Teacher's Guide for ODYSSEYTM Worlds Below: Caving
Article / Page
"Soaring Underground: Adventure . . . and Science . . . in Caves," pg. 6
"A Direct Path to Ground Water" (Activity), " pg. 10
- Learn the basics of underground exploration from master caver George Veni. Then journey through a virtual cave on the Internet.
- Vocabulary, Cause and Effect
"Looking For Cave Life," pg. 12
- Using common materials and illustrated instructions, construct your own nonkarst and karst water tables.
- Modeling, Drawing Conclusions
"'The 'Stars' of Waitomo Cave," pg. 17
- Biospeleology is the study of life in caves. The entrance, twilight, and dark zones are home to quite different cave dwellers. Preservation of habitats is essential if cave life is to survive.
- Observation, Explaining Natural Phenomena
"The Case of the Cave Inn Caper" (Activity), pg. 20
- A New Zealand native takes the author on a tour of Waitomo Cave. The highlight is "Glowworm Grotto," where animals, not stars, illuminate the darkness. A sidebar explains bioluminescence.
- Structure and Function, Adaptation
"Alive and Well in Mexico: The Living Cave of Villa Luz,", pg. 22
- Use cave terms to solve the mystery of the disappearing jewels.
- Vocabulary, Context Clues
"Trapped in a Cave!", pg. 27
- Cueva de Villa Luz is a work in progress. Life forms flourish under conditions that would be deadly to most other organisms. Two sidebars explain chemosynthesis and speleogenesis. A third offers first-person insights from caver Louise Hose.
- Hypothesis Testing, Classification
"The Werkers: Rescuing Caves at Risk," pg. 30
- After a three-day rescue freed her from a vertical shaft, caver Emily Davis - herself an accomplished rescuer - relates her experience from a victim's point of view. A sidebar offers safety tips for exploring caves.
- Techniques of Investigation, Safety Procedures
"Triangle Cave" (Brain Strain), pg. 33
- A husband and wife team heads the National Speleological Society's Conservation Division, which oversees the restoration and cleaning of caves. The couple tries to repair both the deliberate and the unintentional damage people do in caves.
- Vocation / Avocation, Preservation Techniques
"Cave Diving Off the Big Island of Hawaii," pg. 34
- Weave a rescue line from triangle to triangle, forming a complete loop.
- Spatial Reasoning, Deductive Thinking
"Danger? Kartchner Cavern Open to the Public!", pg. 37
- Exploring lava tubes underwater presents varied challenges, from failure of an air supply to risky encounters with eels and sharks. A sidebar explains the formation of lava tubes.
- Observation, Cause and Effect
"What's Up? (Planet Watch and Backyard Observations)," pg. 40
- The Arizona Park System uses modern technology, up-to-date knowledge, and limits on public access to protect the pristine cave environment of the Kartchner Caverns. Cave experts have declared the preservation experiment a success.
- Science and Society, Eco-management
"Fantastic Journeys: Hooked on Midnight Cave," pg. 46
- Each May, this department offers a preview of summer stargazing highlights. Catch Venus and Saturn in the predawn sky of July 15th. Stay tuned for one of the year's best meteor showers, the Perseids, which peak after midnight on August 12th.
- Observation, Following Directions
Think Tank (Discussion Starters to Use Before Reading the Magazine):
- Go exploring underground in Texas with a teen whose family and friends enjoy caving.
- Active Inquiry, Inference from Observation
Classroom "Syzygy": Talk, Connect, Assess
- On the board, write the words snottite, soda straw, draperies, fried eggs, bacon, popcorn, moonmilk, scallop, and guano. Explain that all of these words relate to a scientific and sporting specialty. Call for guesses on what the endeavor might entail and what the terms might mean.
- Ask students who have visited caves to relate their experiences. Ask those who haven't to imagine what they might hear, feel, and see in a cave. List ideas on the board. Discuss caving as both science and sport. Make other lists on the board as students identify the dangers cave explorers might face and the scientific knowledge that might be gained from studying caves. As you read the magazine, check off items on the lists that are covered in the articles. Later, do additional research to probe issues that remain.
Pg. 6 - "Soaring Underground: Adventure . . . and Science . . . in Caves" Far Out!: Moving Beyond the Magazine
pg. 22 - "Alive and Well in Mexico: The Living Cave of Villa Luz"
- Talk It Over:
- How did the information in this article confirm or challenge your previous ideas about how caves are formed, what they look like, or what animals live inside?
- Would caving be fun and exciting? What might you enjoy about the experience? What would you find frightening or unpleasant? In your opinion, what sort of person makes a good caver?
- Archeology: Research cave paintings and other remains of human history found in caves. Use your findings to make a poster or bulletin board titled "Caves: Where Human History Is Preserved."
- Visual Arts: Using the cross-section from "The Virtual Cave" (pg. 8) as a model, design and draw the "ideal" cave. Include details to make your drawing realistic. Add a close-up of a spectacular cave feature to make it appealing.
- History: Select a famous cave (such as Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, or Mark Twain Cave in Missouri) and research its history. Find out who first discovered or explored it. What makes the cave famous? How is it unique? Can you find any interesting stories or legends associated with your cave? Condense your findings into a travel brochure. Include pictures you obtain from the Internet or from tourist information offices.
- Student Assessment:
- Write a paragraph explaining how caves are formed. Define and correctly use terms from the article in your explanation.
- Write a minidictionary of words associated with caves and caving. Give examples to expand your definitions. (Alternate assessment: Have students make up puzzles that use caving terms. Let them trade and solve the word games.)
- Talk It Over:
- What makes Villa Luz different from most other caves? What dangers arise from these differences? What new knowledge might research in Villa Luz yield?
- Every living thing needs energy. How is the energy source for the organisms in Villa Luz different from that of more familiar plants and animals?
- Psychology: Survey the class to determine how many students would (and would not!) want to explore Villa Luz. Compare and contrast attitudes toward excitement, adventure, and discovery with the dangers - real and perceived - of exploration in such a hostile environment.
- Astronomy: In the library and on the Internet, research hydrogen sulfide in the atmospheres of Jupiter and Saturn. Make a chart that compares them. Note similarities to the cave environment at Villa Luz.
- Creative Writing: Pretend you are one of the first to discover Cueva de Villa Luz. Record a journal entry detailing the wonders and hazards of your experience.
- Student Assessment:
- In a two-paragraph essay, describe the ecosystem of Villa Luz. Tell how its hydrogen sulfide atmosphere creates a unique environment. Explain how the life forms that thrive there get their energy.
- Draw a Venn diagram showing how photosynthesis and chemosynthesis are alike and different.
The longest cave in the world is the Flint-Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. According to the United States Geological Survey, it's more than 270 kilometers long.Class Research Project: Among other precautions, cavers always take along three light sources. Conduct an experiment to see how much "night vision" members of the class possess. Create several alphabet sight charts of differing sizes. From a set distance, have students find the smallest line they can read comfortably. Turn out the lights and repeat the test. Try again after pupils dilate. Make the room even darker by covering windows or glass doors. Repeat the test, logging general perceptions and individual variations. Would some students make better "cave dwellers" than others?
Simms Cave in Hannibal, Missouri, has been a popular attraction for over 100 years. It featured prominently in Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.Community Connection: Invite a geologist from a university, government agency, or private corporation to tell your class about caves in your state. (If a visit is not possible, arrange a telephone or e-mail interview.) Include what you learn in a map and tourist guide for caving in your state. If you live in a cave-free zone, choose another state to research. Write and publish a caving guide for your class and local libraries.
Michael Gannon of Pennsylvania State University studied bats in Jamaica's Windsor Cave. He found that different species roost in different areas. They also use different entry and exit routes.Whole-Class Collaborative Project: Learn about bats. Construct bat houses and get permission to place them in your community. Keep track of local bat populations in a data book. Design the book so that classes in your school can maintain and update it year after year.
In the fall of 1998, students on the Pacific Island of Guam discovered ancient cave paintings of constellations - including what we call today Cassiopeia and the Southern Cross.Large-Group Collaborative Project: Organize the class into three teams. Assign each team responsibility for a few pages of a "Backyard Observation Guide" for the summer months. Include how and when to view planets, constellations, and individual stars. Add information on the phases of the moon, meteor showers, and nighttime trivia. Compile the results into a booklet and print copies for your class, other students, and your school and community library.