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USGS Geology in the Parks

Science in Our Parks

The Science in Our Parks program is an innovative approach to education within the National Park System that enables students in upper elementary grades to do science within National Parks. The lesson materials reflect a course of action beyond the standard activity sheets for students or ranger talks on particular subjects. The lessons are designed to promote critical thinking and problem-solving skills in students through direct experiences modeled on actual field research projects. The instructional approach used in these lesson materials provides students opportunities to gain better conceptual understanding of science and mathematics through application of ideas and processes. The lesson materials are written for fourth through sixth grade educators and their students; and is designed to promote the mission of the National Park Service and to meet the goals of the National Science Education Standards (National Research Council 1996).

The Science in Our Parks: Cultural and Natural History of the Colorado Plateau program is designed to address problems, issues, and research topics common to Colorado Plateau using examples from Walnut Canyon, Sunset Crater Volcano, and Wupatki National Monuments. The goal of the program is to prepare students for one of three field explorations at each of these national monuments. After students participate in the field explorations, they are required to prepare a project to share with the National Park Service. The idea is to instill in students an idea of stewardship and sense of responsibility to the National Park Service and similar lands.

 

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