Caves & Karst

Distance Learning Module

 

 

 From the formation of caves by the movement of groundwater to mapping them and exploring their unique ecosystems to the importance of their conservation, this module is designed to explore the distinct environment of caves and the characteristics of karst landscapes. As a follow-up to our Freshwater Module or as a stand alone unit, this module provides everything you might need to teach about caves and karst.

Below you will find links to videos, experiments, and articles all about Caves and Karst. If you would like to complete the entire module - it will take about ten days. If you are looking for a more focused lesson, the module includes three main units: Formation & Mapping of Caves, Flora & Fauna, and Conserving & Protecting Caves. Follow the links below for activities and more within each section. This module can easily follow the Freshwater Module.

 

Introduction to Caves and Karst:

This introduction includes activities that should take about an hour and a half to complete. 

  • Watch this Caves Live video
  • Explore the topic of karst before heading underground into the caves with "Tropic Topic" from our Caves and Karst NI about the chemistry of soil and leaves in wet and dry karst zones (pgs. 23-29)
  • Answer the reflection section questions as you read - review your answers here 
  • Complete the FACTivity from "Tropic Topic" and measure different plants' transcription rates to examine their water usages (pgs. 31-32)
  • Watch this clip from Caves Live as an introduction to cave ecology

 

Formation & Mapping of Caves:

This sub unit includes activities that should take about 2 hours to complete.

 

 

  • Read "A Tale of Two Caves" from our Caves and Karst NI about comparing the morphology of two different cave systems
  • Answer the reflection section questions as you read- review your answers here
  • Complete the FACTivity from "A Tale of Two Caves" and explore the formation of speleothems by growing your own stalactite
  • Watch this clip from Caves Live about measuring caves
  • Watch this clip from Caves Live about using LiDAR
  • *Optional: to learn more about the use of LiDAR, check out "Beam Me Down, Scotty" and "Treasure Islands" in the Hawai'i-Pacific Islands edition NI*
  • Watch this clip from Caves Live about Glacier Caves

 


 

Flora & Fauna:

This subunit includes activities that should take about 2 hours to complete.

 

 

  • Watch this clip from Caves Live about cave fauna
  • Watch this clip from caves live about caves on other planets
  • Watch this clip from caves live about fossils in caves
  • Read "The Whole Kit and Kaboodle" from our Caves and Karst NI about the presence of land otters in cave systems and how their presence may have influenced the Tlingit people's beliefs (pg. 35-43)
  • Answer the reflection section questions as you read - review your answers here 
  • Complete the FACTivity from "The Whole Kit and Kaboodle" and design a time capsule to show future archaeologists what life is like now
  • Watch this clip from Caves Live about Paninska Jama in Slovenia

 


 

Conserving and Protecting Caves:

This subunit includes activities that should take about 2 hours to complete. 

 

 

  • Watch this clip from Caves Live about conserving and protecting caves
  • Watch this clip from Caves Live about White-Nose Syndrome in bats.
  • Read "Cave Conundrum" from out Caves and Karst NI about whether white-nose syndrome is responsible for all declining bat populations (pg.9-16)
  • Answer the reflection section questions as you read - review your answers here 
  • Complete the FACTivity from "Cave Conundrum" and simulate the spread of infectious disease - may need to be modified by class size 
  • Complete the unit by discussing or writing about the importance of caves and steps we can take to protect them 

 


Additional Resources: