Lace up your hooves and prepare to be immersed in the world of bison! This module-based program explores the multi-faceted story of bison in Canada. Topics covered directly link with aspects of the Grade 4 Social Studies, Grade 5 Social Studies and Grade 7 Social Studies and Science curricula; broad topics being Canadian ecology, history, culture, and current events. Alberta Education’s dedication to incorporating Indigenous and traditional views are also reflected. Modules of this program specifically investigate:

  • links between Indigenous peoples and bison
  • factors that led to the near-extinction of this iconic creature in North America
  • the role that bison play in the plains ecosystem
  • the significant role that Parks Canada and Elk Island National Park has played in the recovery of this species over the last 100 years

Program modules include:

  • Build a Bison: A hunt for bison bones followed with hands-on discovery of the neat physical adaptations of bison.
  • Bison Grocery Store: A matching game of pre-contact Indigenous-made items (derived from bison) and post-contact equivalents.
  • Bison Survivin’: An active tag-like game modified to illustrate the decline of bison and the factors that contributed to their near-extinction.
  • Bison Backstage: A shortened version of our hour-long guided tour of the plains bison handling facility (see page 6 for full tour description).
  • Bison Conservation Toss: An obstacle course that is harder than it looks. Hop over common obstacles to the survival of bison and ‘toss’ them into the conservation herds that Elk Island helped in establishing.


Program Type: Module-based
Dates: April to October
Location: Visitor Centre
Duration: 3 hours (modifiable); approximately 10 AM to 2 PM with a lunch break midway
# of Participants: 30 students per class; 2 classes per day (max.)


Program Fees: $73.60 per class per hour; taxes included
Entry Fees: Park entry fees may apply.
Prices are subject to change; please confirm with booking.


By email:
Advance booking is required.

Curriculum links

The following links are from Alberta Education curriculum:

Grade 4

Social Studies:

Alberta: A Sense of the Land

  1. Appreciate the environmental significance of national and provincial parks and protected areas in Alberta.
  2. How are Alberta’s provincial parks and protected areas and the national parks in Alberta important to the sustainability of Alberta’s natural environment?


Topic A: Waste and Our World

  1. Identify plant and animal wastes, and describe how they are recycled in nature.

Grade 5

Social Studies:

5.1 Physical Geography of Canada

  1. Appreciate how the land sustains communities and the diverse ways that people have of living with the land.
  2. How are Canada’s national parks and protected areas important to the sustainability of Canada’s natural environment?
  3. How are the Indigenous cultures and ways of life unique in… each of the western… regions of Canada?

Grade 7

Social Studies:

7.2 Following Confederation: Canadian Expansions

  1. What impact did immigration have on Indigenous peoples and on communities in Canada?


Unit A: Interactions and Ecosystems

  1. Investigate and describe relationships between humans and their environments, and identify related issues and scientific questions.
  2. Identify changing relationships between humans and their environments, over time and in different cultures—as, for example, in Indigenous cultures.
  3. Identify examples of human impacts on ecosystems, and investigate and analyze the link between these impacts and the human wants and needs that give rise to them.
  4. Identify impacts of the use of plants and animals as sources of food, fibre and other materials.
  5. Describe the relationships among knowledge, decisions and actions in maintaining life-supporting environments.
  6. Identify intended and unintended consequences of human activities within local and global environments, e.g. changes resulting from habitat loss; changes leading to species extinction

Grade 9

Social Studies:

9.2 Canada and the United States: An Economic Relationship

  • Students will demonstrate an understanding and appreciation of the ways in which economic decision making in Canada and the United States impacts quality of life, citizenship and identity.
  • Science:

    Unit A: Biological Diversity

    1. Investigate and interpret diversity among species and within species, and describe how diversity contributes to species survival
    2. Investigate and interpret dependencies among species that link the survival of one species to the survival of others [e.g. identify examples of symbiotic relationships; classify symbiotic relationships as mutualism, commensalism, parasitism]
    3. Identify impacts of human action on species survival and variation within species, and analyze related issues for personal and public decision making
    4. evaluate the success and limitations of various local and global strategies for minimizing loss of species diversity