Mountains as Biodiversity Hotspots - Appalachain Expedition Part 1

The Expedition Begins

The Appalachians. Photo: TMIAfter weeks of planning and preparation, your expedition is finally going to begin. First you land at Logan County airport in Ethel, West Virginia. After renting a car, you drive 20 miles to the town of Hetzel.

Hetzel, the closest town to Blair Mountain, is where you will spend a day making final preparations for your expedition.

Final Assessment

Students have completed their expeditions. Now it is time to determine whether they have gained understanding of and appreciation for mountains. Why are mountains important? Students may come up with the ideas that mountains are valuable to them for their recreational uses-skiing, hiking, climbing, rafting, and so on. Encourage students to think about the many other resources that mountains provide (water, timber, mineral resources, food). If they haven't already, challenge students to consider their life without these things. Why do mountains need to be protected?

Module 5: Teacher's Guide

Time: 5 days, 30-45 minutes/day

Overview: Students wrap up their simulated expedition, reaching the highest elevation of the climb, and exploring the peak of their distant mountain and their local watershed as sources of life-giving water.

Objectives: To examine the important role that mountains play in supplying water to people.

National Standards Addressed (attached below)

Related Activities:

Classroom: Let it Flow (attached below)

Module 4: Teacher's Guide

Time: 7 days, 45-60 minutes/day

Overview: Students build on their knowledge of plants and people by exploring ethnobotany--the relationship between the two--locally and on their distant mountains.

Objectives: To consider how people make use of and rely on plants in their daily lives.

National Standards Addressed (attached below)

Related Activities:

Classroom: When Enough is Too Much (attached below)
Schoolyard: What For? (attached below)

Module 2: Teacher's Guide

Time: 9 days, 30-60 minutes/day

Overview: Students begin their expedition by investigating local and mountain biodiversity and exploring the environmental threats and conservation measures related to the biodiversity of these two areas.

Objectives: To become familiar with local native plants through the investigation of and comparison to native plants in the mountain environment.

National Standards Addressed (attached below)

Module 1: Teacher's Guide

Time: 8 days, 30-45 minutes/day

Overview: Students explore the importance of mountains, how mountains are made, and graphical representations of mountains on maps.

Objectives: To spark student interest in the investigation of mountains and to increase familiarity with mountain characteristics and formation.

National Standards Addressed (attached below)

Seeds: The Promise of Life

Seeds are the beginning and the end — miniscule miracles that contain all that's needed to produce a sunflower, cabbage, or great oak. Watching these seemingly lifeless objects burst forth with growth is enough to capture the imaginations of most kids, but there are lots of ways to explore the wonder of seeds in addition to planting them. In the Family Resource Room this month you'll find ideas for ways to make seeds come to life for your kids, literally and figuratively.

The Secret Life of Ponds

Water makes life on the planet not just livable, but possible. All organisms are utterly dependent on it for survival. Our bodies are 80 percent water. It covers three-quarters of the Earth's surface, but only 3 percent of that area is fresh water (the rest is oceanic salt water), and more than half of that is in the form of ice.

Advantageous Adaptations


Students will learn common characteristics of gymnosperms and angiosperms through observation.

Central Concept

There are two very distinct groups of seed-producing plants, gymnosperms and angiosperms. Their characteristics help them to adapt differently to their environments.

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Copyright © 1999-2012 National Gardening Association     | &      |     Created on 03/15/99, 

Last updated on 04/19/2014
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