Rationale<br />I am from Bedford, Indiana where Bluespring Caverns is located. I remember visiting the park on only one occasion, a 6th grade field trip and do not remember much about it. I assume I spent the field trip talking instead of paying attention to my unique surroundings and now that I am older, I am regretting that behavior.<br /> Being the curious person that I am, and the lifelong learner I am striving to be, I am interested in learning about these caves that I have grown up so close to, but know nothing about. Bluespring Caverns is a tourist attraction that people from all over Indiana and other states come to visit, and here it is in my back yard and I have yet to take advantage of that.<br />What exactly is Bluespring Caverns? What do the caves there consist of? What is so special about them? Why are they in Bedford, Indiana? LET’S FIND OUT!!!<br />
Bluespring Caverns<br />Bluespring Caverns is a cave system stretching 21.5 miles located in Lawrence County, Indiana. Bluespring Caverns is most notable for having the longest known subterranean river in the United States with approximately 3 miles of navigable river, and more than 21 miles of stream and river passages.<br />Rare blind and crayfish can be seen in the caves of Bluespring Caverns. Many thousands of years ago the White River, flowing only a short walk from the entrances to the caves, had cut its way deeply into the soluble limestone that now envelope the cave. The rapid deepening of the river left the surface streams flowing high above on the flat plain. Surface water found its way into small cracks or joints in the limestone rock and slowly dissolved it, forming cave passages en route to the river. <br />
Bluespring Caverns<br /> Time passed and the passages enlarged to become a complex system of underground streams in high, vaulted passages. Eventually, these underground streams found their way down to a level near that of the White River, then flowing in a steep-walled canyon. Then came in cold and ice. Glaciers from the north slowly pushed down into Indiana, carrying soil and rock before them. As these great masses of ice began melting, the accumulated debris was carried to the surface streams. The deep canyon of the White River and the great caverns nearby were filled with these glacial sediments to depths of over fifty feet. In the warmer climate after the glaciers retreated, streams in the caves and the White River itself began again the neverending effort to reach the level of the sea. Bluespring Caverns gradually enlarged as the free-flowing streams cut their way into or around the glacial debris. In the early 1940's, a large pond on the George Colglazier farm disappeared overnight in a heavy rain to reveal the entrance which is used today. This new access to the cave opened the way for young explorers to discover and perhaps understand the great forces of water and ice whose works were preserved in the slowly-changing world below. These evidences of the works of nature can yet be seen by the observant visitor.<br />
Pictures and videos of Bluespring Caverns<br />
Follow this link to see a cool video and learn more about caves and Bluespring Caverns!!<br />http://vimeo.com/6301263<br />
Questions that arose from this experience/research<br />Is the water running through a cave the same as water outside a cave?<br />What are caves made of?<br />How do caves form?<br />How long do caves take to form?<br />What kinds of animals live inside caves? <br />What do those animals eat?<br />What kinds of plants live inside caves?<br />What kinds of rocks are found in caves?<br />What is the difference in temperature inside and outside a cave?<br />
Things I learned from<br />This experience<br />Bluespring Caverns is home to the longest known subterranean river in the United States. <br />It also houses blind fish as well as crayfish, which are found in very few parts of the world.<br />The average temperature in a cave in Bluespring Caverns, no matter what the temperature is outside the cave, is 52 degrees. <br />
Student Activities<br />If you live near Bluespring Caverns, you could take your class on a field trip there. Activities that can be done to accompany the field trip include:<br /><ul><li>Have students test the pH levels in the water inside and outside the cave.
Give students a paper bag and have them collect various rocks and other materials from the caves. When returning to the classroom, students can study the rocks, determine what they are, etc.
Students can observe the caves and listen to the tour guide to learn more about how caves are formed and what they are made of. When returning to the classroom, students can research books, pictures, articles, etc. and create a model of a cave and how one is formed, either through manipulatives provided in the classroom or by drawing.
Have students study and take notes of what kinds on animals they see inside the caves. They will also ask questions throughout the tour about what kinds of animals live inside the cave. When returning to the classroom, students will draw a picture of the animals that were seen/can be found in the caves.
After returning from the field trip, the students will write reflections about what they learned at Bluespring Caverns. They will write about what they discovered, whether or not their questions were answered, and whether or not they have other questions that they wish to be answered about caves. </li></li></ul><li>Standards met by activities<br />Science 2.1.3: <br />Describe, both in writing and verbally, objects as accurately as possible and compare observations with those of other people.<br />Science 2.1.2:<br />Use tools, such as thermometers, magnifiers, rulers, or balances, to gain more information about objects.<br />Science 2.2.5: <br />Draw pictures and write brief descriptions that correctly portray key features of an object.<br />Science 3.1.2: <br />Participate in different types of guided scientific investigations, such as observing objects and events and collecting specimens for analysis.<br />Science 3.2.6: <br />Make sketches and write descriptions to aid in explaining procedures or ideas. <br />Science 4.3.6: <br />Recognize and describe that rock is composed of different combinations of minerals.<br />5.2.4 <br />Keep a notebook to record observations and be able to distinguish inferences from actual observations. <br />