For Elementary School Educators
A field trip to Longhorn Cavern State Park gives elementary school students an engaging introduction to the natural sciences, including geology, biology, and chemistry. Students will experience the unique above and below ground ecosystems and their inhabitants. Students will also enjoy easy to moderate exercise in a beautiful Texas State Park setting.
Longhorn Cavern State Park is full of learning opportunities for elementary school students. Some of the objectives educators may wish to introduce/reinforce in their pre- and post-visit lessons are:
- How rainwater (a liquid) and carbon-dioxide (a gas) combine into a liquid solution called carbonic acid.
- How carbonic acid dissolves sedimentary rock like limestone, forming caves and sinkholes.
- How flowing carbonic acid (in the form of an underground river) further eroded and carved Longhorn Cavern.
- How dissolved limestone (calcium carbonate) creates cave formations.
- How people use calcium carbonate in their daily lives.
- What types of plants and animals live in the park.
- How animals like the tri-colored bat are adapted to cave environments.
- Why parks and conservation are important.
- How regular outdoor exercise benefits our bodies.
As one of Texas' most unique geologic and historic places, a field trip to Longhorn Cavern State Park can help satisfy a number of Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) requirements. Suggested TEKS modules focus primarily on Science, Social Studies, and Physical Education. Other TEKS modules may also apply.
Tools & Resources
- CavesLIVE – Lesson plans and multimedia about caves and karst.
- Civilian Conservation Corps (American Experience) – Teacher’s Guide based on PBS’ American Experience film about the CCC.
- Edwards Aquifer Authority – Education resources about the Edwards Aquifer and the issues affecting it as our region’s primary water resource.
- NOVA Collection (PBS) – Educator resources from NOVA’s broadcast and digital productions.
- National Caves Association – Information and teacher resources from the National Caves Association.
- National Park Service – Caves and karst outreach and education materials from the National Park Service.
- Scholastic – Online Theme Unit about caves.
- Texas Parks & Wildlife (TPWD) – Classroom resources and outdoor education from TPWD.
- TPWD: A New Deal for Texas State Parks – Explore how individuals, communities and landscapes in Texas were impacted by the New Deal Era.
- TPWD: Civilian Conservation Corps – Learn about the CCC and its work in Texas parks.
- Texas Children in Nature – Texas-focused lessons and tools for educators.
- USGS – Lesson plans and activities, maps, lectures, and more from the USGS.