De Soto National Memorial has a variety of formal and informal program options for educators. Choose the option that fits your needs:
Educators with current teacher identification receive a fifteen percent discount in the De Soto National Memorial bookstore.
Parks in Classrooms
The purpose of the National Park Service's (NPS) PIC program is to give schools the chance to allow students to experience an in- class fieldtrip. The PIC program is funded by federal grants and is offered free of charge to any educational institution, public or private, that wishes to participate. De Soto National Memorial has offered the PIC program for the last three school years, and has steadily increased the number of participant schools it offers the programs to. Currently, De Soto National Memorial offers the PIC program to elementary schools in both Manatee and Sarasota counties. So far this 2011-2012 school year, De Soto National Memorial rangers have visited more than 15 schools and have spoken to over 1,500 students from Kindergarten to fifth grade.
The four programs De Soto National Memorial rangers offer are as follows:
1) The Spanish Exploration of Florida: This program deals with the age of exploration; it covers the expeditions of Columbus, Ponce de Leon, Narvaez, De Soto, and Menendez. It covers topics such as navigation, disease epidemics, invasive animal species, warfare between European and Indian peoples, slavery, and colonization.
2) The Native Tribes of the Southeast: This program is interactive and teaches the students the names and places of native tribal societies before the arrival of the Europeans. Students are asked to read from cards that give them cultural and geographical clues to the identity and location of these tribes. Images accompany the markers so students get an idea of what these native people and the world they inhabited looked like. Topics covered include hunting, trading, roles of native men and women, inter-tribal conflict, and native ingenuity.
3) Florida's Environment: This program introduces students to the cyclical nature of Florida's environment. We look at the environment from the bedrock up, and its role in Florida's water cycle. We then explore the cycle of life and how every animal and ecosystem is dependent on one another. We show how we as people fit into the environment and how our choices impact the world around us. Topics include water cycles, aquifers, food cycles, pollution, dangers of feeding wild animals, and the hazards of introducing exotic species into an ecosystem.
4) The National Park Service and Jobs of a Park Ranger: This program explores the importance of the National Park Service and gives students a picture of how big the NPS is and what parks, monuments, memorial, etc… are included in the NPS. This program informs the students that these parks are indeed theirs and that as Americans it is their responsibility to protect them. We then look at the many different jobs that Park Rangers have and show students the many different responsibilities Park Rangers have and how they can fit into the larger picture of the NPS. Topics include regions, parks, icons, lifesaving, interpretation, protection, and conservation.
PIC's are offered throughout the school year for grades K-5. Students are given the 30-45 min program with Q&A as well as the classroom edition of our Junior Ranger Activity Book and Park Brochure. We can tailor specific programs to fit your lesson plans. To schedule a PIC please call us at 941-792-0458. PIC scheduling is subject to ranger availability and staffing.
De Soto National Memorial Junior Ranger Activity Book
De Soto National Memorial Junior Ranger Activity Book, is our award winning education guide at the park. The book was designed for age groups 6-12 years old, with many challenging activities that involve math, writing, reading, and science. During development many resources and educators from local schools were consulted in its design. We include this list of benchmarks that will aide teachers in their use of this book and their lesson planning. Rangers bring copies of the activity book when they visit classrooms as part of the Parks in Classroom (PIC) program. To access the list of Sunshine State standards benchmarks please click here.
Did You Know?
Tourists visiting De Soto National Memorial in Bradenton, Florida, sent the leaves of the sea grape through the mail as postcards until the U.S. Post Office stopped delivering them in the 1970s. The sea grape leaf was used as writing paper by explorers and early settlers. More...