Lesson Plan

Trail Skits

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Grade Level:
Kindergarten-Third Grade
Community, Conservation, Environment, Health, Performing Arts, Recreation / Leisure / Tourism, Wilderness
30 minutes
Group Size:
Up to 24 (4-8 breakout groups)
indoors or outdoors
National/State Standards:
Colorado Social Studies: K 4.2; 1st grade 4.1; 2nd grade 4.1, 4.2; 3rd grade 4.1
wilderness, Leave No Trace, preparation


Students will learn how to be prepared, respect the natural ecology, and be safe on their trip to Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.


Students will learn how to be prepared, respect the natural ecology, and be safe on their trip to Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.


Trail skits will help your students learn to be stewards of Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve during their visit. Have groups perform their skits in the classroom before visiting or when you first arrive at the dunes.

Explore Great Sand Dunes' web pages on safety and wilderness values for more ideas.


Optional props such as water bottles, shoes, litter, food, etc. Refer to Trail Manners list in Procedure.


Divide the class into small groups and give each group one trail manner (listed below). Give the class fifteen minutes to develop their skits (adults should circulate among the groups to help and focus them). Take turns presenting skits to the whole class, giving reminders to speak loudly and have the 'action' facing the larger group. Following each skit, the rest of the class should guess which trail manner was being communicated. Review all of the trail manners at the end. Begin each skit with the audience calling out the words, "lights, camera, action!"

An alternative teaching strategy for younger students is to divide the class into pairs. One partner will act out a trail manner performed incorrectly, the other student will interact and show the right thing to do. The rest of the class should guess which trail manner is being acted out.

Trail Manners:

  1. Be PREPARED for the day. It's easy to dry out and get sunburned in the high desert, so bring plenty of water and sun protection (hat, sunscreen, sun glasses). Wear appropriate clothes, bring warm layers, and wear sturdy shoes. Sandals are not good choices because the sand can get over 140 degrees and burn your feet on some spring and summer days! Shorts aren't the best choice either, because when the wind blows, your unprotected legs might get sandblasted. Neither shorts nor sandals will protect you from cactus, yucca, and other spiky plants in the grasslands surrounding the dunes, so wear long pants and sturdy shoes.
  2. Enjoy and leave what you find. Pick up natural objects like rocks, sticks, and leaves only to observe them-please don't pick plants or take other things home with you. Those natural objects might be someone else's home or food. Also, if you think something is interesting, someone else might too-leave it for others to enjoy.
  3. Please don't litter! This wild place is the home of many creatures. Just like you wouldn't want someone to come and leave trash all over your bedroom, do a good job at leaving the park clean for those who live here. You can even go the extra mile and pick up litter that others have carelessly left behind.
  4. Respect wildlife. Feeding wild animals is dangerous for you and unhealthy for them. Chasing, scaring, or hurting wild animals (even insects!) causes them stress and isn't appropriate behavior in a national park.
  5. Respect other visitors. If you are with a large group, be aware of other visitors, by letting them pass by and keeping your voices and behavior respectful.


wilderness, wildlife