures a snapshot of life in a cave making an excellent bulletin board addition to excite students about the webcast. But don′t forget to look on the back of the poster; it′s full of more information and some great activities, too. Students can try their hand at creating stalactites and stalagmites, and constructing karst watersheds. Several activities center around the special challenges cave critters face in this unique ecosystem. Students can imagine life as a bat mother as she searches for her baby in total darkenss! This incredible packet alone can your class busy for days.

"Discover Bats!"

Bat Conservation International (BCI) has created a comprehensive dynamic curriculum on bats. We've included a sampling of activities from the curriculum to complement the webcast. "Finding Bats" creates student awareness about where bats can live in your own neighborhood. A unique activity, "Exploring Bat Caves," teaches students about how the different physical shapes of caves help predict if the cave is suitable for bat hibernation or a bat nursery. This great activity combines physical science, biology and geology concepts all in one super lesson. Ever wonder just how much you'd be willing to pay to get rid of the harassing mosquitoes on a summer evening? In "Calculating the Value of Bats" activity, you will be amazed at the services that bats are providing for us. The complete "Discover Bats" curriculum can be located and ordered at www.batcon.org under the catalogue link. While you're visiting the site, check out all the other great materials available from BCI.

"Natural Bridge Caverns: The Explorer"

Natural Bridge Caverns is another wonderful Texas cave. This packet includes a lesson plan designed for use with a field trip to Natural Bridge Caverns, but teachers will find the practical information useful on a field trip to any public cave. An extensive page of the geology of Natural Bridge Cavern will help students better understand the formation of the cave. An excellent graphic depiction of a cross-section of the cavern is included.

"Exploring Caves"

We′ve included a sampling of activities from the USGS (United States Geological Service) web site, a "must visit site" for any cave information seeker. In this packet you′ll find several lessons from their "Exploring Caves" curriculum including illustrations of common cave animals. Don′t miss the extensive list of multimedia resources in this section! Be sure to visit the website for the complete listing of activities.

We also recommend that you visit the following web sites:

National Park Service Sites – The NPS has done an outstanding job with classroom activities and curriculum along with extensive background information. You′ll find a "cave full" of information on these websites.

Ozark National Scenic Riverways: More Than Skin Deep – A Teacher′s Guide to Caves provides a wonderful Cave Food Pyramid and some creative activities including: Seepy Sandwich, Clay Caves and Let′s Make a Cave.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park – This website features the on–line version of Carlsbad Caverns National Park's teacher guide – About Bats, Caves and Deserts. The guide includes activities on earth science, plants, animals, bats, history and stewardship including a section on bus activities!

Mammoth Cave National Park – Offers a website that is almost expansive as the cave itself! Their "Glossary of Cave Terms" is worth the cyber travel. The site includes curricula for teachers and fact sheets and activities for kids. The "Shoebox Midden Dig" activity brings the cave to students by creating a mini archaeology cave dig in the classroom.

Nova: The Mysterious Life of Caves – Interested in new research that unveils how strange life-forms may have helped shape caves? This is the site for you! This website is a companion piece to the Nova special by the same name. The teacher section includes a unique activity regarding the construction of a"Microbial Townhouse".

Biospeleology – Sponsored by the Texas Memorial Museum at the University of Texas, this website has some incredible pictures of seldom seen cave creatures and fabulous information for higher-level students.

Borneo Caving Expedition (at http://www.northcoast.com/~rchilds/borneomainpage.shtml) – Online Educational Project: Robert Childs, a high school teacher, has created an impressive site about his adventures caving in Borneo. This site provides great background information, photographs, unit lesson plans and a fun, educational Acid Rock Lab.

There is an entire mysterious world under your feet awaiting your investigation. You don′t even need to leave the classroom to begin your journey; the first step is a click away. Visit our website for more information and links to sites on the Internet. Send those burning questions to us now for our experts to answer on the webcast!


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