5 Things We Want Kids to Know About the Grand Canyon
For over 35 years now, Project Exploration has been offering educational field trips throughout the southwest. One of our most popular trips includes a visit to the beautiful Grand Canyon just a few hours to the north of Phoenix.
There is nothing quite as thrilling as seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time. It truly is an awesome sight! For the staff at Project Exploration, we get to experience that thrill over and over again with each group of kids we take. For some of these kids, it’s there very first time to see this amazing natural wonder – an experience they will never forget.
There is so much to take in when visiting the Grand Canyon. The amount of information, history and interesting facts available is almost as big as the canyon itself! This has forced us to ask the question again and again: “What do we want these kids to take away from their trip to the Grand Canyon?”
Below is a list of the 5 things we really hope those on our field trips learn when they travel with us to the Grand Canyon:
- John Wesley Powell
It’s difficult to tell the story of the Grand Canyon without mentioning Major John Wesley Powell. After serving in the Army during the Civil War where he lost is right arm, Powell was recruited for a 3-month exploratory trip down the Colorado River and through the Grand Canyon. He carefully documented his adventures providing incredible insight and accurate maps that would be used to further explore the Grand Canyon.
Have you ever tried keeping a 4th or 5th graders attention in the classroom while talking about the geology of the Grand Canyon? Not so easy! What better visual aid could you ask for than the Grand Canyon itself! Standing on the south rim of the Grand Canyon, we are able to point to formations, plateaus, layers, boulders and rocks that make up the geology of the canyon. It makes so much more sense when you can see it all right before you.
- Native Americans
Some of the school kids we take on our trips to the Grand Canyon are surprised to learn that an isolated group of people traditionally known as the Havasupai still lives in the canyon today. Havasupai means “people of the blue-green waters” and describes their special relationship with the water and the land of the Grand Canyon.
- Mary Colter
As we spend the day traveling to and from various locations around the south rim of the Grand Canyon, students will most likely see some of the structures and buildings that look a bit different than the rest. These are the buildings designed and built by an architect named Mary Colter who was one of only a few female architects in the early 1900’s. Colter made a name for herself by designing structures that incorporated the styles of the authentic buildings already in place. Students will get to see some of these buildings up close and hopefully learn to appreciate Mary Colter’s contributions to the Grand Canyon.
- Colorado River
The Colorado River flows through the Grand Canyon and is largely responsible for its formation. Some of our trips include a river float down the Colorado River starting from the Glen Canyon dam down to Lee’s Ferry. This is a great chance to learn more about how the canyon was formed, including discussions on erosion and continental drift. When students are able to see it first hand for themselves, it all starts to make more sense.
There are many other topics that come up as we spend the day at the Grand Canyon, including animal scat, native American artifacts and trees that smell like vanilla!
Learn more about our Grand Canyon trips by visiting our website or giving us a call at 480-558-8383. Let’s set up a trip for your school that the kids will never forget!