A student looks up at the forest canopy in Olympic National Park

Sense of Place: Olympic

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NatureBridge's environmental science educators lead interactive online sessions designed to introduce the unique ecosystems, cultural features and natural history of Olympic National Park.


Program Format #

Two educators lead each 40 to 60-minute session as presenter and host using a video conference platform such as Zoom. Attending teachers participate as chaperones who observe and assist students as needed. Interactive technology tools may include Prezi, Jamboards, GoogleSlides, breakout sessions and participant polls.

Session 1: Orientation & Community Building 40 to 60-minute live session
Students will meet NatureBridge educators and work as a group to establish community agreements and guidelines. Students will engage in team-building activities that help to create a fun and safe learning space to share and interact for future lessons. Students will learn introductory information about Olympic National Park such as geography, ecosystems and human history. Students will participate in a land acknowledgement of the traditional tribes of Olympic as well as the students' home communities.

Session 2: Intro to Olympic Life Through the Rain Shadow 40 to 60-minute live session
Beginning at Ruby Beach’s Pacific coastal tidepools, educators lead students on a journey to the top of Mount Olympus and beyond to learn about the rain shadow effect that makes it possible for dramatically different ecosystems to flourish within a few miles of each other. Abiotic, biotic and cultural components (ABCs) of ecosystems are introduced with opportunities for students to identify ABCs in a variety of ecosystems. Interactive instructional techniques are used to increase student engagement and to promote connections with their peers while gaining a true sense of place in Olympic National Park.

Session 3: Build an Ecosystem 40 to 60-minute live session
Building on students’ understanding of ABCs and diversity within ecosystems, students will design their own ecosystems influenced by factors such as elevation and proximity to water that impact the abiotic, biotic and cultural features of their ecosystem. They will then explore how climate change would impact their ecosystem and explore resiliency within systems.

Outcomes #

Students will: 

  • Students will learn how striking patterns of rainfall on Olympic National Park’s central mountains contributes to its unique ecosystems. 
  • Students will understand the cause and effect of relationships that create diversity in Olympic National Park’s ecosystems.
  • Students will identify the three components that define specific ecosystems.
  • Students will describe how populations affect the organisms living in the various ecosystems.
  • Students will participate in a learning community with their peers.

NGSS Standards #

  • 3-LS4-4 Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity - Make a claim about the merit of a solution to a problem caused when the environment changes and the types of plants and animals that live there may change.
  • 5-LS2-1 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics - Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers and the environment.
  • MS-LS2-3 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics - Develop a model to describe the cycling of matter and flow of energy among living and nonliving parts of an ecosystem.
  • MS-LS2-4 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics - Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
  • Disciplinary Core Ideas: LS2- Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics; LS4- Biological & Evolution: Unity and Diversity
  • Science & Engineering Practices:  Asking Questions; Developing and Using Models; Construction Explanations; Communicating Information
  • Cross Cutting Concepts: Cause and Effect; Patterns, Systems and System Models, Stability and Change, Energy and Matter

Materials needed #

Access to a computer, tablet or other online learning compatible device. Paper and pencil, coloring materials and/or something to write with. 

Adult Expectations #

At least one teacher will be present throughout each live online session. Other adults may attend by invitation from the teacher or group coordinator. All attending adults must complete NatureBridge’s Participant Registration Form in advance of the session. 

It is the responsibility of attending adults to support student learning and safety during large group instruction and small breakout sessions by following the expectations listed below. 

  • Support students in staying on task. 
  • Address discipline concerns, while allowing students to be engaged and answer questions on their own. 
  • Demonstrate a positive attitude and model inclusive behavior.
  • Communicate with the group’s NatureBridge educator about the educational plan and offer constructive feedback when appropriate.

Schedule this Program #

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