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Lesson Plan #: AELP-ECL0202
Submitted by: Dr. Richard Oakes Peters
Email: docdk39@hotmail.com
School/University/Affiliation: Augusta State University (GA)

January 25, 2001

Grade Level: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, Adult/Continuing Education


  • Science/Ecology

Duration: Five 50-75 minute sessions

Description: In school and at field-based sites, students investigate the characteristics and history of mountain ecosystems.


  • Students will understand the ecological characteristics of a mountain biome.
  • Students will understand the ways that mountain biome resources are used by Man.
  • Students will learn about the history of mountain biome development.
  • Objectives:

  • Students will research the historical development and characteristics of a selected mountain biome ecosystem.
  • Students will discuss the nature and characteristics of a selected mountain biome ecosystem with community resource people.
  • Students will create audiovisual presentations that depict the history and characteristics of a selected mountain biome ecosystem.
  • Students will write research reports and term papers about a mountain biome ecosystem.
  • Students will design a stewardship strategy to protect a mountain biome ecosystem from degradation.
  • Materials:

    • community resource people
    • a mountain biome site
    • transportation to/from the site with parent volunteers to act as chaperones
    • books/magazines (see References below)
    • atlases, maps, and globes
    • computer software
    • Internet sites
    • films, filmstrips, slide/tape presentations, and videos
    • 8mm/16mm motion picture cameras
    • 35mm still photography cameras
    • video tape equipment


  • biome – A major community (flora & fauna) located on a specific continental sub-division of the surface of the earth.
  • ECOnauts – Students actively engaged in a variety of environmental studies.
  • research – A variety of strategies used by students (ECOnauts) to collect data for later analysis and evaluation.
  • Procedure:  
    Using a variety of print/non-print materials, students investigate the nature and characteristics of a given mountain biome. Students use maps of the community/surrounding region to locate the mountain biome site to be studied. Guided by community resource people/site resource people, students tour a selected mountain region. They observe types of flora/fauna; take pictures/videotape of phenomena observed; collect rock samples; test stream/pond/lake water; record sounds using tape recorders; and keep diaries/logs. Students create reports, debate the importance of mountain biomes, and propose strategies to ensure the continued physical well-being of a mountain biome. Assessment: Students demonstrate their understanding of the history and characteristics of a selected mountain biome by: describing the characteristics of the biome to others in print and visual form; creating visual representations of biome characteristics (tabletop dioramas, bulletin boards) — used to inform others; designing a stewardship strategy; correctly answering 80% of objective test items (true/false, matching, multiple choice, completion or supply); and writing reflective essays, poems, and songs. Four sample test questions are provided below:

  • Mountains are made from one or more types of rock: igneous, sedimentary, and/or ____________ .  ( Answer: metamorphic )
  • Mountains are called ___________ environments. ( Answer: alpine )
  • Which of the following types of wildlife would NOT be found in a North American mountain environment?
    a) goats
    b) deer
    c) sloths
    d) bears
    ( Answer: c )
  • Which of the following types of trees would NOT be found in a North American mountain environment?
    a) oak
    b) pine
    c) poplar
    d) date palm
    ( Answer: d )
  • Useful Internet Resources:  
    * National Council for Geographic Education

    * National Council for the Social Studies — ‘Mountains: A Global Resource’

    * The Nature Conservancy

    * American Forests

    * National Parks Conservation Association

    * Appalachian Mountain Club

    * Sierra Club

    * The Wilderness Society

    * The Wildlife Society

    Other References:

  • Brooks, M. (1965). The Appalachians . Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Co.
  • Kirk, R. (ed). (1996). The Enduring Forests . Seattle, WA: The Mountaineers.
  • National Geographic Society. (1985). America’s Wild Woodlands . Washington, DC.
  • Weidensaul, S. (1994). Mountains of the Heart . Golden, CO: Fulcrum Publishing.