Ozark National Scenic Riverways: Carved by Karst

Summary

Students will learn about karst topography and cave ecosystems and will explore the human and environmental factors that can have a long-lasting effect on them.

Coin Type(s)

  • Quarter

Coin Program(s)

  • America the Beautiful Quarters

Objectives

Students will learn about karst topography and cave ecosystems. They will explore the human and environmental factors that impact these geologic formations and will develop an informational poster to share what they learn.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Science

Grades

  • 7th
  • 8th

Class Time

  • Sessions: Two
  • Session Length: 45-60 minutes
  • Total Length: 91-120 minutes

Groupings

  • Whole group
  • Individual work

Background Knowledge

Students should have a basic knowledge of geography, topography, and ecosystems.

Terms and Concepts

  • Ecosystems
  • Karst Topography
  • Caves

Materials

Preparations

Lesson Steps

  1. Display and examine the Ozark National Scenic Riverways National Park quarter reverse design. Locate the National Park’s site on a class map. As background information, explain to the students that the United States Mint began to issue the quarters in the America the Beautiful Quarters Program® in 2010. By the time the program ends in 2021, there will be a total of 56 designs on the back of the coin. Each design will focus on a different national site—one from each state, territory, and the District of Columbia.
  2. Explain that the Ozark National Scenic Riverways established in 1964 to protect 134 miles of the Current and Jacks Fork Rivers in the Ozark Highlands of southeastern Missouri. The park encompasses 80,785 acres of unique natural resources, including a world-class spring system that is unparalleled in North America, more than 400 caves, and other special geologic features.
  3. Ask the students what they know about karst topography. Explain that the geologic structures underneath the earth are made of soluble limestone and dolomite. Water has worn away passages underground. Water-filled passages are called springs, and those that were formerly filled with water are caves.
  4. Invite the students to learn more about karst topography and caves using the Ozark National Scenic Riverways websites you bookmarked. As a class, using the “Capture the Causes” worksheet, identify the human and environmental factors that can affect the geologic formations found in the Ozarks. As they compile their research, have students identify ways people can avoid causing damage during their visit to the park.
  5. Distribute the rubric and materials for the final project. Have students use the information they gathered in the “Capture the Causes” worksheet to design a poster to inform people about the delicate balance of karst topography. Have them include information about what park visitors should to do avoid damaging the Ozarks ecosystem.
     

Differentiated Learning Options

  • Have the students explore the different species present in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways ecosystem and analyze the relationships between ecosystems and human activity and the factors that threaten or enhance species survival.
  • Use a graphic organizer in place of the “Capture the Causes” worksheet.
     

Enrichments/Extensions

  • Have the students create a multi-media presentation about the park’s topography and ecosystem.
  • Explore other similar lesson plans including What are the Reasons?: Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park.
     

Assess

Capture the Causes Worksheet

Directions: Using the spaces below, capture human and environmental factors that can disturb the delicate balance of karst topography and cave ecosystems.
 

Human Factors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Environmental Factors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Core Standards

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.6 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 6
Cluster: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
Standards:

  • RI.6.7. Integrate information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue.
  • RI.6.8. Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, distinguishing claims that are supported by reasons and evidence from claims that are not.
  • RI.6.9. Compare and contrast one author’s presentation of events with that of another (e.g., a memoir written by and a biography on the same person).

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.6 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 6
Cluster: Text Types and Purposes
Standards:

  • W.6.1. Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.
    • Introduce claim(s) and organize the reasons and evidence clearly.
    • Support claim(s) with clear reasons and relevant evidence, using credible sources and demonstrating an understanding of the topic or text.
    • Use words, phrases, and clauses to clarify the relationships among claim(s) and reasons.
    • Establish and maintain a formal style.
    • Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from the argument presented.
  • W.6.2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
    • Introduce a topic; organize ideas, concepts, and information, using strategies such as definition, classification, comparison/contrast, and cause/effect; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., charts, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
    • Develop the topic with relevant facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples.
    • Use appropriate transitions to clarify the relationships among ideas and concepts.
    • Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.
    • Establish and maintain a formal style.
    • Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from the information or explanation presented.
  • W.6.3. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.
    • Engage and orient the reader by establishing a context and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally and logically.
    • Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, and description, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.
    • Use a variety of transition words, phrases, and clauses to convey sequence and signal shifts from one time frame or setting to another.
    • Use precise words and phrases, relevant descriptive details, and sensory language to convey experiences and events.
    • Provide a conclusion that follows from the narrated experiences or events.

National Standards

Discipline: Social Studies
Domain: All Thematic Standards
Cluster: People, Places, and Environment
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

Teachers should:

  • Enable learners to use, interpret, and distinguish various representations of Earth such as maps, globes, and photographs, and to use appropriate geographic tools
  • Encourage learners to construct, use, and refine maps and mental maps, calculate distance, scale, area, and density, and organize information about people, places, regions, and environments in a spatial context
  • Help learners to locate, distinguish, and describe the relationships among varying regional and global patterns of physical systems such as landforms, climate, and natural resources, and explain changes in the physical systems
  • Guide learners in exploring characteristics, distribution, and migration of human populations on Earth’s surface
  • Have learners describe how people create places that reflect culture, human needs, current values and ideals, and government policies
  • Provide opportunities for learners to examine, interpret, and analyze interactions of human beings and their physical environments, and to observe and analyze social and economic effects of environmental changes, both positive and negative
  • Challenge learners to consider, compare, and evaluate existing uses of resources and land in communities, regions, countries, and the world
  • Direct learners to explore ways in which Earth’s physical features have changed over time, and describe and assess ways historical events have influenced and been influenced by physical and human geographic features

Discipline: Social Studies
Domain: All Disciplinary Standards
Cluster: Geography
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

Teachers should:

  • guide learners in the use of maps and other geographic representations, tools, and technologies to acquire, process, and report information from a spatial perspective
  • enable learners to use mental maps to organize information about people, places, and environments in a spatial context
  • assist learners to analyze the spatial information about people, places, and environments on Earth’s surface
  • help learners to understand the physical and human characteristics of places
  • assist learners in developing the concept of regions as a means to interpret Earth’s complexity
  • enable learners to understand how culture and experience influence people’s perceptions of places and regions
  • provide learners opportunities to understand and analyze the physical processes that shape Earth’s surface
  • challenge learners to consider the characteristics and spatial distribution of ecosystems on Earth’s surface
  • guide learners in exploring the characteristics, distribution, and migration of human populations on Earth’s surface
  • help learners to understand and analyze the characteristics, distribution, and complexity of Earth’s cultural mosaics
  • have learners explore the patterns and networks of economic interdependence on Earth’s surface
  • enable learners to describe the processes, patterns, and functions of human settlement
  • challenge learners to examine how the forces of cooperation and conflict among people influence the division and control of Earth’s surface; help learners see how human actions modify the physical environment
  • enable learners to analyze how physical systems affect human systems
  • challenge learners to examine the changes that occur in the meaning, use, distribution, and importance of resources
  • help learners to apply geography to interpret the past and present and to plan for the future
  • enhance learners’ abilities to ask questions and to acquire, organize, and analyze geographic information so they can answer geographic questions as they engage in the study of substantive geographic content