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Whale Rangers Wanted at Glacier Bay Today!

Grades: 4-8
Subject: Language Arts/Social Studies/Technology/Math
Estimated Time of Completion: five to ten fifty-minute periods

I. Summary

Alaska's wild coast at the end of the continent, Glacier Bay, has mountain ranges, coastal beaches, protected coves, deep fjords, and tidewater glaciers. With its meadows, estuaries, lakes, and rivers, this area teems with flora and fauna and creates a wonderful diversity of life. Park rangers protect this park, teach about it uniqueness, and enforce rules to ensure safety for visiting people and the park's plants and animals. This study guide appoints students as park rangers. As students role-play Glacier Bay Park Rangers, they become acquainted with the career of a park ranger; and they also experience Glacier Bay as a laboratory for observing, studying, and appreciating this paradise of ocean and ice and its inhabitants.

II. Objectives

* Students will practice informative writing skills.
* Students will demonstrate research skills by using the Internet and reference books and magazines to gather information.
* Students will utilize their map and direction skills.
* Students will express themselves creatively.
* Students will use technology as they decide the best way to organize their information.
* Students will be exposed to or review different ecosystems, different prey/predators behavior, salmon migration, and the circle of life.
* Students will become aware and appreciative of the career and responsibilities of a park ranger.

III. Materials Needed

* A copy of the Living Edens, Glacier Bay video, a television, and a VCR
* Computers with Internet access, at least one printer, and the companion web site, The Living Edens, Glacier Bay
* Optional - Computers with printers, word processors, spreadsheets, and optional presentation software
* United States maps, atlases, library reference materials, and travel brochures of Glacier Bay
* Pencil and paper
* Art supplies and art paper and/or poster board
* Corresponding worksheets to the plans (park ranger budget, contract, job description task checklist, and rubric)
* Folders for each pair of students to be used as portfolios of work

IV. Procedure

1. This project will begin with a visit from a representative of the local travel agency or a local park ranger (when available). The classroom visitor will discuss with the class the unique area of Glacier Bay. Students will learn that much of the present Glacier Bay Park was hidden under a vast ice sheet in the late 18th century. Eighty five years later, the American naturalist and writer John Muir found the glaciers had receded more than 30 miles, beginning the documentation of one of the most rapid glacial retreats ever recorded. The present-day National Park and Preserve expanded to its current boundaries in 1980. The visiting person will bring travel brochures and travel information for Alaska, Glacier Bay, and/or other parks. Students will be acquainted with the history behind Glacier Bay, and students will use maps to locate this section of Alaska. Students will brainstorm the type of workers needed at this park.

2. With the teacher as the facilitator, students will brainstorm the details of a park ranger's job and the job's responsibilities. Students will then work in pairs to research a park ranger's job. Have students use these three web sites for researching this job: National Park Service, Employment Information, and Diary of a Park Ranger, Encourage students to surf and brainstorm the list of duties and to shape a collaborative job description for a park ranger. Have students compare it to the teacher's description. Allow students to edit their description if they feel it is necessary.

3. As with any job, if money is not a problem, responsibilities are split among many people. This year, however, this park's budget is a problem. Glacier Bay will only hire six rangers, one ranger will represent each of these areas: Resource Protection Division, Maintenance Division, Resource Management Division, Interpretive Division, Administrative Division, and a Superintendent. The six park rangers will be responsible for the park. They will share the responsibilities. Rangers will protect and take care of the park, keep it clean, keep it safe, will ensure that others can enjoy the park (see the same kinds of trees and wildlife that exist today) in the years to come, teach people about the uniqueness and special characteristics of the park, enforce rules that protect people and park, identify threats and then provide solutions, keeps records of what is in the park (lists of animals and plants), purchase equipment, answer letters, pay bills, hire others, and plan for the best of the park while allowing people to enjoy it (planning for construction, develop bike trails and roads, oversee animal population and relocation, etc).

4. Students will be told that they are going to work in teams of six. The students will be park rangers hired in agreement with the written job description. Students will be given a folder (their portfolio of their work). The folder will originally contain their job description, a contract, a budget spreadsheet, and a checklist of tasks to accomplish the many jobs. The team must work together to share in responsibilities, help each other, and get the job completed.

5. Students will examine this web site to see another explanation of the various park ranger responsibilities: Junior Ranger Fun Facts,

6. The team of students that are hired for the job will be given a spreadsheet noting that their budget is $100,000 for the first six months. They each make $13,000 for the six months. They will need to include their salaries in their budget. They will also be given prices for certain items. Teachers may have to add in items as students use creativity and ask about other items. In order to meet their responsibilities, students will use this plan to sequence their workload:
  1. Rangers will create a plan for how they will keep their park clean and safe.
    * Tourists are littering and you must plan a littering campaign. Create a poster to promote park cleanliness.
    * You will need trashcans, people, and trucks to pick up the trash. Students will use the spreadsheet to keep a log of how they will best budget the allotted money. (The department has 3 trucks at the moment so no new trucks are needed. Please budget gasoline, trashcans, and personnel. The trashcans are $30.00 each. The gasoline is $1.40 a gallon. You must pay any personnel at least $6.00 an hour.)
  2. Teach people about the uniqueness and special characteristics of the park.
    * One student will prepare an educational "speech" or presentation about the park itself. Research and prepare a five-minute speech on Glacier Bay. Discuss history, animals, resources, uniqueness, tourist attractions, and/or care and protection of the park.
    * One student will prepare a five-minute speech on the job of park rangers.
  3. Make a list (with a brief description) of plants and animals found in Glacier Bay.
    * Research the weather at Glacier Bay.
    * After creating a list of plants and animals, choose a favorite and write a Haiku poem about it. Haiku poems are usually about nature. A Haiku poem has three lines. The first line has five syllables, the second line has seven syllables, and the last line has five syllables once again. (It should be obvious that a person seeking this type of work would love nature. Let it show!)
  4. Enforce rules that protect people and park.
    * List five dangers to people and five dangers to animals. Brainstorm and record some solutions to the identified problems.
    * Students will create six rules that they think will be a comprehensive list that will ensure safety for the park. Put those six rules on a poster.
  5. Identify ecosystems that must be watched.
    * Describe at least two ecosystems (out of a possible five).
    * List problems that this ecosystem might encounter that would require that attention from a park ranger.
  6. Purchase equipment.
    * Identify any equipment needed and record this on the budget spreadsheet. Do you need a new computer, printer, desk, nets, dart guns, veterinarian supplies, or any other materials that you imagine that you'll need?
    * Have students actually email or write a letter to a ranger or contact person at Glacier Bay and inquire if their estimates of purchases and prices are accurate.
    * Identify other materials needed and be sure and record this on your budget. Do you have paper, pencil, tape, pencils, etc?
  7. Answer letters.
    * You have received a letter from a television station wishing to tape some of the scenery next week. They need an interview from you for the television show. Write a business letter to the television show to reply. You can schedule in this interview or reject this for whatever reason. Be very profession. Address the envelope.
    * On the outside of the envelope, draw a stamp that is honoring Glacier Bay.
  8. Pay bills.
    * You must subtract the common expenses. Put these expenses on your budget spreadsheet. (Gasoline- $$80.00 a month which doesn't include any gas that was used for trash pickup, electric and/or gas - $300.00 per month, water - $200.00) If you think of other expenses, add those to the spreadsheet.
    * How will you get some revenue? You need to make a little money. Can you think of a way? Create a plan for this. It may be to fine people when they break rules, or it may be that you sell fishing or hunting licenses?
  9. Hire others.
    * You must interview others for a job. You need those that will keep the park clean and police the park. You will need a secretary. Practice your interview skills by writing five questions you would ask a potential person interviewing for a job.
    * When you interview, you will be looking for several characteristics? Make a list of five traits that you are going to want to find in that potential person. (Training, education, knowledge of parks, caring, honesty...etc.)
    * Make a job description for the person that you hired. Be sure to include their salary in your budget.
  10. Public Relations. (Tourists always bring in money, so the park rangers must help attract people to the park.)
    * Fold a piece of paper lengthwise. Design a travel brochure to advertise the park. Mention available tourist activities that are available for the visiting public.
    * Write a friendly letter to one of your best friends. Describe to your friend, your experience as a park ranger working at Glacier Bay. Give examples of your favorite job responsibilities.
  11. Turn in all completed paperwork (portfolio) to your supervisor (the teacher).

7. Students will use printed atlases and maps, library reference materials, travel brochures, plus the Glacier Bay video and its companion Web site, The Living Edens, Glacier Bay, and other helpful Web sites for researching Glacier Bay.

8. If time does not permit viewing this entire episode, then it highly suggested that students be allowed to watch some or all of these segments. Students should have an opportunity to discuss how these segments illustrate the Glacier Bay area, and how the knowledge of animals, plants, and environmental issues are important and related to the ranger's job and responsibilities.

Tape, 0:31-1:05 - location of Glacier Bay

Glacier Information
Tape, 3:30-3:40 - Glaciers (As a ranger, you might need to think about the potential danger to humans, animals, and plants.)
Tape, 7:48-8:40 - Glaciers (As a ranger, could this be a safe tourist attraction?)
Tape, 10:12-10:45 - Glaciers (You will need to educate people about what a glacier is.)
Tape, 4:00 - 4:13 - Glaciers (How would the changes in the glaciers according to the season affect the area?)

Prey/Predator Behavior
Tape, 4:42-5:02 - Prey/Predator behavior (The eagle is feeding on the herring. Why would a ranger need to keep a check on the balance of nature?)
Tape, 9:55-10:12 Eagles
Tape, 15:28-16:00 - Eagle behavior
Tape, 36:26-37:19 - Eagle behavior
Tape, 31:34-33:40 - Bear eating salmon during migration
Tape, 38:40-40:42 - Wolf eating salmon during migration
Tape, 45:30-46:35 - Gulls feeding on salmon eggs
Tape. 41:15-42:10 - Bear/wolf/salmon
Tape, 48:53-49:36 - Eagles feeding on the dead salmon
Tape, 11:05-11:11 - Shorebirds

Salmon Migration
Tape, 8:50-9:35 - Salmon is developing under the water
Tape, 16:15-16:40 - Salmon migration
Tape, 17:51-17:57 - Salmon migration
Tape, 24:16-24:30 - Salmon migration
Tape, 24:40-24:56 - Salmon migration
Tape, 25:33- 25:40 - Salmon migration
Tape, 30:42-31:22 - Salmon migration
Tape, 31:34-33:40 - Bear eating salmon during migration
Tape, 37:21-38:30 - Salmon migration
Tape, 44:07-44:31- Salmon now nesting for next generation
Tape, 45:30-46:35 - Gulls feeding on salmon eggs

Other Glacier Bay Animals
Tape, 11:20 - 11:33 - Harbor Seals
Tape, 12:57-13:30 - Harbor Seals
Tape, 16:49-17:27 - Bear
Tape, 18:58-19:27 - Bears
Tape, 22:40-23:17 - Bears
Tape, 20:59-21:06 - Sea otters
Tape, 21:14-21:43 - Sea otters
Tape, 22:03-22:15 - Mink
Tape, 22:22-22:30 - Black Oyster Catchers
Tape, 24:40-25:40 - Sea Lions
Tape, 25:50-29:10 - Humpback Whales (Humpback Whales are being watched carefully. Why would the rangers be concerned that they might become extinct?)

Tape, 52:34-52:52 - Summary of Glacier Bay's Circle of Life (Can you relate this to your location?)

Suggested web sites to research Glacier Bay
* Welcome Site -
* Glacier Bay -
* Glacier Bay -

Suggested websites to research Glaciers:
* Glaciers -

Suggested websites to research animals found at Glacier Bay:
* Eagles -
* Bears -
* Humpback Whales -
* Mammal Checklist -
* Salmon Migration -

Suggested sites for Park Ranger Information at Glacier Bay
* Glacier Bay - Interview with Chief Ranger

Traveling Tools:
* Glacier Bay Area Parks - click on weather to graph weather over a period of five consecutive days. Draw conclusions about the weather -
* Information about travel in Glacier Bay -
* Maps -

V. Classroom Assessment
A rubric will be used for grading the team's portfolio of their work at Glacier Bay. The two students will share the grade. The students will also complete a rubric to self-evaluate their work. The grade will be based on the two student's individual evaluations, as well as, the teacher evaluation. They will be scored on a 1-5. Each rubric begins with "1" and goes up to "5" with "5" being the excellent score.

You can download the rubric here.

VI. Extensions and Adaptations

* Students might choose only one area of interest on which to focus.
* Students could make travel posters that would spotlight Glacier Bay.
* Students could write letters home about their new job.
* The room could be set up in centers where each center is an animal of Glacier Bay. Complete with a computer and other reference books and magazines, students would spend time at each center researching and writing about the animal.
* Students from a particular area could speak to the rest of the class about an ecosystem in Glacier Bay.
* Students that have visited and have first hand knowledge could tell the class about their visit to Glacier Bay or to Alaska.
* Resource people from or that have visited these locations could come and speak to the class.
* All of the portfolios will be put on display in the school library so that other people can enjoy these.

VII. Relevant National Standards

From McREL

Language Arts
* Demonstrates competence in the general skills and strategies of the writing process
* Gathers and uses information for research purposes
* Demonstrates competence in the general skills and strategies of the reading process
* Demonstrates competence in the general skills and strategies for reading a variety of literary texts
* Demonstrates competence in the general skills and strategies for reading a variety of informational texts
* Demonstrates competence in speaking and listening as tools for learning

* Knows the characteristics and uses of computer software programs
* Understands the relationships among science, technology, society, and the individual
* Understands the nature of technological design
* Understands the nature and operation of systems

* Understands the characteristics and uses of maps, globes, and other geographic tools and technologies
* Knows the location of places, geographic features, and patterns of the environment
* Understands the physical and human characteristics of place
* Understands the concept of regions
* Understands that culture and experience influence people's perceptions of places and regions

* Uses a variety of strategies in the problem-solving process
* Understands and applies basic and advanced concepts of statistics and data analysis
* Understands the general nature and uses of mathematics
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