Archaeology is one of the most fascinating branches of science and caves are one of nature’s most alluring geological landforms to explore. Caves are a separate biome all their own. They’ve been used as habitats by animals and people. Bats are cave dwellers and dinosaurs dwelt in caves. Mystics have sought divine enlightenment living as hermits in caves. Ancient people left hieroglyphics on walls of caves, like those at Lascaux, France. Caves yield up a treasure trove of fossils and teach valuable lessons in archaeology and paleontology. Teachers and homeschool families, if you’re planning a unit on caves (and you really should) here are free printable lesson plans on cave-related subjects of fossils, bats, archaeology, paleontology, habitats, geology, spelunking and earth science.
The National Parks Service has free printable lessons on the U.S. national park at Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. There’s curriculum for elementary school in the free printable booklet About Bats, Caves and Deserts. For middle school students, the NPS Carlsbad Caverns website features free printable archaeology lessons on Caves, Canyons, Cactus and Critters. High school students explore geology, spelunking, Global Positioning Systems and orienteering in the Chihuahuan Desert Lab school. Materials are designed to be used with interpretive visits but some may be used as stand-alone lessons in class. Check out the cool activities on fossils, bats, paleontology and other cave phenomena.
Also from the NPS, are free printable materials on Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. There are free coloring pages, word games, puzzles and lesson plans in the Junior Ranger section. Kids will love the printable Trog Tour booklet (trog is short for super cool fossils called troglodytes) The Making Connections series from Mammoth Cave National Park features books for grades K-3, 4-5 and 6-8. There are 83 pages of free printable paleontology lesson plans for teachers and homeschool parents. And be sure not to let young archaeology students miss the free printable Fossil Identification Guide with coloring pages of fossils to label.
Lascaux Culture has interactive lesson plans on Lascaux cave drawings. Explore paleontology and archaeology with the prehistoric paintings, There are cave maps, images, videos and timelines. The website has interpretive information detailing the images, their purpose and their significance. You can access the site in several languages including English, but the educational “resources” link is available only in French.
Easy Fun School has free cave diorama lesson plan. The diorama is easy to make and uses cheap, household materials.has free printable animal habitat coloring pages. Students can research which animals live or hibernate in caves. This site has other free printable habitats dioramas. Crayola offers a free craft template to show interior cave rock formations.
Cave stalactites grow downward from the ceiling. The word comes from the Greek “to drip” (stalactites resemble icicles). Stalagmites grow up from the cave floor and look like upside down icicles. In Greek, the word means “trickling.” Use these activities to demonstrate how stalactites and stalagmites grow. Crystal Cave in Wisconsin offers tours and family activities to explore this famous cave. Here are free printable geology lesson plans on archaeology, paleontology, bats, and fossils.