Exploring Caves

Information for Teachers

Curriculum links

Australian Science Standards

ESS (ACSSU075) Earth’s surface changes over time as a result of natural process and human activity

ESS (ACSSU075) Rocks and fossils show evidence of changes in Earth’s surface features

ESS (ACSSU075) Natural processes create changed or different landforms

GS (ACHASSK113) The environmental and human influences on the location and characteristics of a place and the management of spaces within them

New Zealand Science Achievement Objectives

PEB: Water, air, rocks and soil, and life forms make up our planet and these are also Earth’s resources

PEB: The nature of the water cycle and its effect on climate, landforms, and life

MW: Chemical and physical changes in materials or substances

NS: Science is a way of explaining the world and that science knowledge changes over time

Helpful websites

You may want to direct your students to some or all of these websites to help with their investigations.

General information about caves can be found at:



Information about different types of caves can be found by searching using the subheadings from chapter 1 of Exploring Caves, e.g. limestone caves.


To find out about fossils in caves, helpful search words include: paleontology, fossils.

This site has lots of interesting information about caves. Enter “cave” in its search engine or go to archaeology or paleontology.


Students can search “animals that live in caves” to find out more about how and why animals live in or visit caves.

This site has a nice quiz about animals that live in caves in Cuba:


How to search the internet

1 Keep your request short

Fewer words will give a more accurate search.

2 Choose exactly what you want

For example: Arctic Circle Climate

3 Use quotes

Double quotes around a set of words tell the search engine to consider those exact words in that exact order without any change. For example: “Arctic Circle Climate”

4 Use the plus sign (+)

If you add a plus sign (+) between words, the internet will search for all the words. For example: migrate+birds+whales+mammal

5 Use the minus sign (–) to say what you don’t want

Use a minus sign (–) to show words you do not want to appear in your results. For example: if you search for burrowing animals and do not want mammals in your search,  –mammals will exclude mammals. Note that you need to put a space before the minus sign for the word to be excluded.

6 Be very clear about what you don’t want

Part 1
Ask questions and make predictions

After reading Exploring Caves, you may have many questions about how caves are formed and how people and animals use caves.

List your questions

  • Compare your list with questions that others have.
  • Choose a question you would like to investigate.
  • You can work alone, with a partner, or in a small group.

You may choose to investigate a cave or cave system you have heard of


1. Where is this cave found?

2. When was it discovered?

3. How was it formed?

4. What is of special interest about this cave?

5. How have people or animals used the cave?

Go to Part 2 Plan and investigate →

Part 2
Plan and investigate

Do searches in the internet or in books or talk to people who can help to find the information you are looking for.

Your teacher may suggest suitable websites for further information.

Go to Part 3 Record and analyse data →

Part 3
Record and analyse data

Find a way of recording your information that will allow you to see any patterns in the data.

Data Chart for caves

Download Chart
Go to Part 4 Evaluate the information →

Part 4
Evaluate the information

1. Look over the information you have gathered and the patterns you have found.

What is of special interest about this cave?

How have people or animals used the cave?

2. Search for other patterns.

3. Makes notes about what you find.

Go to Part 5 Communicate and share ideas →

Part 5
Communicate and share ideas

Look over all of the information that you have gathered in your investigation.

What are the most important ideas about your topic?

Make a chart showing the most important ideas.

Download Chart
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