High Altitude Science

An Incredible Journey

Purpose: Welcome worldwide climbers and explores!  You are about to begin an exploration of how life on earth endures the limits of high altitudes.  Visiting some of the most difficult living climates on earth we will experience a first hand view of how climbers, explores and life meet these challenges. With these experiences you will construct and compile a portfolio/resume recording your visit to each Camp 1-1V. 

Let's start at Base Camp. 

Created by: Jenny Goit
Capistrano Unified School District


Resources Needed: ?

Use of a computer with internet access. You will also need paper and something to write with.

Base Camp. 

Have you ever visited a high altitude location? In paragraph form, write an explanation of what atmospheric pressure is. Tell the major affects of atmospheric pressure and density has on the earth.  Be sure to explain how temperature effects atmospheric pressure. Describe what a barometer is and find out what today's barometric pressure is in your location using AWS automated weather service which hosts weather information from schools throughout Us and Canada. Pick ten location throughout the world and record their barometric pressure. 

Tent B
Perhaps you went on a camping trip in local mountains?  Life over ten thousand feet leaves you breathless. Let's explore how our bodies experience these adaptations.  Write one paragraph that summarizes the breathing process then create a diagram that explains the process in four steps.  Create a labeled diagram of the human heart and how is works. Take out a piece of paper and record your own pulse rate and compare it to the climbers' pulse rate.
Now take the Straw - Stress test: 

    1.   Breathe through a straw for five minutes.

2.  Record how your body's pulse rate reacts to the reduced oxygen. Write an explanation of why you think it changed and discuss how it relates to the climbers on Mt. Everest. 

Tent C

How do these climbers stay warm?  Watch and see how one climber suits up to stay warm? When climbers lose their ability to stay warm they can be in serious danger of hypothermia.  Find out what hypothermia is and explain how it effects the human body.  Temperatures on Mt.Everest can be extremely cold.  Wind chill factor has extreme effects on the temperature and can mean the difference between life and death on Mt.Everest.  Explain what wind chill factor is.  Calculate and record three wind chill temperatures from three different spots around the world using data from the AWS automated weather service.

Camp I

Tent A
Have you ever wanted to climb mountains?  There are many peaks that remain unclimbed in the Himalayas.  Using the metric conversion calculator at the bottom of page, calculate meters into feet of the ten tallest unclimbed mountains in the world. 

A Few Internet Resources:


Created August 14, 2000
Last Revised August 16, 2000

Teacher Notes

Suggested Grade Level: 6 to 9 ?? 

Science Content Standards: Note the following are examples.

Grade 6: Investigation and Experimentation (7a, b, c, e, g, h)
Grade 7: Investigation and Experimentation (7a, b, c, e)
Grade 8: Investigation and Experimentation (9a, b, e,)
Grade 9: Investigation and Experimentation (1a, c, d, i,) 

 S.C.O.R.E. Lessons Standards Search by Grade and Subject
S.C.O.R.E. Standards and Framework
California Content Standards Grades K-12
California Content Standards Grades K-12 - Science - PDF Format


Students need a basic background in lab procedures, cooperative team (timekeeper, supplies, clean-up) and a basic understanding of plants (roots, stem, leaf, flower). 


Interpreting data, making inferences, forming hypotheses, making predictions, graphing
Presentations -PowerPoint or Hyperstudio
Computer literacy
Effective use of Internet resources 


Presentations -PowerPoint or Hyperstudio, student created web page, worksheet, peer evaluation, rubric 


Presentations -PowerPoint or Hyperstudio, student created web page.