Landscapes of Change: Free curriculum for the Washington State Parks Mount St. Helens Visitor Center

Mount St. Helens Institute and Washington State Parks collaboratively developed a set of activities for before, during, and after field trips to the Washington State Parks Mount St. Helens Visitor Center.

We encourage you to explore our FREE online resources, to coordinate with WA State Parks staff to lead activities in person and to share this new resource with your community!


Washington State Parks Mount St. Helens Visitor Center


These activities support the Next Generation Science Standards and include making observations that serve as evidence to explain a phenomenon: a landscape of change.  Each activity incorporates a different technique for making observations of natural features that together provide examples of how interactions on a landscape change a landscape. The curriculum includes the following: 


These resources are FREE for all who visit the Washington State Parks Mount St. Helens Visitor Center

  • Curriculum is designed for elementary-age students: 5th - 3rd grade. Activities can be adapted.


The Mount St. Helens Visitors Center is a fantastic and accessible place to learn about processes of landscape disturbance and change at Mount St. Helens! 

  • Located just 5 miles from I5 on the Spirit Lake Highway
  • Park includes the Mount St. Helens Visitors Center, 5 miles of hiking trails, view of the volcano Mount St. Helens from the west, and a site for year-round camping and free ranger programs.


The FREE curriculum provides information about goals, standards and links to all components such as the printable student and teacher worksheets.

  • Field trips can be led independently by teachers or with Park Ranger staff. 
  • Washington State Parks staff provides printed facilitation materials.
  • Students can be divided into groups and rotate between activities. 
  • All activities take place outside along the 1 mile ADA-accessible boardwalk trail.
  • Each activity takes 15-20 minutes. Designed to make it easy to choose to do any selection of activities.
  • This curriculum provides all needed materials for teachers and chaperones to facilitate in person during the field trip. 
  • All activities tie into the theme "Landscapes of Change."
  • This curriculum was developed by Washington State Parks staff who are knowledgeable and can assist teachers and chaperones with leading activity stations. 
  • Activities ask students to participate in the Next Generation Science Standards Science & Engineering Practices
  • This curriculum includes resources about STEM-related career choices to use with students.  The resources include videos featuring an Interpretive Specialist from Washington State Parks, whose job is to teach people about the park, including the science at work in the park’s natural environment.  Teachers can accompany these activities with this career interview with the same ranger.

The Landscapes of Change curriculum is a result of a collaborative effort between the Mount St. Helens Institute and Washington State Parks.


Special thanks to the Washington State Recreation Office No Child Left Inside grant, the Honorable Frank L and Arlene G Price Foundation, and the Autzen Foundation for providing funding to support outdoor education Mount St. Helens.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.