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Deep Inside a Cavern

How do stalactites and stalagmites grow hundreds of feet inside the Earth? Explore an original cave, constructed inside a box.

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Caving is an adventure for spelunkers who explore caverns around the world! Students research how subterranean caves were formed. Rainwater containing carbonic acid erodes limestone to form caverns filled with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites. Modern technology makes it possible to find hidden caves. Learn about amazing cave features such as rivers, caverns, and creatures (think bats and beyond). Students create their own imaginary cave.
    2. Here are some ideas to get the cave started. Students use Crayola® Colored Pencils, draw the entrance to the cave on the bottom of a shoe box. Cut out the opening with Crayola Scissors.
    3. Use Crayola Model Magic to cover the area around the cave entrance. To create rock- or vegetation-like colors of Model Magic, rub color from a Crayola Washable Marker onto white modeling compound. Knead, adding more marker color to get the desired shade. Flatten the Model Magic and press it onto the box. Attach it to the box with Crayola School Glue. Air-dry the entrance.
    4. Color the inside of the box and its lid to resemble the inside of a cave.
    5. Using Model Magic, students form stalactites, stalagmites, and other cave formations. Vary colors of the formations, just like in a real cave. Glue them to the roof and floor of the cave. Air-dry the formations.
    6. Glue the lid to the top of the box to seal the cave. Air-dry before displaying.
  • Standards

    LA: Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases.

    LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts independently and proficiently.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    LA: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.

    SCI: Ask questions about the natural and human-built worlds.

    SCI: Construct drawings or diagrams as representations of events or systems.

    SCI: Construct original explanations of phenomena using knowledge of accepted scientific theory and linking it to models and evidence.

    SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of their experiences and ideas.

    VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of their ideas.

    VA: Describe and place a variety of art objects in historical and cultural contexts.

  • Adaptations

    Organize a class field trip to a local cave site. Prior to the day of the field trip. Students compose questions that they have about caves. Organize these questions into a worksheet for students to refer to during the trip. After the event, students post new learning to a class blog.

    In small groups, students research animal that live in caves. Investigate how they move about in the darkness, what they eat, and why they live in these habitats. Construct a chart organizing research and be prepared to present this information to classmates.

    How have humans used caves in the past? Students investigate this question and use Crayola Colored Pencils to illustrate the various uses caves have had for caves in the past. Students write a brief paragraph of explanation which will accompany each illustration.

    Students research prehistoric cave art. Who is credited with these artworks? When were the artworks created? Where are these located? Students draw symbols similar to the cave art and organize their research into short paragraphs to accompany the symbols.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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