Cairo, NY 12413
Ellen Carr, Orlinda Carafellow, Kathy Durkin, Liz LoGiudice
During a three-hour trip to Cohotate Preserve, children will gain a greater appreciation and love of our environment. They will learn about the rich cultural and natural history of the region. During this visit the students will experience first hand how the environment affects life in many ways. More Overview
- How has the Hudson River changed over the past several hundred years?
- How do fish adapt to their environment?
- How do animals grow and change?
- How are wild animals and humans alike?
- Living things are both similar to and different from each other and nonliving things.
- The Hudson River Valley has changed over time.
- The continuity of life is sustained through reproduction and development.
- People depend on and modify the physical environment.
- People use human, capital, and natural resources.
- Individual organisms and species change over time.
- There are different environments that grow and change over time.
- Time lines can help us track and understand important changes.
- Animals grow and change, live in various habitats, depend on plants and other animals for food, and protect themselves in different ways.
- Time line
- Ice house
- Ice Industry
- Natural History
- Cultural History
Suggested Time Frame(s)
Pre-visit: One and a half hours
On-site visit: Three hours plus transportation
Post - lesson activities: one hour visit to the school by the site educator; about 30 minutes for each of the possible extension activities (see narrative)
1. Use "A Time Line of the Hudson Valley" to familiarize students with the idea of change over time.
2. Help students create a large floor map of he Hudson River and use pictures placed along it to teach more about how the River has changed from pre-historic times to the present.
Site experience and activities: We took two classes on this trip. Students walk down the hill to the river together. At the bottom of the hill, the instructors bring the children to the shoreline and students look at the water level. An instructor places a stick at the spot where the water meets land and tells students that at the end of the lesson they will look at the stick to see if the water level has changed. The instructor gives a brief explanation that the Hudson is a tidal river -- an estuary -- with two high and low tides daily, just like the ocean.
One class then proceeds to the ice house foundation for forty-five minutes at Station A. The second class splits into two groups. One group follows an instructor to the observation platform for twenty minutes at Station B. The other group proceeds to the Field Station for twenty minutes at Station C. After the twenty-minute time period, Station B and C groups switch. After forty-five minutes. the two classes switch.
After the two forty-five minute sessions are complete, classes enjoy a picnic lunch at the riverside. After lunch, instructors will pull the eel pot, show students an American eel, and reinforce information about fish. If time permits, read The Ice Horse. (See resource list.)
The group will check the stick at the river's edge to see if the tide is coming in or going out before walking back up the hill.
Station C: Lead the group to the observation platform. Once at the platform, (but before handing out binoculars) explain that we will be taking a closer look at the river. Remind students of the word "estuary" and the nickname, "arm of the sea." It is called this because the river actually is a long part of the sea, and the tides reach up the riverbed, pushing saltwater up into the freshwater of the river. The Hudson is very special, because it is such a long estuary, with ocean tides reaching all the way to Troy.
Students work in groups of two or three, sharing binoculars. A teacher or chaperone may want to take some students to the second observation platform, just to the south. lf this happens, be sure an adult remains with the group on the first platform so that the instructor can move freely to talk with both groups. Give students several minutes to try out the binoculars providing instruction on how to focus. Ask students to identify north, south, east, and west.
After students have the hang of using the binoculars, direct their attention to the Rip Van Winkle Bridge and various buoys and day markers. (Students without binoculars can see these landmarks easily). Explain that bridges and buoys are examples of transportation aids. Have students spot a red buoy and a green buoy. Ask students if they know what the buoys are for (ships and barges have to stay in between red and green buoys to remain in the channel where the river is deep enough for them to navigate ).
Ask if anyone knows what a channel is. (A trench that people dig out the river bottom to make it very deep enough for big boats.) Ask students what materials get carried up and down the river (oil and gasoline heading north, cement heading south) . Ask the students if the ships travel on the river during the winter (Yes, ice-breaking boats keep the channel open).
Explain that these are all examples of how humans have changed the physical environment of the river to meet our needs. When students begin to tire of the binoculars or when there is about 5 minutes left before it is time to switch, gather the group and lay a chart of this part of the river out on the deck of the observation platforms. Help students find Coxsackie, Athens, or Catskill) on the chart and to use landmarks, such as power lines and bridge to locate the preserve on the map. Orient students to the compass points and where they are in relation to Coxsackie, Athens, or Catskill.
Possible post-visit activities
- Connect your experience at Cohotate to time lines, early settlers, woodland Indians, Hudson Valley animals, or other topics you want to cover.
- Use Enchanted Learning templates (www.EnchantedLearning.com) or similar resources to extend student learning.
- Have students create booklets about the trip.
How do you assess student learning?
- Participation in discussions
- Teacher-made assessments tied to your classroom activities
- Journal writing
- Follow-up booklet, "Our Field Trip to Cohotate"