Middle School Programs

Brought right to your campus

Learning disguised as fun

If you’re the kind of teacher who inspires students to love learning, CaveSim programs are for you. We provide the perfect mix of valuable educational content and fun, led by staff who truly understand the middle school experience. Because the programs are so engaging and fun, students actually forget that they’re still in class. And because we know that you’re also an expert, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to share your insights and tie to your curriculum during our program. Partner with us to open your students eyes about the joy of learning.

a cave brought to my school?

How does it work?

Our expert staff bring a 26′ trailer to your school with an incredible cave inside. Computer scoring makes the cave extra fun – as students explore, they get a score based on how careful they are to not touch the stalactites. The cave trailer is just one of numerous stations. We also set up an impressive vertical caving tower, a cave rescue stretcher, bat biology lessons, and other hands-on activities. Your students rotate through these stations, learning and having fun at each activity. We work with you to make sure that our program covers the content that you care most about.

"so excited"
We loved having you, and I am so excited to keep this program going.

Deitra Biely, 7th-8th grade science teacher, Grove MS, OK

"terrific"
Your staff was terrific.

Annette Humphrey, MS Science, Good Shepherd School, Denver

"definitely worthwhile"
The kids learned a lot and had a good time. It was definitely worthwhile.

Amos White, MS Division Lead, The Colorado Springs School

Recent middle school programs

Choose your focus area

Even without adding any of our in-class labs to your program, we can focus our activities on the subjects that students are learning in your class.  Choose one or more focus areas from the list below and we’ll emphasize those focus areas during our program.

life science

Many species live in caves, from bats to bacteria. Using a real bat skeleton and guano, we teach students about the adaptations bats and salamanders have for living in caves. Students learn how extremophile bacteria help to form caves. As students explore CaveSim, computers score their ability to avoid artificial bats, salamanders, and cave formations. Students gain an understanding of the cave food web, and how energy is transferred to and from above-ground food webs.

earth science

Caves are important in daily life. We use cave minerals in toothpaste, walls, and even food. Through hands-on lessons, students learn about cave minerals on an atomic level, and about forces that alter rock, including chemical and physical weathering. Students learn about the role that sinkholes and other karst features play in our water supply. By exploring the highly-realistic mobile cave, students get hands-on experience investigating cave geology.

Physical science

There’s no better way to learn the physics of simple machines than being lifted up a 12 foot tower in a harness. Students learn about friction, forces, trigonometry, and mechanical design. Advanced students can learn about vectors and elastic vs. inelastic collisions.

Engineering

We created CaveSim, including the software and electronics, and we love sharing the fun of engineering. Students go hands-on with cave rescue phones to learn about electromagnetics, and we teach waves and energy with homemade speakers. We also offer STEM labs for various ability levels.

art

The oldest art is found in caves, making caves an ideal place to study the origins of art. While exploring the mobile cave, students look for cave paintings and pottery. After exiting, students are asked to interpret what they saw. Students also learn about art preservation, and can even do hands-on art activities.

physical education

PE teachers love CaveSim because we bridge PE and other subjects. Students learn core content while being physically active, and kids who have trouble focusing often excel during CaveSim programs. Our cave rescue stretcher helps students learn about teamwork and coordinated motion.

Add a lab to your program

Standard programs can be enhanced by adding our labs, which provide an in-depth educational experience in a specific subject, like biology or engineering.  We never use kits because our goal is to teach students that engineering and science are accessible to them without the use of pre-prepared materials.  We emphasize conservation by using recycled materials in our engineering labs.

Biology Lab

Slime mold is found is some caves. In this lab, students culture slime mold in Petri dishes and choose from several experiments. They learn that single-celled organisms can demonstrate forms of intelligence and memory. Students learn about connections between biology and computer science.

  • Topics: pro/eukaryotic, 7 kingdoms of life, experiment design, extremophiles
  • 1 class at a time (~25 students)
  • 55+ minutes per group
  • Starting at $8/student
Epidemiology Lab

Over 7 millions have died in the US since 2010 from the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans fungus, which causes a disease called White Nose Syndrome (WNS). Through a hands-on game with fluorescent dye or powder, students model the spread of WNS and learn about epidemiology.

  • Topics: exponential functions and algebra, random processes, graphing
  • 1 class at a time (~25 students)
  • 30 minutes per group
  • Starting at $1.90/student
WaterProof Flashlight Lab

Students create caving lights from scratch. They make an LED circuit from simple components, and get soldering experience with 1:1 instruction. Students design and make a flashlight case from recyclable materials, test their work to see if their lights are waterproof, and revise their designs as needed.

  • Topics: engineering, entrepreneurship, circuits, material science.
  • 1 class at a time (~25 students)
  • 60-90 minutes per group (can be split into 2 days)
  • Starting at $8/student
Cave Formation lab

Students make their own cave formations (stalactites, stalagmites, cave popcorn) using household materials. Students work in teams of 2-3 and conduct several experiments, making predictions about each.

  • Topics: hydrology, geology & geochemistry, states of matter, polar vs. non-polar molecules
  • Up to 2 class at a time (max 50 students)
  • 25-30 minutes per group
  • Starting at $2.75/student
Geology Lab

Students make their own karst topography (cave landforms) using household materials. After creating cave strata in a cup, students add water to their model and watch as a sinkhole forms in real time.

  • Topics: hydrology, geology, environmental science, conservation
  • Up to 2 class at a time (max 50 students)
  • 25-30 minutes per group
  • Starting at $2.95/student
Waves & Energy Lab

After an activity with real cave rescue phones, students make their own version using cups and string. Students conduct several experiments with their phones and record their observations.

  • Topics: waves, energy, electromagnetics, graphing, algebra
  • Up to 2 class at a time (max 50 students)
  • 30-40 minutes per group
  • Starting at $1.95/student

Additional resources for middle schools​

Browse the tabs below to get answers to all of your questions

Choose your state to see how CaveSim middle school programs align with your standards.

Don’t see your state? Don’t worry! We do programs in all lower 48 states. Contact us for more info.

It’s easy to have CaveSim come to your school.  Just pick a location on campus that you think will work and tell us where to set up.  Use the info below to help you pick a good location.

Check out our calendar to see when we’re available, then contact us to book your program.

Typically 30-150 students per day.  For over 150 students, we do multi-day programs.

We usually teach full-day programs. Students participate in groups (typically 1-2 classes at a time). Each group participates for about 60-90 minutes, depending on your learning and schedule needs. For smaller schools, we can do as much as three hours of teaching with one group.

Our program is well suited for all middle school grades.

Yes. Many schools sign up for non-adjacent grades, like 6th and 8th. This allows us to come back each year with something new and exciting for students.

We usually teach the entire program outside. In bad weather, many of our activities can be set up inside. The cave always stays in the trailer, and we put up tents to shelter the students. In very severe weather (heavy rain, high winds), we will close the cave and do all of our activities inside. The cave does have heat and AC. See our setup info sheet for more details.

The cave was originally built as a rescue training device for firefighters. Most middle school students will have no trouble going through the cave. For physically larger students, the cave contains accommodations, including several emergency exits. The program contains many different activities, so students who do not feel comfortable doing the cave can participate in many other activities. We teach the Challenge By Choice philosophy.

Yes, it has both, and they work quite well.

Click “Ask us a question” and ask away! We’re always here to help.

Our permission slips are available at cavesim.wpengine.com/schools/waivers. If you have questions or concerns, please let us know.

Different schools fund our program using different approaches, so we’ve compiled a list of ideas and resources to help you.

Booking request

Use the form below, or contact us by phoneemail, or text.

  • This information helps us coordinate our trip to your school.