• Approximately 1,500 black bears live in the national park.

    Great Smoky Mountains

    National Park NC,TN

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North Carolina Elementary

These opportunities for Kindergarten through 5th grade challenge students with hands-on learning experiences that are correlated with North Carolina elementary school curriculum standards. Each program enhances classroom learning by using the park's cultural and/or natural resources as teaching tools. Students have the opportunity to make real-world connections with science and history, while having fun at the same time! Watch a video overview.

All programs are free and bus assistance money may be available. For additional information or to sign your class up, call 828-497-1907 or email. Please fax us (828)497-1910 your completed reservation form or attach it to your email to formalize your program request.

Program Title Grade Location Season
Explore with your Senses K Oconaluftee Visitor Center Fall/Spring
Have to Have a Habitat 1 Deep Creek Picnic Area Fall/Spring
History and Culture 2 Mingus Mill Fall/Spring
What Makes Great Smokies Great? 3 Collins Creek Picnic Area Fall/Spring
Mountain Farm Life 4 Mountain Farm Museum Spring
On Top of Old Smoky 5 Clingmans Dome Fall/Spring

If you would like a hard copy of these programs, please download our color flyer.(1 mb pdf.)
 
grsm-PaC-Podcast-NC-K-5-Final

Elementary grade program video

Program Video: This video highlights the main activities and lessons for elementary grade levels, showcases the variety of educational offerings and provides a sense of program location. Each of the featured programs has a complete downloadable lesson plan on this site.

 
"Barney, the Talking Barn" with kindergarteners

Explore with Your Senses! (Kindergarten)
Students explore the Mountain Farm Museum and neighboring river and forest using their senses. Students are introduced to the history and wildlife of the National Park through conversations with talking barns, sensory walks, listening activities, classification exercises and color hunts.
Lesson Plan (1 Mb pdf.)





Location: Oconaluftee Visitor Center
North Carolina State Standards (Kindergarten):

Science
K.P.2.1
K.P.2.2
EX K.P.2.2
K.L.1.1

 
Deep Creek 1st grade

Have to Have a Habitat (First Grade)
Great Smoky Mountains National Park provides habitat for many of North Carolina's native plants and animals and provides a place for people to have fun. Students use sifter boxes, aspirators, and magnifying tools to discover and classify soil organisms. By role playing bears and hiking in the woods, students also learn about the needs of animals and how National Parks provide a place for people to have fun and adventure.
Lesson Plan (615 Kb pdf.)



Location: Deep Creek Picnic Area near Bryson City
North Carolina State Standards (1st Grade):

Science
1.L.1.1
1.L.1.2
1.E.2.1
1.E.2.2

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2nd graders touring Mingus Mill

History and Culture (Second Grade)
Students study communities and technologic advancement as they tour Mingus Mill and learn the role corn played in lives of local residents 100+ years ago. Students take a short hike in the woods to learn about edible and medicinal plants and how the locals used the forest as a supermarket and a drugstore. Students also play with historic toys and make a simple toy to take home.
Lesson Plan (3.2 Mb pdf.)



Location:
Mingus Mill
North Carolina State Standards (2nd Grade):

Science
EX.2.L.2.3

Social Studies
2.H.1.2
2.H.1.3
2.G.2.1
2.G.2.2
2.E.1.1
2.E.1.4
2.C&G.2.2
2.C.2.1

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3rd grade soil study

What Makes Great Smokies Great? (Third Grade)
Quiet walkways, stream floodplains and picnic pavilions provide the backdrop for students to discover soil properties, plant adaptations, and the environmental issues facing the park. Lifecycles, habitat, biodiversity and interrelationships are a constant focus of the hands-on activities while stewardship is the underlying theme during discussions.
Lesson plan (4.4 Mb pdf.)


Location: Collins Creek Picnic Area
North Carolina State Standards (3rd grade):

Science
3.L.2.1
3.L.2.2
3.L.2.3
3.L.2.4

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4th grade blacksmithing

Mountain Farm Life (Fourth grade)
Students study rural mountain life in the 1800's by working in a blacksmith shop, cooking at an open hearth, playing with historic toys, and studying artifacts and exhibits. Through these hands-on activities, students learn about the challenges and rewards of a simpler lifestyle as well as the value of preserving and protecting our heritage and public spaces.
Lesson Plan (460 kb pdf.)




Location: Mountain Farm Museum (at Oconaluftee Visitor Center) Offered in Spring Only
North Carolina State Standards (4th grade):

Social Studies
4.H.1.3
4.G.1.2
4.G.1.3
4.G.1.4
4.E.1.1
4.C.1.1

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5th graders gathering wind speed data on Clingmans Dome

On Top of Old Smoky (Fifth Grade)
Clingmans Dome serves as the high elevation classroom where students examine the ecology of sky-island habitats. The mountain top is also a great venue for students to build their understanding of weather and landforms both through direct observation and through the use of maps, data, and activities.
Lesson Plan (1 Mb pdf.)



Location:
Clingmans Dome
North Carolina State Standards (5th grade):

Science
5.P.1.1
5.P.2.1
5.P.2.3
EX.5.P.2.3
5.E.1.1
5.E.1.2
5.E.1.3
EX.5.L.1.2
5.L.2.1
5.L.2.2
EX.5.L.2.2
EX.5.L.2.3

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