For Middle School Educators
A field trip to Longhorn Cavern State Park gives middle school students a practical look at the natural and human forces that shaped this area of the Texas Hill Country. Students will understand the chemical and geologic processes that created the park. Texas history comes alive through stories of Comanche, Texas Rangers, Civil War soldiers, and more. Students will enjoy easy to moderate outdoor exercise while encouraging a lifelong appreciation for Texas State Parks.
Longhorn Cavern State Park is full of learning opportunities for middle school students. Some of the objectives educators may wish to introduce/reinforce in their pre- and post-visit lessons are:
- How erosion and plate tectonics created the Llano Uplift in central Texas.
- How rainwater (H2O) and carbon-dioxide (CO2) combine into a liquid solution called carbonic acid (H2CO3).
- 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, CaCO3) creates cave formations.
- How Longhorn Cavern was used by prehistoric peoples and other Native Americans, including the Comanche.
- How three Texas Rangers rescued a young girl from the Comanche after the Council House Fight.
- How Longhorn Cavern played an important role in the Civil War.
- How the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) developed Longhorn Cavern State Park during the Great Depression.
- How regular outdoor exercise benefits our bodies.
- How Texas State Parks support lifelong physical recreation.
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.