Lesson Plan

Create Your Own National Park

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Grade Level:
Third Grade-Eighth Grade
Subject:
Language Arts, Science and Technology
Duration:
45 minutes
Group Size:
Up to 24 (4-8 breakout groups)
Setting:
in the park
National/State Standards:
SC ELA: 3-8
I-B; I-C; II-A; II-B; III-A; III-B: III-C; III-D; III-E; III-F; IV-A; IV-B; IV-C; IV-D; IV-E; IV-F; IV-G; IV-I; V-A; V-B; VI-A
Science:
3rd - I-A.1, 3, 4; II-A.1, 2, C.2; III-A. 1.2, B.1;
4th- I-A, 1, 3, 4; II-A.1, 8.2, 3; III-B;

Overview

Students describe characteristics of a National Park, discuss some of the problems and critical issues facing National Parks, and analyze acquired information to write a persuasive proposal for setting aside an area as a National Park.

Objective(s)

  • The student will explain the concept of National Parks.
  • The student will explain the role of National Parks as defined by Congress.
  • The student will differentiate between National Parks and State Parks.
  • The student will create an imaginary park and design management and interpretive goals.

Background

There are more than 400 National Park areas in the National Park System, set aside by Congress to preserve and protect the best of our natural, recreational, cultural and historical resources for the use and enjoyment of all persons, including future generations.

As diverse as the visitors who come to them, the parks may offer any one or a combination of the following: camping, hiking trails, scenic overlooks, bird watching, educational programs, museums, picnic areas, horseback riding, auto tour routes, nature trails, interpretive trails, bike trails, campfire programs, swimming, whitewater rafting and rock climbing. Some of the more remote parks offer grocery stores, restaurants and sleeping facilities.

A park may have several outstanding natural features for which it was set aside, or it may be preserved for a specific site. Park management is set up much like a school system, with the rangers being the teachers. Each day brings new challenges to a park and its resources.

Upon arriving at some of the National Parks, the visitor pays a small entrance fee and is handed a park map outlining the major resources and sites to visit. Larger parks have a visitor center where rangers dispense information about the park.

One part of a ranger’s job is to interpret the park resources and problems to the visitors so that they understand the concerns of the park. Why? Because parks belong to the people who must be educated about these valuable resources and how to preserve and protect them!

Materials

For each pair of students:

Clipboard
Paper, pencil
Magnifying glass
One 15-foot piece of string
Six popsicle sticks
Poker chips (or peanuts) - at least one per student

Procedure