For Teachers
Quick Links
Concepts explored
in this eTrip
Lesson Plans
Video Clips
Web Links

Winter in Yellowstone is marked by cold temperatures and deep snowfalls, compelling some wildlife to survive by migrating to lower elevations outside of the park. However, many of Yellowstone’s Central Range bison endure the cold season by utilizing the park’s thermal features. Take your students on a 55-minute interactive investigation of the unique winter habitat of thermal areas and explore the advantages and hazards of such sites. Wildlife biologists, appearing in video clips, discuss the issues, and in-trip activities reinforce student knowledge.

The Ask an Expert Message Board is available from October 12 through 14, 2005. Resource experts will be available to answer your students’ questions. The questions and answers will remain accessible after the message board has been deactivated.

For a list of education standards applicable to this field trip, please visit the Standards Page.

If time permits, students may wish to attend the Park’s Orientation program before taking this electronic field trip.

Fountains of Information - Discussion Points

How do the thermal areas of Yellowstone affect bison migration patterns? What advantages do such sites offer to bison and other wildlife? What dangers do wildlife encounter that are specific to hydrothermal features? How do different wildlife species interact within a thermally influenced area?

Concepts explored in this eTrip
  1. Thermal areas provide key survival habitat for the park’s bison.
  2. Thermal areas affect bison migration patterns.
  3. Different wildlife species may compete for limited space.
  4. The habitat of thermal areas may be both advantageous and hazardous to wildlife.

Lesson Plans

Snow clings to a bison's face. Pre Electronic Field Trip
A Toothful Tale
Hydrothermal Hopscotch

Post Electronic Field Trip
Mission: Possible!
Hot Spring Hide and Seek


Video Clips

There are three main video clips in the Flash/high bandwidth version of this field trip. They appear on pages 21, 24 and 37. You can use the following links to launch them in either Windows Media Player or RealPlayer formats.

Trench Walking
Windows Media Player

Elk in Thermal Areas
Windows Media Player

Bison and Wolf Interaction
Windows Media Player

SPECIAL FEATURE - Bison Migration Patterns
A visualization of the migration of Yellowstone's central bison herd has been prepared by California State University Monterey Bay in Flash format. This content is not part of the main eTrip, but is offered here as an additional resource for teachers and students.
• Launch Yellowstone Bison Migration.
• View transcript.

Free players: Windows Media | RealPlayer | Adobe Flash

Web Links

Thermal Areas as Unique Habitats

Thermal Features

Yellowstone Bison

   Book References

These sites represent some, but not all, of the resources found online. If you know of other sites you would like to share with students and educators participating in this electronic field trip, please contact us so that we can post them.