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Caves.

What Is a Cave?

A cave is any naturally-formed underground space large enough to enter. A cavern is a complex of passageways and larger subterranean openings (rooms). Caves are formed when a solution of carbonic acid trickles down through porous rock, such as limestone. Although the major focus of this unit is on solution caves, those formed by carbonic acid, there are also lava caves. These develop when the outer surface of a lava flow cools and the molten lava inside drains out. Pounding waves, swirling winds and melting glaciers form caves too. Talus caves occur when tumbling boulders fall on top of each other.

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Speleothems, the rock formations found in solution caves, form when water drips down into a cave and deposits calcite, forming long narrow tubes. These "soda straws" are the beginnings of stalactites (that hang from the ceiling like icicles), and stalagmites (that grow up from the ground). Other speleothems include flowstone that looks like a rock river, rounded polished cave pearls, and feathery aragonite.

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Cave Creatures

A large variety of creatures inhabit caves for all or part of their lives. Cave-dwelling species have the prefix troglo. Full-time cave dwellers are called troglobites. Troglobites are often blind and colorless. They require little food and have long legs and antennae. Troglophiles like bats can live in the depths of caves, but they are also able to survive above ground. Casual visitors who come and go are known as trogloxenes. Aquatic cave animals are described with the prefix stygo.

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Long ago people went into caves to find shelter or to hide from enemies. They depicted aspects of their lives by painting on the cave walls.

TEACHING NOTES (TN)

Supplement of Science Weekly Publication Pre-A through E

Visiting Caves

Today people can visit over 100 commercial show caves in the U.S. Cavers, once called spelunkers, continue to explore the vast underground world beneath us. They have special clothing, wear helmets with lights, and carry ropes to rappel down the rocky walls. Considerate cavers understand that the environment in caves is very fragile and never take souvenirs or leave anything behind. The Caver's Motto is, "Take only pictures, leave only footprints, kill only time."

Caves should only be explored carefully. Children should never go into wild caves without grown-ups and the proper equipment.

Initiating Questions Pre-A--A

1. What is a cave?

2. What kinds of animals live in caves?

Follow-up Questions Pre-A--A

3. What are the insides of caves like?

4. How are the formations in caves formed?

Level Pre-A

Main Concept: The student will be able to explain that a cave is a hole under the ground, and caves can have bats and bugs in them.

DID YOU KNOW??

Cavers must swim underwater to get to some sea caves.

Picture Activity

As you look at the pictures together, point out the stalactites and stalagmites. Talk about why WHY FLY is dressed as he is. Remember, stalactites (with a "c") grow down from the ceiling and stalagmites (with a "g") grown up from the ground.

Vocabulary

Discuss with students how we usually just add an "s" to make a word plural. You could also remind students that there are exceptions, such as one mouse and two mice.

Weekly Lab

Discuss the importance of using senses other than sight when you are in the dark, such as in a dark cave.

DID YOU KNOW??

Missouri is called the "Cave State" because it has more than 5,500 caves.

Math

Answers: 4 homes; 5 buffalo

After you complete the lesson, talk about things the children might draw on the walls if they lived in caves. What would they show about their lives?

Storytelling

Students will tell stories about being in the dark. For some students, the dark is scary. For others, the dark might not be as frightening, but those students might be scared by other things.

Challenge

Point out how impossible it would be for people to move through cave passageways without headlamps.

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Bringing It Home

If the activity is taken home to do, try to send home supplies for children who might not have them. Discuss why a headlamp might be more useful than a flashlight (cavers need their hands free).

Level A

Main Concept: Caves are holes under the ground that people and animals can go into. Some animals live in caves. Caves have interesting rock formations.

Picture Activity

(See Level Pre-A.)

Vocabulary

Discuss the meaning of each word before you "clap the syllables." Encourage children to see that syllables can contain varying numbers of letters.

Answers: caves (1 syllable); animals (3 syllables): formations (3 syllables)

Weekly Lab

Make sure that all the children have a little corner of sugar cube showing out of the clay ball. Tell students that the sugar cubes are like soft rock, the clay is like hard rock. The water seeps through the hard rock and gradually wears away the soft rock to form a cave.

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Math

Answers: 10 bats in all--7 bats outside = 3 bats inside the cave; 8 bats in all--3 outside = 5 bats inside the cave

DID YOU KNOW??

Guano (poop) from bat caves is sold to farmers for fertilizer.

Writing in Science

Encourage children to move beyond overused descriptions like "icicles." Tell students that in many caves, there are rock formations that have names, like "the tall king" or "the elephant."

Challenge

Answers: entrance zone--bear; twilight zone--bat; dark zone--blind crayfish

Tell students that animals living in the dark zone often look very strange. (They are often colorless and without eyes--or blind.)

Bringing It Home

Set up a similar "cave" in the classroom. Warn the children that they should never enter a cave without an adult companion.

Initiating Questions Levels B--E

1. What are some of the ways in which caves can be formed?

2. What equipment would cavers need when they are exploring a cave?

Follow-up Questions Levels B--E

3. Why are some caves closed to the public?

4. How are speleothems formed?

5. What is the Caver's Motto?

Level B

Main Concept: Caves are holes and tunnels under the ground. There are different types of caves. Some caves are formed from lava from volcanoes. Other types of caves have interesting rock formations called speleothems. Many types of animals use caves for shelter. Cavers are careful when they explore caves.

Vocabulary

Students will match the words to the pictures.

Answers: 1) cave; 2) lava; 3) speleothems; 4) caver; 5) shelter

Weekly Lab

This activity requires adult supervision. You will need to be available to do some of the steps yourself, or you may elect to do the activity as a classroom demonstration. The trick here is super-saturating the solution (make sure as much salt as possible is dissolved in the hot water). You could use very hot tap water or you could microwave it for a minute or so. But, then you would need to exercise extra caution around the students. You could add food coloring to the water to make the crystals appear more spectacular. The crystals will be very small. They should look similar to the aragonite illustration shown. Have students discuss the changes they see over several days or even over a week or more.

DID YOU KNOW??

Around the time of the Civil War, slaves took shelter in caves along the route of the Underground Railroad.

Math

You can reinforce the concept of AM and PM prior to doing this activity by having your students make a time line of their daily activities.

Answers: 2:00 PM--sleeping; 3:30 AM--feeding; 11:00 AM--sleeping; 4:00 PM--sleeping

Writing in Science

Prepare your students for this writing activity by discussing the idea of a motto (words to live by). Compare the Caver's Motto with your school motto, or the scout motto. You could have students make up their own personal mottos as well.

Challenge

Answers: 1) cave; 2) floor; 3) damp; 4) sound; 5) eyes

Bringing It Home

This activity requires adult supervision. Explain to students that they need to be sure to get an adult's permission and help if they will be doing this activity at home. If you live in an area where there are "wild caves," be sure you talk about never entering a cave without an adult. The map in the USGS packet (see Internet Resources at the bottom of page 4) shows locations of caves throughout the country.

DID YOU KNOW??

Cave formations have funny names. You can't eat "cave bacon" or "cave popcorn" but these formations look just like the real thing.

Level C

Main Concept: Students will learn how caves are formed and that caverns are a complex of caves. Some caves are formed by waves, wind, lava, glaciers and falling rocks. Some caves are formed when carbonic acid drips down through rock. These caves have unusual rock formations called speleothems. Stalactites grow down from the ceiling, while stalagmites grow up from the ground. They will also be able to distinguish between the three major types of cave creatures. Cavers are people who like to explore "wild caves". Some people can visit "show caves."

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Vocabulary

Talk about other mnemonic clues your students might use to remember other types of information (Never Eat Soggy Waffles for North, East, South and West, etc.).

Weekly Lab

This activity requires adult supervision. You will need very hot tap (or microwaved) water. You will need to be available to do some of the steps yourself or you may elect to do this as a classroom demonstration.

If possible, you will want to do several different setups so that you can compare results as adult scientists would. It is very important to saturate the solution by dissolving as much baking soda as possible. Weak solutions don't make stalactites or stalagmites--they just make a mess!

Math

Answers: Mammoth Cave--$13.50; Carlsbad Caverns--$12.00; Jewel Cave--$20.00; Natural Bridge Caverns--$55.80

Writing in Science

If your students have not yet been introduced to Paul Bunyan, read them a story from Paul Bunyan 20th Anniversary Edition, by Steven Kellogg, before they begin their writing.

Where in the World?

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Science and the Arts

If you like, you could show your students the virtual tour online of the Lascaux cave paintings. However, the web site can be difficult to access without a very fast Internet connection. Go to: http://www.lascaux. culture.fr

Level D

Main Concept: (See Level C.) Students will be able to explain what a cave visitor might expect to see in terms of rock formations and living cave creatures. The students will be able to explain how solution caves are formed and name other ways that caves might be formed. Students will be able to explain how various types of speleothems are formed and the special equipment needed by cavers.

Vocabulary

Answers: 1) rappel--E--use a rope to climb down from a high place; 2) souvenir--D--an object kept to remember a place by; 3) solution--F--a mixture of a liquid and a dissolved solid; 4) stalagmite--B a cave formation that rises up from the ground; 5) speleothem--A--a cave formation made by a solution dripping through rocks; 6) stalactite--C--a cave formation that hangs down from the ceiling

Weekly Lab

(See Level C.) This activity requires adult supervision. When you are doing the experiment, remember to dissolve as much soda and Epsom salt in the liquid as possible. You may need to microwave the water so that it is hot enough. If the solution is not saturated, the experiment will not work well and will only make a mess.

Math

Review the kilometer/mile conversion so that children will have a better sense of the distances involved: 1 km = .62 mile (or a little more than half a mile).

Answers (in order from largest to smallest):

1) Mammoth Cave--272 km; 2) Jewel Cave--87 km; 3) Organ Cave--51 km; 4) Crevice Cave--46 km; 5) Sloans Valley Cave--37 km; 6) Cumberland Caverns--33 km

Writing in Science

Encourage the students to use words like, "because," "since," and "in case" as they explain their reasoning. Students should dress the caver in warm clothes, a helmet with a headlamp, boots, and also include additional equipment such as a rope, flashlight and tools. In addition, students could include dried foods and water and a first aid kit, among other items.

Challenge

Try to find several different size boxes to bring in ahead of time. If you have an obese student, you might want to avoid embarrassing him/her by giving that child the job of recording successful crawls.

FYI--Further Your Information

Let children share their claustrophobic moments. Stress that claustrophobia is not something to be embarrassed about, and that many people experience this.

Level E

Main Concept: (See Levels C-D.) In addition, they will be able to explain why there is controversy surrounding the opening of some caves to visitors.

Vocabulary

Answers: 1) rappel--G--use a rope to climb down from a high place; 2) troglobites--E--creatures that live in caves for their entire lives; 3) spelunkers F--old term for cavers; 4) stalagmite--B--a cave formation that rises up from the ground; 5) speleothem--A--a cave formation made by a solution dripping through rocks; 6) troglophiles--H--creatures that can live in caves or above ground; 7) stalactite--C--a cave formation that hangs down from the ceiling; 8) trogloxenes--D--creatures that visit the outer parts of caves and stay briefly

Weekly Lab

(See Levels C-D.) This activity requires adult supervision. Different types of crystals will have different appearances. The concentration of the solution could affect the results. Don't be concerned so much about the quantity of crystals as about the appearance of each of the different types.

DID YOU KNOW??

Al-Qaeda soldiers in Afghanistan hide in natural and man-made caves.

Math

Answer: Given the data, it should take a little more than 133 years for a column to form.

Focus on the different ways students come up with their answers. Encourage students to ask themselves if their answers make sense.

Writing in Science

Students will write about their WEEKLY LAB activity using the scientific method and answer the questions in their science journals.

FYI--Further Your Information

Encourage students to share their position papers with the class. Is there a consensus? Do any students' opinions change after listening to their peers?

Science and the Arts

Because the language is a bit outdated and there is a lot of description, some children may struggle with reading the text independently. Have students work with partners.

DID YOU KNOW??

The outlaw, Jessie James, is said to have hidden $100,000 in gold coins in a Missouri cave.

DID YOU KNOW??

Until the 1960s, cavers were often called "spelunkers" (spe-lun-kers). Now the term is usually used just for less-experienced cave explorers.

Caves

Caves are holes.

Caves are holes under the ground.

Caves can have animals (an-i-mals).

Coves can have rock formations (for-ma-tions).

New Words

caves

animals

rock formation

Vocabulary

Read each word. Clap the syllables (syl-la-bles). How many syllables do you hear?

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caves

animals

formations

Weekly Lab

How are caves made?

Adult Supervision Recommended

You need:

a lump of clay (fist-size), five sugar cubes, a clear bowl of water, a clock

Step 1: Flatten the clay.

Step 2: Put the sugar on the clay.

Step 3: Wrap the clay around the sugar. Leave the tip of one cube peeking out.

Step 4: Put the clay ball in the water.

Step 5: Wait 5 minutes. Watch.

Step 6: Open the clay ball.

What did you see?

What happened to the sugar cubes in your cave?

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Math

Bats fly out of caves to find food.

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There are 10 bats in all.

How many bats are in the cave?

bats in the cave

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There are 8 bats in all.

How many bats are in the cave?

bats in the cave

Writing in Science

See the rock formations.

What do they look like? Finish the sentences.

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I think this rock formation looks like...

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I think this rock formation looks like ...

Challenge

Where do the animals live? Draw a line from each animal to the zone where it lives.

blind crayfish

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bat

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bear

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entrance zone

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twilight zone

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dark zone

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Bringing It Home

Rock formations take years to grow. Cavers (cav-ers) are careful. They do not touch the formations. Make a cave at your house. Can you crawl through without touching anything?

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"Did you know a shark can have up to 3,000

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"Wow! I hope I never get close enough to a shark to count his teeth."

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"Me too! But I am excited to learn all about teeth in our next issue!"
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Publication:Science Weekly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 16, 2011
Words:2796
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