Trip through Magic Valley
field tripsuggested grade levels: 9-12

view Idaho achievement standards for this lesson

This is a cross curriculum activity that consists of a field trip through Magic Valley. Prior to the field trip(s) students in each class would be divided up into groups and given a certain area of the Magic Valley that would be toured. Examples are Milner Dam, Hagerman Fossil Bed, Alligator Farm, one of the local fish hatcheries, and Shoshone Falls. The Digital Atlas can help groups of students with walking through the identification of butterflies, frogs, or whatever wildlife was seen during the trip, a group could identify any creeks or rivers that they would cross over, etc. Each group would then be required to present some basic information on what they might expect to see and a little bit about the site. Sources to be used for this would be the Digital Atlas of Idaho, as well as any encyclopedias, brochures, or other materials the students could gather up. During the field trip, each teacher could provide different aspects about the different sites. The social studies teacher could talk about culture from the different areas, science teacher about biology and wildlife in general, the students would be hiking for physical education, and for reading the students could find and get information. Worksheets could be made up that would have basic questions about different areas of the trip that the students would be required to complete and hand in.

1. Students will be able to identify species of wildlife.
2. Students will improve their physical fitness by hiking.
3. Students will learn how to use the Digital Atlas.
4. Students will be able to identify different cultures in various areas.
5. Students will work together as a team.

I. Give a brief description to the students of what would take place in the next week or two.
  A. Magic Valley Field Trip - Give students an overview of information on the sites that you and your class are planning to visit.
     1. Milner Dam
     2. Hagerman Fossil Bead
     3. Shoshone Falls
     4. Etc.
II. Assign students into groups and have them pick their site. Groups can vary in size depending on what you would like them to do. Encourage groups to each select a different site. If there is a site that no group wants to select, offer a reward for a group that will select it.
III. Allowing the students time to work on their pre-field trip presentations.
  A. Computer Lab (Digital Atlas of Idaho)
  B. Library
IV. Presentations- Groups should present their information on their site to the class. Groups should also answer questions about their place from the class as well as from the teacher. Encourage all members of the group to participate in the presentation, this also can be done by directing questions to particular members of the group.
V. Field Trip(s)
  A. Have students generate a worksheet containing basic questions for the site they researched. Their worksheet could include things like:
     1. What kind of wildlife would you expect to see? (make a checklist of possible species that could be seen during field trip)
     2. What is a useful resource to help you identify different types of species?
     3. What kind of vegetation was present?
     4. What was the climate like at each environment?
     5. From where do fossils come?
     6. What physical activity was done?
VI. Wrap Up
  A. What did students learn?
  B. What did they enjoy?
  C. What did they not enjoy?
  D. What could we do better next time?

Specific areas in the Digital Atlas of Idaho used in this exercise would be as follows: In Geology, students could research Parks and Monuments, Fossils and Artifacts, etc. In Biology, they could use the keys in each section to identify species. It also gives a good general background of different wildlife. Hydrology will be useful because we have a lot of fisheries and hydropower plants in the area. The Historical Geography is very interesting as well and is informative. Climatology could be useful as well and the information that is provided there.

Related Lesson Topics:
Geology: Geology Topics
Biology: Biology Topics
Hydrology: Hydrology
Historical Geography: Geography
Climatology: Climatology

Lesson plan by Jeff Lords, 2001
Idaho Achievement Standards (as of 7/2001) met by completing this activity: