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PACE Lesson Schedule


Class Policies
PACE Lesson Schedule

Hi Everyone!
This section is a list of lessons and activities we have done in the PACE field trip class.   Each lesson is related to a particular field trip. The lessons are integrated with a little math, history, and science.  If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at physicsteacher2000@yahoo.com
(some of the info may not format correctly, I am still working on web posting)!

Field Trip Class Schedule of Lessons/Activities


Monday, June 23, 2003

  • Class Policies
  • Field Trip Forms (River Rafting/Floating/Hiking)
  • Orientation Q & A


Tuesday, June 24, 2003

                In order to introduce background lessons for the PACE field trips, I decided to show the PBS program The Gold Rush  The activity serves to refresh the memories of the students on the significance of the California Gold Rush and California history.

            We viewed 4 segments:

  • Discovery (relates to American River and how Sam Brannan hyped the presence of gold in San Francisco). 
  • Fever (how media was used to promote the Gold Rush).
  • The Journey (obstacles faced by the people who came to California during that time)
  • We also discussed examples of supply and demand during the Gold Rush (class discussion).

Hw.:  The film describes Sam Brannan as a skilled craftsman of hype because he promoted the Gold Rush when no one else seemed to care very much.  Can you think of events in modern life that are over-promoted or hyped by the media?  How do promoters get our attention today?  Is hype good or bad?  Limit you response to one page. 


Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Topographical mapping activity (students will learn how to read a topographical map).  This is useful for the hikers/rafters/floaters to determine elevation.  We start by introducing the common 2-dimensional map.  The topographical map is three-dimensional in that is shows elevation. 

  • In-class activity (symbols of a topographical map)
  • In-class activity (how to read a topographical map)
  • Independent Practice:  Using what you know about topographical mapping, pretend that you are Theodore Judah and map out a route for the Transcontinental Railroad across Donner Summit).  You will be given a topographical map and information to get you started. 


Thursday, June 26, 2003

Today students will learn a little about river terminology and anatomy. 

     Materials Source www.sacsplash.org

  • We start by talking about the water cycle diagramming (evaporation/condensation/precipitation/runoff)
  • In-class activity.  Given a river parts worksheet, students will be given a series of river definitions (such as tributary, rapids, runoff, etc), and they will use these definitions to label their worksheet.   Class discusses their answers. 
  • Given a map of the rivers of Sacramento County, students answer questions based on geography and location.  (e.g. what is a tributary of the Sacramento River? Which way does the American River flow?  Using a scale, determine the length (in miles) of the Sacramento and American Rivers)
  • View excerpt from Gold Rush Video on Hydraulic mining and its effect on the American River.

Homework:   Questions from the video and opinions on whether or not you would support hydraulic mining. (due Monday 6-30-03).


Friday, June 27, 2003

FIELD TRIP!  -  River Rafting/Floating/Hiking


Monday, June 30, 2003

Field Trip Reflection Questions (In class)

         Where did you go?  What did you do?

         What was the most enjoyable part of your trip?

         What was the least enjoyable part of your trip?

         Was it what you expected? 


      Hw. Pretend that you are writing a letter to an incoming PACE freshman for Summer 2004.  Critique your trip and convince the student whether or not the trip was worthwhile be honest!  


        In Class:  Yosemite Background Activity In groups, you will be given a card with some specific information on Yosemite (history, people, flora, fauna, geology etc).  You will be given 3 questions on each topic.  Share info with your group in which you have 5 min.  When time is called you switch questions with another group.  We will discuss your answers as a class discussion when you are done. 


Tuesday, July 1, 2003

We will start by discussing the purpose of the National Park Service.   The students will be presented with a little history of the NPS. 

  • In-class (Mapping Activity) plotting coordinates of 15 National Parks.  Students will answer questions based on their completed map. 
  • We then focus on Yosemite and the debate over its passage as a national park in 1890.  We list ways to value the environment.  (aesthetic, economic, educational, recreational, cultural, ecological, legal, social, spiritual, etc.) Students choose one and tell the class why it is important to them.
  • We wrap-up with how Yosemite National Park came into being 


Wednesday, July 2, 2003

Classification of Flora and Fauna:   Today, we focus on flora/fauna of Yosemite.  We will start on how organisms are classified based on physical characteristics.  We use a simple specimen, a leaf.  Students will be given a bag of 8-10 different leaves; they will list characteristics for each leaf and classify them.  This ties into how flora and fauna are classified in biology.  


Students will be given cards of a mystery Yosemite organism.  They will read the info on the card and determine whether it is flora or fauna, listing physical characteristics, common name, and scientific name (genus/species).  


Thursday, July 3, 2003

Focus on habitat. 

We start with a fun habitat game outside.  Class divides into two groups; habitat elements and animals.  The animals have 15 seconds to find three elements of habitat: shelter, water, and food.  Habitat students will use symbols of habitat so the animals can find them.   When the animals have all 3 elements, they live.  If they do not have the required amount, they die..(i.e. they dont make the second round).   The students then reconvene in the classroom and discuss what it takes for an animal to survive as well as obstacles.  


We then relate this to frogs and their population decline worldwide.  Yosemite also has been a site of frog study.


Frog Game! The students then split into groups of four and are given an envelope with 20 clues on what could be causing frog population decline.  They will categorize these clues into the following categories:  habitat destruction, ozone depletion, disease, harvest, acid rain, global warming, etc. etc.). 


After class discussion the students are given the Newsweek article:  Whats Killing the Frogs?   They will read, summarize, and include any thoughts on the Yosemite study. 



Friday, July 4, 2003:   HOLIDAY!!!!   J


Monday, July 7, 2003

Turn in your Yosemite Frogs article summary.

We meet in Computer Lab (Mendocino 2004) for a Yosemite Geology Online Lesson.

You will learn what events led to the formation of the Sierra Nevada Range and Yosemites U- and V-shaped valleys and canyons.   Familiarize yourself with terms such as uplift, faulting, glaciations, and moraines.

h.w.:  Field Trip Forms to be signed.


Tuesday, July 8, 2003

Return Field Trip forms

Tent Cabin sign-up

Lesson:  Geological Age:  How do they determine how old rocks are?

Mini lab:  Its a wonderful half-life.  Using pennies, students perform a simple heads/tails exercise to show how radioactive materials decay overtime.  We tie this in with geological age.  Students construct a graph showing decay and describe how scientists use these readings to determine how old a fossil or rock is.


Yosemite formation match game:  In groups, students are given nine sketches of various geological formations of Yosemite.  They are also given information strips with time frame and a description of what is going on in the sketch.  They are to successfully match the time frame with the geological formation.  After the activity, we discuss our results. 


Wednesday, July 9, 2003:

Turn in Yosemite Field Trip forms

Confirm Tent-Cabin Sign up.

Packing List & Itinerary.

Meet in Computer Lab:  Yosemite Virtual Field Journal & Hike!


Students will participate in an interactive exercise on creating a field journal.  Their mouse acts as a magnifying glass to examine rocks and land formations.  Students sketch landforms and research the debate between John Muir and Josiah Whitney.  They will also read of the legend of Tis-Se Yak and the image on Half Dome. 

h.w.  San Francisco Field Trip sign up (Angel Island/City Walk/Golden Gate Park)


Thursday, July 10, 2003

Lesson:  Art analysis

Students split into groups of 4.  They are given a print of Thomas Hills Great Canyon of the Sierra Yosemite 

Student record their initial observations and feelings about the print.  Class Discussion.

Students are given some background information on the print and painter. 

In groups, students will receive a question card.  They have 5 min. to discuss and answer.  Then they switch their cards with another group until all six cards are answers.  The questions are: (courtesy of the California Consultancy of Art Education)

  1. Look at the figures portrayed in this work.  Are they easy to locate?  Why do you think that the artist included figures? What meaning does the artist convey through scale?
  2. Thomas Hill reportedly used a photograph of this view as his source in painting this work.  Some reviews of his day criticized him for not relying entirely on direct observation.  Does an artist have to rely only on observation to accurately or faithfully portray a landscape scene such as this?  Is creativity diminished?
  3. When Great Canyon of the Sierra, Yosemite was exhibited in San Francisco in 1872, it was shown under soft gaslight in an otherwise darkened gallery.  Imagine yourself as a 19th Century visitor.  What impact would this work have had on you under these conditions?  Compare your observation with your view in a bright classroom.  Do you think the impact is different?
  4. Is it important for the viewer to know the title of this work, and to know that it depicts Yosemite (I just chose this one because we were going to Yosemite)!
  5. Describe the colors you see?  How do they make you feel?
  6. If you were to paint a portrait of Yosemite today, how would your painting differ from Hills painting?


There is no right/wrong answer.  Student observations are used to encourage discussion and thought.


Friday, July 11, 2003

Yosemite Bus/Hiking Group/Tent Cabin FINAL lists.

Lesson:  What do you know about Hetch-Hetchy?

Brainstorm with class their knowledge.

Students work in groups and read the Sacramento Bee article Water Bring Back the Hetch-Hetchy?  http://www.sacbee.com/content/opinion/story/2293162p-2714797c.html

***This is an opinion article; students should keep this in mind when taking sides****

They answer questions:

  1. Describe H-H in 1890.
  2. Describe what it looks like now.
  3. What was John Muirs opinion about H-H ?
  4. What was the purpose for damming H-H?
  5. Who was Michael OShaughnessy?
  6. What river flows into the H-H reservoir?
  7. How much water can H-H hold?
  8. Is there an alternative for San Francisco residents?
  9. What was the Raker act of 1913?
  10.  Besides drinking water, what else was water used for?


After going over some background information as a class, we split into groups

  1. Environmentalists
  2. San Francisco citizens
  3. Farmers of Modesto and Turlock
  4. Calaveras Dam Commission
  5. San Francisco PUC
  6. Congress
  7. Timer
  8. Recorder


Each group supports their side of the argument in 2 minutes. There is time for rebuttal/questions.   Congress will listen to each side and come to a decision.   We wrap up with the 1913 decision.  The purpose is to give some background info on H-H and show that it is still an important topic today. 




Lesson Plans for next week in progress.    Check back soon! 





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