Hike the Habitat: Field Trip in Canyonlands National Park, Utah

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This detailed lesson plan for a field trip to Canyonlands National Park in Utah (page 32 of pdf) teaches students about the habitat of bighorn sheep. The trip, which includes a strenuous hike, introduces students to animal tracking, observation of nature, and ideas about the inter-connectivity of plants and animals in any given area. The 21-page lesson plan includes background material on local ecosystems and about bighorn sheep, along with pre- and post-field trip classroom activities to enhance and ground the experience of the field trip. This lesson plan is written for 6th grade students.

Quick Guide

  • Preparation Time: 10 to 30 minutes
  • Learning Time: 1 to 7 days
  • Estimated materials cost: Over $20 per group of students
  • Age Range: Ages 11 - 14
  • Language: English

Materials List (per group of students)

  • Binoculars (ideally each student will have a pair, but they could also share)
  • Track Pattern Cards and laminated construction paper “tracks” (one per student; templates included in lesson plan)
  • Two copies (at least) of 'Animal Tracks of the Southwest' (Stall 1990) or other tracking field guides
  • 'Who Am I?' plant riddles (one per student; template included in lesson plan)
  • Small poster with the anatomy of a bird on one side and the names of seven birds to be discussed on the other
  • Pictures of seven commonly-seen birds
  • Bird field guide
  • Bright clothing for human bird dress-up
  • Maps of area

Informal Categories

  • Animals
  • Outdoor Activity
  • Nature and Environment
  • Physical Activity


  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Plants
      • Animals
      • Protists and Fungi
      • Classification
    • Ecology
      • Populations
      • Biodiversity
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Asking Questions
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
Place and Time


  • Canyonlands National Park, Utah


  • Field trip is best in winter.
  • Season: Winter

To use this activity learners need to

  • see
  • hear
  • be mobile

Learning styles supported

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Uses STEM to solve real-world problems
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


lots here, you just have to dig for it

There are detailed instructions for a field trip to study the habitat of Big Horn Sheep, yes, and also pre- and post-trip activities. But there's a lot more, like a board game with a print-out that can become the 'Ovisopoly Game Board,' and cards that allow you to move around the board (like "It’s fall and you find a mate; move ahead two tracks).