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Home>>Collection>>Reading Program>>National Parks>>Grand Canyon National Park

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  Grand Canyon National Park (True Books) Grand Canyon National Park (True Books)

What I Learned Section 1 -- Answer the Following Questions:
1. The Grand Canyon is located in which state?
a) Wyoming
b) Arizona
c) Alaska
d) California

b) Arizona. The Grand Canyon is 277 miles (446 kilometers) long, an average of 10 miles (16 km) across, and 1 mile (1.6 km) deep. It is located in the Colorado Plateau in Arizona. The canyon has a rainbow of different colors of rock.

In 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt created a national monument around the Grand Canyon to protect it. In 1919, Congress expanded the monument to a park. This example show the difference between a national monument and a national park. National monuments are created by the U.S. President and protect one main feature. National parks are created by the U.S. Congress and preserve a combination of features including scenery, wildlife, and historical sites.

Today, the Grand Canyon National Park contains 1,904 square miles (4,931 square km). Every year, millions of people visit the Grand Canyon. Visitors can enjoy the park by car, tour bus, antique railroad train, mule train, and river raft. Visitors can also hike 400 miles of scenic trails along the South Rim, the North Rim, and into the canyon. Remember to take good hiking shoes, a sun hat, snacks, and lots of water.

The Grand Canyon is grand. Here are facts about other land formations in the world. Did you know...

the Amazon in South America is the world's biggest river?
the Sahara in Africa is the world's largest hot desert?
Mount Everest in Asia is the world's highest peak?

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2. True or False: Layers of limestone, sandstone, and shale can be found at the Grand Canyon.
True. The Earth is about five billion years old. The layered rocks of the Grand Canyon walls goes back about two billion years. That's a long time!

Each layer of rock represents a different period. The limestone layers were deposited by prehistoric shallow seas. Sandstone layers were formed by long-ago deserts and wind-blown dunes. The shale layers are a result of muddy river flats called deltas. Did you know shale is a dark, soft, oily rock?

The oldest exposed rock is at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. It contains little evidence of life. Moving up the canyon walls, the rocks move forward in time. There are fossil remains of simple sea creatures followed by fossil plants, insects, fish, reptiles, and more.

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3. The Grand Canyon was formed by which river?
a) The Grand Canyon River
b) The Colorado River
c) The Mississippi River
d) The Yellowstone River

b) The Colorado River. The Grand Canyon was carved out over six million years ago by the Colorado River.

The Colorado River runs east to west from the Rocky Mountains to the Gulf of California. As it flows, it carries millions of tons of melted snow and billions of gritty fragments of sand and silt (powdered rock). The Colorado River moves the melted snow, sand, silt, and rocks, and it slams them against its bed and banks. This flow bashes, gouges, and grounds its way deeper and deeper into the Colorado Plateau exposing layers of rock and time.

Did you know a river carves a canyon deeper while erosion widens a canyon? Erosion can be caused by rain, wind, ice, or gravity. Erosion widens a canyon, especially near its top, edges, or rims. Flash floods create and widen side canyons.

The river, rain, wind, ice, and gravity all help shape the Grand Canyon.

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4. True or False: There are three life zones at the Grand Canyon.
True. The Grand Canyon has three distinct life zones (or plant and animal communities) with 300 kinds of birds, 88 species of mammals, 58 types of reptiles, and 25 varieties of fish. The three separate habitats are determined by elevation, temperature, and moisture level.

The first life zone is the canyon. It is the lowest, hottest, driest, and harshest of the life zones. In the summer, the temperature can be over 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius. The rocks are even hotter.

Life can survive in the canyon because of the Colorado River. Cottonwoods, willows, and other trees line the river bank. The trees provide shade which cools the air which slows evaporation which helps the soil stay moist which allows plants to grow which provides food and shelter for many animals.

The bigger canyon animals include desert bighorn sheep, mule deer, and mountain lions. The sheep and deer eat plants and are called herbivores. Mountain lions eat meat and are called carnivores.

The second life zone is the South Rim. It is higher, cooler, and moister than the canyon bottom. It has forests of pinyon pines, ponderosa pines, and junipers. It also contains flowering bushes, cactus, and dry-land wildflowers. The animals of the South Rim are deer, rabbits, squirrels, porcupines, coyotes, and birds.

The third life zone is the North Rim. It is higher than the South Rim, and it is the coolest and greenest part of the park. Did you know the North Rim is also the least crowded part of the park? The North Rim has forests of ponderosa pine, aspen, and other mountain trees. It also has lakes, creeks, and meadows. The North Rim is open to visitors from spring to fall. The road closes in the winter because of snow.

The largest animal on the North Rim is the elk. Elk are members of the deer family. Every fall, male elk make loud, bugle-like mating calls. There are also black bears and Kaibab squirrels living on the North Rim. The Kaibab squirrel is native to the North Rim and is not found anywhere else on Earth. This squirrel lives in ponderosa pines. It has big ears with long hairs on top. It has a dark body and a long, white, bushy tail.

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5. Which of the following Native Americans lived near the Grand Canyon almost one thousand years ago?
a) Cherokee
b) Iroquois
c) Sioux
d) Anasazi

d) Anasazi.

About ten thousand years ago, prehistoric Native Americans probably discovered the Grand Canyon. They were nomadic hunters and gatherers. Nomadic means constantly moving. They did not build permanent houses and left little evidence of their presence. Some of the items they did leave were small animal dolls. These dolls are made from willow twigs and twisted into shapes of deer and sheep. They are about four-thousand years old. They were not toys. They were sacred objects.

About one thousand years ago, Anasazi came to the Grand Canyon. Anasazi is a Navajo word meaning "The Ancient Ones" or "Ancient Enemies." They were also hunters and gatherers. Later, the Anasazi grew vegetables for food and cotton for clothing. They built stone homes and painted pottery. On the South Rim of the Grand Canyon is the Tusayan Ruin. It is the ruins of an eight hundred year old Anasazi home.

In 1540, the Europeans first came to the Grand Canyon. Garcia Lopez de Cardeñas was a Spanish explorer. He was part of a larger expedition of Francisco Coronado. Cardeñas and a small group of explorers left Coronado's group and traveled west. The group met the Hopi, and the Hopi guided the explorers to the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon. Did you know Cardeñas and his men were the first Europeans to see the Grand Canyon?

Today, the Havasupai live in Supai Village on the Havasupai Indian Reservation. It is located in the southwest corner of the Grand Canyon National Park. They tend livestock, grow gardens, and sell goods and services to visitors. Havasupai means "People of the Blue-Green Water." They got their name from the nearby Havasu Creek and Havasu Falls. A large pool of sparkling blue-green water lies at the base of the falls.

Other Native American tribes living near the Grand Canyon are the Navajo, Hualapai, Hopi, and Kaibab-Paiute.

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What I Learned Section 2 -- Define the following words:
Elevation: Height above sea level

Erosion: The slow wearing away of rock or other material by water, wind, ice, and other natural forces

Evaporation: The conversion by heat of liquid to vapor, as when boiling water becomes steam

Fossil: The ancient, stony remains of plants and animals; fossils can be an organism's body, or merely a track or imprint

Mammals: Animals that are born live (rather than hatched from eggs), nurse their mother's milk as infants, and are usually covered with hair; humans are mammals

Nomadic: Constantly moving

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Bonus Questions (Answer 1 of the Following Questions for Your FREE Bookmark):
a.
Name ONE of the features of the Grand Canyon National Park.
South Rim, North Rim, Tusayan Ruin, Havasu Creek, Havasu Falls, Havasu Canyon, Supai Village, Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon Village, and Kaibab Canyon.

The South Rim is located on the south side of the Grand Canyon. The North Rim is located on the north side of the Grand Canyon. The South and North Rims are two of the Grand Canyon's three life zones.

The Tusayan Ruin is located on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. It is the ruins of an eight hundred year old Anasazi home.

The Havasu Creek runs down the Havasu Falls in the Havasu Canyon. This is near the Supai Village where the Havasupai live. The Supai Village is in the southwest corner of the Grand Canyon National Park.

The Bright Angel Trail is a trail from the South Rim into the canyon. It is steep and has little shade in the morning and evening.

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b. Fill in ONE of the following Fast Facts about the Grand Canyon:
Location: Northwestern Arizona, United States

Nearest City: Flagstaff, Arizona

Established: 1919

Size of Park: 1,904 square miles (4,931 square km)

Age of Canyon: About 6 million years

Length of Canyon: 277 miles (446 km)

Depth of Canyon: 4,500 feet (1,372 meters) at South Rim; 5,700 feet (1,737 m) at North Rim; 1 mile (1.6 km) average

Width of Canyon between Rims: 10 miles (16 km) average; greatest width 18 miles (29 km)

Distances from South to North Rim: 12 miles (19 km) straight-line; 21 miles (34 km) by trail; 215 miles (346 km) by road

Height: North Rim 8,000 feet (2,438 m) above sea level; South Rim average 6,800 feet (2,072 m) above sea level; Colorado River 2,200 feet (670 m) above sea level

Annual Rainfall: South Rim average 16 inches (41 centimeters); North Rim 26 inches (66 cm)

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c. Use five of the words in Section 2 in a sentence.
Answers may vary. Here are sample sentences from our young readers:
It is colder at higher elevations.

Erosion is caused by water and wind.

After it rains, the water evaporates into the air.

I want to look for fossils when I grow up.

I am a mammal, and so is my dog.

Nomadic people did not stay in one place.

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d. Have a parent or friend give you a spelling test with EACH of the words in Section 2.

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More Valuable Information about Grand Canyon National Park:
Grand Canyon National Park (NPS)
Current Conditions at Grand Canyon National Park (NPS)
Grand Canyon Historical Society
Grand Canyon Explorer
Grand Canyon (AreaParks.com)

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