Investigating Ice Age Floods

National Park Service by the U.S. Department of the Interior

Hands-On Science Lessons Adaptable for Grades K -12

This educator’s guide provides adaptable lesson plans and other resources to help you engage students with the forces that created our dramatic landscapes. This includes the most recent Ice Age Floods some 18,000 to 15,000 years ago, which crossed Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon, as well as the forces that created the rocks they eroded and more. Students experiment with scientific phenomena, ask questions, analyze and interpret data, construct explanations, engage in argument from evidence, and obtain, evaluate and communicate information. In short, they get to be scientists as they explore the awe-inspiring phenomena of our Northwest (NW) landscapes and the processes that created them through hands-on investigations, field studies, and other engaging projects.

One of our goals is to help students develop an appreciation of our unique NW landscapes and the immense area affected by the Floods. This also provides an ideal, place-based springboard to explore the Three Dimensions of NGSS: Disciplinary Core Ideas, Crosscutting Concepts, and Science and Engineering Practices. The cross-curricular lesson plans provide an inquiry-driven, experiential program aligned to the Common Core State Standards and environmental literacy, as well, in a way that inspires students and supports quality science education through memorable projects that infuse the arts and other content areas. When the lesson plans are delivered in sequence, a storyline develops, using the creation of our NW landforms as a compelling framework to help you cover core concepts and improve student skills. The curriculum should not compete with other curricular goals for classroom time.

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