Windows into Wonderland

Please Note:

We have updated the Windows Into Wonderland website for a better user experience. Because the eTrips were created with older technology, we have had to include some of the videos and activities outside of the eTrip. Please make the students aware that the affected videos and exercises are listed by page number below the eTrip. The student should use the links below the eTrip on the listed pages rather than the outdated links in the eTrip. Thank you!


Winter in Yellowstone is marked by cold temperatures and deep snowfalls, compelling some wildlife to survive by migrating to lower elevations outside of the park. However, many of Yellowstone’s Central Range bison endure the cold season by utilizing the park’s thermal features. Take your students on a 55-minute interactive investigation of the unique winter habitat of thermal areas and explore the advantages and hazards of such sites. Wildlife biologists, appearing in video clips, discuss the issues, and in-trip activities reinforce student knowledge.

For a list of education standards applicable to this field trip, see the Lesson Plans or National Standards.

If time permits, students may wish to read the Yellowstone National Park Orientation before taking this electronic field trip.

Discussion Points 

How do the thermal areas of Yellowstone affect bison migration patterns? What advantages do such sites offer to bison and other wildlife? What dangers do wildlife encounter that are specific to hydrothermal features? How do different wildlife species interact within a thermally influenced area?

Key Concepts Explored in this eTrip

  1. Thermal areas provide key survival habitat for the park’s bison.
  2. Thermal areas affect bison migration patterns.
  3. Different wildlife species may compete for limited space.
  4. The habitat of thermal areas may be both advantageous and hazardous to wildlife.

Lesson Plans

Pre-Electronic Field Trip

Post-Electronic Field Trip

Video Clips

There are three main video clips in the Flash (high bandwidth) version of this field trip on pages 21, 24 and 37. You can watch them here:

California State University Monterey Bay prepared a visualization of the migration of Yellowstone's central herd. This content is not part of the main eTrip, but is offered here as an additional resource for teachers and students. Watch Yellowstone Bison Migration (Transcript)

More Information

Return to the Where the Bison Roam eTrip Page