Fifth-graders from Helen M. Knight Intermediate School studied science during a February field trip with rangers from the Canyon Country Outdoor Education (CCOE) program.
Through a variety of activities, the rangers helped students learn about a difficult concept in the fifth grade science core – the difference between physical and chemical changes in matter.
During the program, students learned that a physical change is one where the substance basically stays the same even though it may change its state. For example, snow melting into the soil illustrates the concept of physical change. A chemical change occurs when matter is fundamentally changed, such as seeds being digested by a kangaroo rat.
For the program, the fifth graders traveled to the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands National Park, where they hiked around Mesa Arch searching for evidence of both physical and chemical changes occurring in nature.
Students also performed experiments investigating how physical and chemical changes cause the weathering of rock. And they examined scientific equipment that measures air quality for a national database. Students also learned how ozone is both created and destroyed by chemical changes.
Canyon Country Outdoor Education is a partnership between the National Park Service and the Grand County School District that allows students to explore hands-on science in the outdoors.
The program this year will include upcoming fourth-grade field trips to Delicate Arch, second-grade field trips to Courthouse Wash and third-grade field trips to the Fiery Furnace all in Arches National Park. Parents are invited to attend the field trips, CCOE officials said.