Lesson Plans

These are fully-developed formal lesson plans (some entire unit plans) including curriculum standards/benchmarks, detailed activity descriptions, time parameters, required materials needed, prepared teaching documents including activity sheets, handouts, and assessments, etc.

Some were developed specifically for the Flint Hills Map & Education Program.  
Others are from different sources but adaptable to the Flint Hills. They are recommended here as place-based learning: presenting core curriculum within the local context - directly relating to students’ own local environment and community.

The Lessons are divided into these six GRADE LEVEL categories in the TABLE BELOW:


*NOTE ON TRAVELING TRUNK lessons below:  Though we strongly encourage teachers to actually borrow Traveling Trunks for maximum benefit to your students, if that is impossible, the on-line resources for each trunk contain many valuable resources for lessons that can also be conducted independently.


Introduction to the Flint Hills - Grades K-12 

Introduction:  "What are the Flint Hills and Why Should We Preserve Them?"
60+ slide Powerpoint with Q-and-A review sheet: where located, types of prairie, 4 main grasses, biodiversity, geology, fire, carbon cycle, beef production, sustainability, art, recreation, public access, eco-services, need for preservation 

All Subjects

Flint Hills Map Exhibit Unit - All Levels: K-12

Activities related to discovering the wealth of information contained in the Flint Hills Map Exhibit itself. (These can be done either with school's wall-mounted exhibit or with PDFs of exhibit).
Guided Tour - Flint Hills Map - (same for Elem, Middle, High):   Interprets all main map features in map and Legend/Key plus info in lower right sections of Locator Map, Last Stand Facts.
Also three levels of Guided Qs of Side Panels - interprets educational art and text on upper right side - which are in 3 different versions Elementary, Middle, High).
Follow-up in Classroom: Regional Map Activity and Your County Map Activity: Students practice map skills (location grid, scale), review main geography of region, explore local geography of county, interpret more map resources, special focus on water.
Teacher’s Guide explains unit and contains links to all activity documents.

All Subjects, especially Social Studies, Science, Math 

Prairie Communities Role Play - Jolly Rancher John & Bad Bart - Grades 3-10

Students role play interactions in biodiverse prairie community.  
In background powerpoint, students learn names of special prairie plants and animals and how they interact within a biodiverse prairie community.  Students are introduced to two basic range management practices: setting appropriate stocking rates to avoid over-grazing, and using prescribed burning to suppress invader plants.  Each student is assigned a part and physical actions to role play in dramatization of prairie community interaction in two quite different pasture scenes:  first, under good range management and next, under poor management.  
Review questions reinforce main concepts and vocabulary.  Substantive and fun activity.

Science, Range Management


Prairie Texture Collage - Grades K-1 

Creative hands-on activity in which young artists categorize, identify and create a collage of natural found objects of the prairie - grasses and plant parts, soil, rocks, feathers, etc. Especially identify 4 main grasses from exhibit. 

Art, Science 

Recipe of Prairie (Ecosystem) - Grades K-2 https://www.nps.gov/common/uploads/teachers/lessonplans/RecipeForPrairie2013.pdf
*Traveling Trunk & Lesson Plans - Tallgrass Prairie Nat’l Preserve. 

8 lessons: Students learn the ingredients that make the tallgrass prairie ecosystem of North American for past 10,000-15,000 years.  How each ingredient is crucial:  sunlight (and parts of plant), dirt (types & properties), rain (measuring & recording), fire (natural role, dangers, use as tool), grass (height, depth of roots), wildlife (life cycle of grasshopper, beginning of food web), people (3 historical periods:  American Indian, white settlement, modern).  Preserve & protect (prairies once vast are now fragmented; restoration efforts - how to plant native grass).

Science, Social Studies

Indian Homes in Kansas - Grade 1
*Traveling Resource Trunk - Kansas State Historical Society

8 Lesson Plans.  Students explore housing styles of Indians from Kansas using this traveling resource trunk. The teaching materials contained in the trunk include reproductions of Indian artifacts, photographs and drawings, models of three historical housing styles, books, and lesson plans. The lessons reinforce the use of natural resources in building a house, adaptation to the environment, and change over time.

Social Studies and Language Arts

Celebrate Beef - Grades 1-5
Kansas Ag in Classroom lesson.

30 min. This lesson’s purpose is to show students that species, especially cattle, have migrated around the world. Students will label countries and states on a map to illustrate this. Also, students will discover the different uses for cattle in the past and in the present.

History & Geography

Water Connections - Conservation - Grades 1-5 http://www.ksagclassroom.org/teachers/lesson/waterconnections.pdf 
Kansas Ag in Classroom lesson

Prep time: 30 min Activity time: 50 min.  Water use and conservation are a critical piece of Kansas agriculture. In this activity, students will create a “water web” to illustrate their dependence on water and the interdependence among water users, producers and people worldwide.


Learning in the Prairie- by Dwight Platt - Grades 1-6

BOOK (on pdf) of 37 Lesson Plans!

PDF of book of 37 Lesson Plans for elementary/middle school level. Fun and informative activities about all aspects of prairie - 6 Pre-field, 15 Field, 16 Post-field modules. Source lists, glossary, and informative appendices. You and your kids will love these!  Is an earlier publication (1990), but these are timeless, academically-rich activities - i.e. grasshoppers don't change!  Book may be purchased at Kauffman Museum, North Newton, call 316-283-1612.

 Science, Language Arts, Art

Schools Past & Present:  The One-Room School  - Grade 2 http://www.kshs.org/teachers/professional/pdfs/wold_schools_past_present.pdf
Kansas State Historical Society

This lesson helps students to compare their school with those of the past. They will use photos and an actual visit to a one-room schoolhouse to learn about schools of long ago. They will write a journal entry of their visit to the school. This lesson is planned for three days including the trip to the one-room schoolhouse.

History and Language Arts-Writing

Prairies and Grasslands - Grades 2-3

Students will read nonfiction text, discuss and brainstorm prairie facts, then write an informative summary about what they learned.(map and text related) 

Reading and Writing, Science 

Grass Root Systems - Grades 2-3

Students will recognize that prairie plants have extensive root systems. They will use a diagram to determine plant height and root length. Students will use a measuring tool to construct a visual from yarn. (text related) 

Math, Science 

Your Friends at Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve - Grades 2-4
*Traveling Trunk & Lesson Plans - Tallgrass Prairie Nat’l Preserve

7 Lesson plans are excellent way to introduce young students to tallgrass prairie.  Lessons on what is a national park,  interpreting history, plant science, geology, early schools, math & maps, and importance teamwork.   Activities also include interpreting symbols, oral history, artifacts, learning where states got their names, concept of biodiversity and plants, features of limestone & inland sea fossils, early one-room schools and types of basic learning.  Basic math lessons on range management - determining stocking rates, measuring, and lengths of fence perimeters.

Math, Social Studies, Science, Lang Arts, Visual Arts

My Book of the Flint Hills Grasses - Grades 2-4

Lesson extends concepts in the Elementary Map Exhibit Side Panel portraying the four tallgrasses and their root systems.  Students create books about the Flint Hills and tallgrass prairie.  First, they complete background facts about location of the Flint Hills, 3 factors that make a prairie, and importance of roots.  Then, in small groups rotating through special display stations, they create field guide-type pages showing basic characteristics of the four tallgrasses.  Finally, putting it altogether in a back cover illustration, they draw a small Flint Hills landscape containing the main features of the tallgrass prairie. 

This is a great activity to do prior to a Field Trip where kids can use their books to identify 4 grasses.

Science, Reading, Art

 Cowboys & Cowtowns - Grade 3 
Kansas State Historical Society

1-2 Class Periods.  This lesson teaches students about the history of Kansas cowtowns and the role of the cowboy in Kansas history.  Students will learn about the cattle drives, the cowboys who worked them and the end goal of reaching the railheads to sell cattle and ship them to other parts of the country.  They will use both primary and secondary sources to gather information.  They will retell the information by drawing pictures that represent the cowboys and their equipment.

Social Studies, Reading, Writing, Art

Indian Communities - Grade 3
Kansas State Historical Society

2-3 Class Periods.  This lesson is designed to teach students about four different Indian tribes that settled in Kansas.  Students will be expected to examine, analyze and create a diorama of a typical tribal community.  Students will compare and contrast the different Indians tribes through the use of primary and secondary resources.

Social Studies. 

Community Landmarks i.e. Chase County Courthouse - Grade 3 http://www.kshs.org/teachers/professional/pdfs/riggs_chase_county_courthouse_3rd_loc_2011.pdf
Kansas State Historical Society

Three class periods including Field Trip.  This lesson is designed specifically to introduce students to the Chase County Courthouse, but can be used as a model to help students identify and understand why a site is a landmark in any area. Students will read expository text looking for main idea and supporting details.  They will use a graphic organizer to compile these details.  The students will then use this graphic organizer to write a summary of the text.  This lesson includes a field trip to the Chase County Courthouse and is designed to take three class periods.

Social Studies

Prairie Plants - Grades 3-4

Students explore biodiversity, view introductory powerpoints, read background info, perform card activities, keep notebook plant journal, perform assessment, take field trip if possible, includes numerous references. 

Science, art, social studies, language arts 

Birds of the Tallgrass - Grades 3-4
*Traveling Trunk & Lesson Plans - Tallgrass Prairie Nat’l Preserve. 

7 Lessons:  Students will learn about the physical properties of birds including wing shapes and uses, purpose & structure of feathers, types of beaks and legs, major habitats in the tallgrass prairie, major flyways of North America, importance of habitat for migratory birds, how research is done today versus 19th century, songs of select birds of tallgrass habitats, use of binoculars & birdwatching techniques.  Includes games for practice in identifying birds, using   concentration and memory skills.


American Indians -  Grades 3-4  
*Traveling Trunk & Lesson Plans - Tallgrass Prairie Nat’l Preserve. 

9 Lessons.  Plains tribes, Flint Hills tribes.  Origins and cultural structure of the Kaw, Wichita, Pawnee, and Osage Nations.  Including social patterns, lodges, hunting, farming, spirituality, etc.  Use of special native plants for survival. Students will learn the reasons for Indian removal. - Students will learn about the different treaties. - Students will learn where the different tribes were   relocated.

Social Studies

American Cowboy -  Grades 3-4 https://www.nps.gov/common/uploads/teachers/lessonplans/Cowboytrunk2013.pdf
*Traveling Trunk & Lesson Plans - Tallgrass Prairie Nat’l Preserve. 

7 Lessons:  Origins of cowboy, role in settling wests, economics of cattle industry.  Cowboy special clothing - types and purposes.  Tools and equipment, saddle & tack.  How to saddle a horse.  Techniques of trail driving cattle, positions in herd, daily life on trail.  Jobs of ranch hands on Spring Hill Ranch (where TPNP is located today).  Today’s cowboys, type of work, preserving way of life. 

Science, Social Studies, Language Arts

Tallgrass Wildlife  - Grades 3-4
*Traveling Trunk & Lesson Plans - Tallgrass Prairie Nat’l Preserve. 

9 lessons:  Historic Wildlife - pre-settlement animals, why some no longer here.  Basic skills of nature observation.  Tracks and signs of common animals.  Which animals are common today.  Large mammals and reintroduction of Bison.  Characteristics of smaller mammals’ life cycles & sounds.  Difference between reptiles & amphibians, life cycles, types.  Common insects, life cycles; butterflies & migration; grasshoppers.  Types of aquatic habitat:  springs, streams, ponds; fish stocking.

Science, Social Studies, Language Arts.

Exploring Climate Science (Climate Change) - Grades 3-5
National Park Service

Students will explore causes of climate change and discuss impacts on the environment. Students will be able to:  List three causes of climate change, Describe at least two impacts to the environment caused by climate change. 60 minutes.


Who’s That Pollinator and Pollinators Put Food on the Table - Grades 3-5 http://www.ksagclassroom.org/teachers/lesson/pollinatorlesson_final.pdf
Kansas Ag in Classroom lesson.

Activity 1: 45 minutes • Activity 2: 30 minutes.  Plants provide food, shelter and oxygen for other living things. Reproduction in plants is crucial to all other life on this planet. The first step in plant reproduction is the process called pollination. There are many kinds of pollinators including insects, birds, wind and water

Science, Language Arts

Edible Soil Profile & Soil Erosion Pans - Grades 3-5 http://www.ksagclassroom.org/teachers/lesson/Edible%20Soil%20Profile%20Final_101116.pdf
Kansas Ag in Classroom lesson.

Soil Profile - 40 min. Erosion Pans - 30  min.  Soil is one of our most important natural resources. It is the Earth’s living skin. Soil is the naturally occurring mixture of minerals, organic matter, water and air, all of which combine to form the surface of the Earth. Students will create an edible soil profile, study how soils are formed and use soil erosion pans to help them understand the soil structure, layers and the importance of soil conservation.

Science & Social Studies

Trading on the Santa Fe Trail - Grade 4
*Traveling Resource Trunk - Kansas State Historical Society

Students explore the Santa Fe Trail through a sampling of the goods that traveled between the United States and Mexico in the 1800s.  Manufactured items from the eastern coast of the United States and Europe made up the bulk of the goods traveling to Mexico.  Furs, wool fleeces and woven goods, silver and mules traveled from Mexico for trade in the United States.  Students practice historical thinking, interpretation, reading, research, and writing.

Language Arts & Social Studies

Vice-President of United States - Charles Curtis - Notable Kansan & Native American-Grd 4 http://www.kshs.org/teachers/professional/pdfs/j_tillberg_4th_grade_loc_2011.pdf
Kansas State Historical Society

This lesson will give students the opportunity to explore primary and secondary sources. Students will first examine primary sources and make inferences about Charles Curtis' life. Then, students will prove or disprove their inferences after reading an article (secondary source) about Curtis' life. This lesson plan is intended to cover the span of 2-3 days

Social Studies and Reading

Daily Life on the Santa Fe Trail - Grade 4
Kansas State Historical Society

5 Class Periods (can be adjusted).  The lesson is designed to be part of a unit to compare and contrast the Oregon-California and Santa Fe Trails.  The students will complete the Read Kansas! lessons I-6 Trade and Travel on the Overland Trails and I-7 Life on the Trails.  Then students will focus on the hardships on the Santa Fe Trail.  Finally the students will create a Venn diagram to compare and contrast the two trails and write a paragraph to show which trail he/she would choose when traveling to the West. 

Social Studies and Language Art

Kansas County Fairs Through the Years - Grade 4
Kansas State Historical Society

3 class periods.  This lesson allows the students to work with primary sources.  Several primary sources are presented that give clues to the experience of attending a county fair over one hundred years ago.  This lesson helps the students find clues in the primary sources.  Using the primary sources, students will compare and contrast local entertainment from the past to the present.  In addition, students will successfully demonstrate the acquired knowledge orally and in written form.  Contains differentiation and extensions to meet the individual needs of the learners

History, Language Arts Speaking & Writing

American Bison - Grades 4-5 https://www.nps.gov/common/uploads/teachers/lessonplans/American%20Bison20131.pdf
*Traveling Trunk & Lesson Plans - Tallgrass Prairie Nat’l Preserve. 

7 lessons: Bison - scientific name and reason for taxonomy; Natural History of Bison - adaptation of species & life cycle; Bison & Habitat - effect of Bison grazing on prairie; Bison range reduction, food webs; American Indians & Bison - role in daily life and cultural traditions; Early Buffalo Hunt - different hunting techniques over time; Destruction of Bison - economics of decline with westward expansion, near extinction; Bison Conservation Efforts - public & private, bison as American symbol.

Science, Social Studies, Language Arts, Math

Water - a Necessity of Life (Water Aquifers & Landfills) - Grades 4-5 http://www.ksagclassroom.org/teachers/lesson/water_necessity.pdf
Kansas Ag in Classroom lesson

Students will become familiar with unconfined and confined aquifers and identify different aquifers in Kansas. In addition, students will also construct a model landfill.  45 minutes + 5-10 minutes each day for 10 days.



Nature’s Notebook - Grades K-8
Kansas Dept of Wildlife

Downloadable 300 page book of information and activities about Kansas wildlife and nature. Rich source!


Tadpole Tales - Frog Growth, Songs, Types - Grades 2-6
River Science Curriculum of Friends of the Kaw River

Students read and see photos/videos about frog development and stages.  Includes “Sing Like a Frog” activity with video clips of common frogs calling.  Also “Name That Frog,” and “Virtual Froggie” activities.


Autumn Calf - Bison Weight Data Activities - Grades 3-7
Konza Environmental Education Program

[Lessons to go with book “The Autumn Calf” that is available free of charge to teachers, libraries & schools (call (785) 587-0381 or email Konzaed@ksu.edu).]  Book is about a Konza Prairie bison calf and its struggle to survive on the Kansas prairie.  Beautiful illustrations & sidebars with extensive info on Tallgrass Prairie ecosystem, bison, etc.  In accompanying activities, students utilize prediction and data interpretation skills within real life context of weight data on the Konza bison herds. See materials at: "Have you Ever Wondered What a Bison Weighs?" and "Bison Weights over Time" activity and "Bison Weights Over Time" data.

Reading, Math, & Science

Prairie Food Chains - Grades 4-6
Kansas Ag in Classroom lesson

To explore the organisms found on a prairie and identify the various food systems that allow them to either eat or be eaten.  May also use Prairie Tic-Tac-Toe activity at: 


How Much Stormwater Runs Off Your House? - Grades 4-6
River Science Curriculum of Friends of the Kaw River

Water quantity issues.  Students measure size of their house, estimate roof size, and calculate amount of rainwater that runs off in a one-inch rain.


Kansas Women and Their Quilts - Grades 4-6
Traveling Resource Trunk - Kansas State Historical Society

15 Lesson Plans.  Students using this trunk will explore Kansas history through the quilts women made and used from the early days of settling Kansas to the recycling of the 1930s to our contemporary world.  Quilts, objects, historical documents, photographs and more enable students to explore women's roles and responsibilities in settling Kansas.  The fifteen lesson plans in the trunk manual offer opportunities for teaching social studies, reading, math, art, and more to a fourth through sixth grade youth.  Students examine immigrant guides and a packing list as they learn about the life of pioneers settling in Kansas. Pages from a nineteenth century mail order catalog and the geometry of pieced quilts connect math into the study of rural free delivery and fabric. 

Social Studies and Art


 *Illustrating Flint Hills Earth Cycles: 6-Panel Comic Strip - Grades 5-6


Students synthesize one of the 4 main Earth Cycles represented in the Exhibit, by creating a comic strip sequence of 6 features of the cycle, using comic/graphic art conventions of panel, caption, speech balloons, etc. 

Art, Science 

What’s It All About (Reading Vocabulary - Prairie) - Grades 5-6 
http://www.ksagclassroom.org/teachers/lesson/whats_all.pdf Kansas Ag in Classroom lesson.

30 min.  After studying the prairie biome, students will match the main idea with the word or words in the box on the provided worksheet, determining the significance of a group of words, phrases, or sentences.

Language Arts - Reading

 The Prairie Is… (poem) - Grades 5-6 

Kansas Ag in Classroom lesson.

30 min.  After studying the prairie biome and learning how beautiful and alive the Kansas landscape is, students will write a poem about the prairie using similes and creative descriptions.

Language Arts, Science

Exploring Wildlife & Geology in Tallgrass Prairie Illustration- Grades 5-8
Scavenger Hunt Unit - Art on Middle School exhibit 


Students explore 58 organisms and geologic features found in the Tallgrass Prairie Illustration on the Middle School Map Exhibit Side Panel, learning characteristics and how to identify them.  
Five activities to choose from (or do all):  Students find and name the creatures, classify them by type, observe their physiology and habitat as shown in the illustration, research interesting facts about them, determine and explain relationships between four pairs, and evaluate findings in a brief writing activity.  They are encouraged to extend learning with additional research into one or more organisms.  In an assessment, students identify 30 of the wildlife & geologic features in the illustration.

Science, Social Studies, Technology-Research, Reading and Writing

Where Does the Water Go? - Grades 6-8
Next Generation Science Standards

Raw climate and stream outflow data is collected, graphed and analyzed by students for the community in which they are located. Results of the graphing are used to explain the water cycle.

Science, Math, Language Arts 

Notable Features of a Watershed - Grades 6-8
Next Generation Science Standards

Students observe and chart porous and impervious features of the watershed. Summarize the effect the features have on the water quality and outflow.

Science, Math, Lang Arts 

Measuring Slope - Grades 6-8
Earth Partnership for Schools

Plot slopes in outdoor learning area. Use mathematical formula to convert into slope %. Complete cause effect summary over relationship between how steep the slope is and erosion. This is an example open-source lesson plan from the Earth Partnership for Schools.

Science, Math, Lang Arts 

Cattle Trail Cowboys - Grade 7
*Traveling Resource Trunk - Kansas State Historical Society

5 Lesson Plans.  Students learn how Kansas towns, Texas entrepreneurs, railroads, and young men seeking work and adventure all came together to create one of the most well-known periods in our nation’s history. What was life like on those cattle drives?  How did young men survive hours in a saddle and months on the dusty trail? What kind of danger lay ahead of them as they started up the trail? Students explore those questions and more as they examine cowboy gear, listen to a folk song, and read the words of the cowboys themselves.

History and Language Arts-Reading

Burning and Beef Production Ratios: Percent of Increase in Cattle Weight - Grades 7-8

As background, students learn about effect of pasture burning both for range management and for beef production; they use proportional relationships to calculate the percent of increase in weight for a calf pastured on burned pasture and unburned pasture. 



American Indian Perspectives on Thanksgiving  - Grades 4-12
National Museum of the American Indian

Teacher’s guide explains American Indian perspectives on Thanksgiving and how the events occurred in American history.  Broad range of themes and activities - adaptable for younger & older students: Environment - Understanding the Natural World; Community - Group Identity in Culture, Encounters - Effect on Culture.  See more info and resources at:  http://www.learnnc.org/lp/pages/623?ref=search

Social Studies

Living With the Land- Grades 5-12
PBS Learning Media

Some Native American tribes moved from region to region with the seasons.  Background essay compares cultural views of land of Native Americans vs. white settlers.  Discussions Questions, further research resources.  Students could prepare graphic organizer comparing these two groups’ views of land.

Social Studies

Birds:  “The Winged Ones: How Like & Different from Us” - Grades 5-12
River Science Curriculum of Friends of the Kaw River

Students will look at birds, either around the school, or on a field trip. From what they see they will discuss a series of questions, including identification, physiology, behavior, habitat, etc.


What’s in the Water? (Water Quality) - Grades 5-12
River Science Curriculum of Friends of the Kaw River

This set of interconnected lessons takes us through the process of investigating surface water quality. The focus is on physical and chemical properties that can be easily studied with the minimum of specialized equipment.  Lessons:  Water Quality, Nutrients, Bacteria, Pollution from Stormwater Runoff, Water Purification, Field Notebooks, Water Quality Jigsaw. [test kit ordering info] 
See also Geocaching - Water Quality Challenge - Lesson https://sites.google.com/site/fokhighschoolcurriculum/geocache/stormwater-cachechallege/water-quality-challenge
See also River Atlas: Water Quality Issues:   https://sites.google.com/site/friendsofthekaw/river-atlas/water-quality Pollution from runoff; Nutrients, Algal Blooms & Bacteria; Sand and gravel dredging; Industrial Pollution; Stormwater
What is a Fish Consumption Advisory? http://kansasriver.org/paddle-and-fish/fishermans-corner/fish-consumption-advisory/

Science & Math

Introduction to Scientific Collections and Museum Databases - Grades 5-12
K-State Biodiversity Information Systems

This lesson is an introduction to scientific collections and the types of data associated with them. Students will learn that an herbarium is a collection of preserved plant specimens for scientific research. They will learn that collections data are primary scientific data, and will gain experience accessing and working with data from the Kansas State University Herbarium database.

This lesson includes a tutorial and a worksheet designed to accompany the tutorial. The worksheet includes introductory questions about museum collections and questions that depend on the students following the steps in the tutorial.

Science, Technology

Tracking Lesson - Grades 5-12
River Science Curriculum of Friends of the Kaw River

Gets students to look at marks in the sand (tracks, scrapes, wet spots, shed feathers and fur, faeces, etc.) as ways of obtaining information about events and the community ecology of a location. Appropriate questions to ask the students include; what tracks can you find? Are these from mammals (including humans), birds, reptiles, amphibians, even vehicles? How many types of entity (being) are represented in one area? Which tracks seem oldest? Which are most fresh? How can you tell?  Students will record findings, make a plaster cast of tracks.


Freshwater Mussels - Grades 5-12
River Science Curriculum of Friends of the Kaw River 

Students will learn about mussel shells and how to identify different types. Basic mussel biology, including anatomy and ecology, will be presented. An emphasis will be placed on the fact that mussels are a vital part of the ecology of the Kansas River, but many species are endangered and losing them from the ecosystem will harm the river; in contrast, there are also introduced species that are creating problems.


Where You’re At - Grades 5-12
River Science Curriculum of Friends of the Kaw River

Students create personal maps using Google Maps.  Students examine the impact of their activities on local energy and water resources.  Lessons include:  Mapping Student Data, Mapping Our Impact, Kansas River Watershed (can substitute other), How to Make Maps. 

Science & Social Studies

Native American Heritage: Native Sports - Grades 6-12
Newspapers in Education-The Oklahoman

Explore the Native American connections to many of today’s popular sports.  Background info and activities on Native American athletes and traditional games

Phys Ed, Social Studies

Kids About Water - Grades 6-12
River Science Curriculum of Friends of the Kaw River

The KAW Project is a five-lesson water quality issues and actions curriculum: intro to watersheds and best management practices; field experiences and data collection; interpreting data, problem-solving issues & actions.  Prior to the KAW Project, students are given a survey to assess knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors concerning water quality issues and actions.


Graze Like a Cow - Grades 6-12
Kansas Ag in Classroom lesson

45-60 Min.  Students will learn the biology of how a cow digests the grasses they eat, compare quality of forage (overgrazed versus healthy), and the effects of the animal’s environment to its production.

Science & Math

*Place Names in the Kansas Flint Hills - Grades 7-10

Students explore origins of county, town, and place names; classify sources of names; learn names and county seats of Flint Hills counties; numerous extended research and creative activities 

Social Studies 

Geocaching - Grades 8-12
River Science Curriculum of Friends of the Kaw River

Students will employ an understanding of latitude, longitude, and other basic geography tools. Students will learn more about the Kaw River [can adapt lessons to other rivers/watersheds], gain an understanding of the watershed, the native plants and animals, and how humans affect these things. Geocaching is a fun and useful technology to learn, and it will exercise both the mind and body.  The main excercise for this lesson is to have the students look for hidden caches by following coordinates given to them in their GPS units. There are many things to learn and discover, some examples are: Native flowers and trees, Locating water gardens, Animal tracks, the history of the area or of the river.

Science & Social Studies

This Place You Call Home: The Flora of Your County - Grades 8-12
Kansas State University Herbarium

In this lesson, students use online resources to learn about the flora of their home county. The students will compile data about their county flora using primary scientific data from the online Kansas State University (KSU) Herbarium database. They will learn how to access additional sources of primary data about geology, geography, etc. to enhance their study. This activity can be modified to accommodate individual or group projects. This lesson will take at least two class periods to complete and, depending on the product your students produce, time outside of class may be needed. 

Science, Technology

Native American Heritage: Contemporary Arts - Grades 8-12
Newspapers in Education - The Oklahoman

Explore Native American culture through the vibrant and symbolic visual arts.  Many resources and activities, artist info, examples of art, analysis.

Art, Social Studies

Native American Heritage: Traditional Arts - Grades 8-12
Newspapers in Education - The Oklahoman

Explore Native American culture through the vibrant and symbolic visual arts.  Extensive vocabulary, examples of art.  Virtual design and other activities.

Art, Social Studies

Native American Heritage: Oklahoma Indian Country Guide - Grades 8-12
Newspapers in Education - The Oklahoman

An Overview of Oklahoma's 39 Tribal Nations.  Excellent on-line booklet on all tribes with culture & history, maps & demographics.  Activities in back - esp. recommend with regard to tribes & nations with headquarters or reservations in or near Osage / Flint Hills.  In Oklahoma: Osage, Kaw/Kansa, Ponca, Tonkawa, Delaware.  In Kansas: Potawatomie, and Kickapoo.: Select two tribes and research how the tribes are maintaining their culture today. Select two tribes and research the tribe’s traditional form of government. Since coming to Oklahoma, has the tribe’s form of government changed? If so, in what ways?

Social Studies

Native American Heritage: Food Ways - Grades 8-12
Newspapers in Education - The Oklahoman

Help your students grow their knowledge about the roles of Native foods in Oklahoma’s history and heritage.  Excellent booklet:  “Native American Foodways.”  Recommend Lessons 3 & 4.

Family & Consumer Science; Social Studies

Native American Heritage: The Guardian - Tribal Flags - Grades 8-12
Newspapers in Education - The Oklahoman

Tribal flags have an abundance of stories to tell about Native American heritage. Esp. note flags of tribes & nations with headquarters or reservations in or near Osage / Flint Hills.  In Oklahoma: Osage, Kaw/Kansa, Ponca, Tonkawa, Delaware.  In Kansas: Potawatomie, and Kickapoo.

Art & Design; Social Studies


*Flint Hills Research Project - Grades 9-12

Fully integrated, sequenced unit - for Documented Essay containing Cause and Effect analysis on Flint Hills / place-based topics.  (Sixteen classes - each 85-minute blocks)  
Includes helpful ready-made tools for teacher to guide students to success in self-management and independent learning: Calendar - breaks up into steps & sets mini-deadlines, Student Contract Slip, Tracking Student Progress - Chart, Topic Choice Report Forms, Interview Appointment Slip.
Includes use of Primary Sources - Learn interview skills, citing primary sources; also How to Write a Thank You Note.
Skills: steps in research, types of evidence, using keywords, citations and documentation, quoting, paraphrasing, avoiding plagiarism, outlining, introductions, conclusions, cause and effect topic sentences, revision.

Cross -curricular:  Language Arts + Social Studies, Science, etc. depending on topic. (All Subjects) 

Everything Is Connected - Grades 9-12

Students examine and form conjectures regarding connections between ecosystem elements - plants, animals, weather, etc., exploring food chains, food webs, dependence of organisms, interactions and dynamics in ecosystems.  

Students create and explain these connections through a visual representation of this complex web of relationships.

Science - Biology

Prairie Jeopardy Game - Grades 9-12 http://wwx.inhs.illinois.edu/files/6413/3977/5469/What20a20prairie20is20and20isnt.pdf
Illinois Natural History Survey - Prairie Research Institute

A game played by five students (four players and a judge) teaches important characteristics of a prairie ecosystem.  The game incorporates a series of true or false questions that allow students to advance their positions on a game board.  Illinois was part of the tallgrass prairie, so most of the questions are applicable to the Flint Hills or can be adapted to Flint Hills.  Excellent set of substantive questions about the tallgrass prairie!


Plant Collections - - Grades 9-12
K-State Biodiversity Information Systems

These materials are an educational lesson aimed at the high school level and focused on collection of plant specimens for herbaria. These materials were developed by former Wabaunsee County High School teacher Tonia Carlson as part of her experience as an NSF Research Experiences for Teachers 


Frog & Toad Lesson Plan - Grades 9-12
River Science Curriculum of Friends of the Kaw River

Students investigate the taxonomy, biology, and habitat requirements of six common species, create an online or e-field guide, and map habitat areas in their neighborhood.


Climate Science in Focus - Earth as a System - Grades 9-12
National Park Service

Students will learn about the four Earth systems and how they are connected. Students will be able to:
1. Explain the Earth as a system of interconnected parts
2. Properly define and use Earth science vocabulary


*Particulate Study during Burning Season - Grades 10-12

Students examine reasons for prescribed burning in range management and governmental regulations on burning practices; take air quality samples during burning season; evaluate competing public policy issues. 

Environmental Science