Click on the Lesson Plans link to peruse our free lesson plans online or click on the appropriate link below to download directly.
Each extensive lesson plan includes experiments and activities for three age groups and worksheets as necessary. We hope you will find them a valuable tool to enhance your trip to the caverns. You will need Adobe Acrobat to open the files. If you don't already have Adobe Acrobat, click the "Get Adobe Acrobat" button to download this free software.
STATION 1: Cavern Tour
School groups must arrive at least 15 minutes before tour departure to allow time to use the restroom and assemble in one or more group(s).
This walking tour is suitable for all student ages. The tour is approximately 60 - 80 minutes long, and meanders over nearly level, well lighted passages and walkways. Experienced, professional guides lead groups into the recently discovered "Jungle Room," named for the array of crystalline "vines" covering the ceiling, many of them several feet long. Groups also view clear and mysterious pools of water depending on the time of year, learn about the rich history of the cavern and the surrounding countryside, and cavern formation and geology.
The two expedition trips at California Cavern (age 8 and up for Mammoth, age 16 and up for Middle Earth) are also available at discounted rates to student groups. These discounts are not available on weekends or holidays.SCHEDULING: Allow 1 hour per group of 25 students.
Allow 1 hour per group of 25 students.
Allow 20 minutes per group of 25 students.
Allow 35 minutes for 25 students
Allow 5 minutes per person
Don't forget lunch! We have outside picnic tables on our large, sheltered deck, where you are welcome to eat your lunch, making for another station through which your students can rotate.
All stations are optional. More stations allow time for hands on activities by larger numbers of students as they rotate through each activity.
Please call us. We will be happy to assist you in determining the very best configuration of activities for your school group. Locally our number is 209-736-2708, or out of area, toll free 866-762-2837.
STATION 2: Gem Mining/Jr. Prospector
At the nearly 200-foot long flume system, students start with their own bag of mining "rough" that is guaranteed to contain lots of gemstones and minerals if you purchase the gem mining back, or gold plated and copper nuggets if you purchase the Junior Prospector bag. Pouring it into a screen bottomed box, flowing water sifts out the dirt leaving the goodies behind. A display with samples of the 20 possible gemstones in the gem mining bags that can be found is available for students to compare and identify their finds by observing size, color and shape. Each student gets a free postcard showing the same display. Gold prospector bags can be screened out or panned using a gold pan.
SCHEDULING: Allow 20 minutes per group of 25 students.
STATION 3: Visitor Center
Our visitor center boasts more than 3000 square feet of science and nature merchandise, and historic displays on the cave and surrounding area. Great items like books, rocks, fossils, science kits, jewelry, souvenir and wildlife items means there's something here to delight every student and teacher. You might just find you'd like to come back for holiday shopping!
Also on display in our visitor center is our huge cave bear skeleton fossil. Once common around the world, cave bears became extinct thousands of years ago. Information on the history of various species can be obtained from the help desk.
SCHEDULING: Allow 35 minutes per group of 25 students.