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

    Great Smoky Mountains

    National Park NC,TN

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    Several trails in the park are temporarily closed. Please check the "Backcountry Facilities" section of the Temporary Road and Facilities Closures page for further details. More »

Tennessee Middle School

These opportunities for 6th, 7th and 8th grades challenge students with hands-on learning experiences in the park's cultural and natural resources, including critical issues affecting these resources. Each program was developed in cooperation with Tennessee middle school teachers and are correlated with state and national curriculum standards with an emphasis on science and social studies.
For a complete listing of Tennessee middle school programs and the corresponding middle school standards, please download our program flyer.

Program title Location Season
Appalachian Heritage Sugarlands Visitor Center and Twin Creeks Fall/Spring
Biodiversity Classroom
Twin Creeks Fall/Spring
Dig This-Archeology Classroom Cosby Campground Fall/Spring
Forest and Stream Biodiversity Sugarlands Visitor Center and Twin Creeks Fall/Spring
Interdependence Look Rock and Newfound Gap Fall/Spring
Park Management Classroom Cades Cove Fall/Spring
Phenology Twin Creeks Fall/Spring
Smokies Rocks Classroom Look Rock Fall/Spring
Soil Exploration Classroom Twin Creeks Fall/Spring
Stream Scientists Classroom Sugarlands Visitor Center Fall/Spring
Weather and Air Quality Look Rock and Newfound Gap Fall/Spring

To register for one of these programs, please fill out the registration form and email it, fax it to (865) 436-1307 or mail it to:
Education Office
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
107 Park HQ Rd.
Gatlinburg, TN 37738
To reach us by phone, call 865-436-1713

 
Cades Cove bike program

Park Management Classroom
Students role play park constituents as they debate current issues facing this treasured resource. This program takes students on a memorable seven mile bicycle trip around a portion of the Cades Cove loop road. This program does require a $5.00 bike rental fee.
Location: Cades Cove

Lesson Plan (371 kb .pdf)

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Students studying soil properties

Soil Exploration Classroom
Students inventory the macroinvertebrates of the deciduous forest using scientific methods. In small teams, the class will analyze soil properties and recognize the interdependence of abiotic and biotic factors.
Location: Twin Creeks Science and Education Center, near Gatlinburg

Lesson plan (400 kb .pdf)

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NPS provides cultural resource protection and education

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Dig This! Archaeology and Resource Management Classroom
Students learn how park archaeologists continually learn about historic and pre-historic cultures. Students participate in methods and techniques for discovering, cataloging and preserving artifacts.
Locations: Cades Cove, Cosby Campground

Lesson plan (793 kb .pdf)

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Stories in stone

The Smokies Rocks! Classroom
Students will hike to a scenic view to explore the Smokies geology and its impacts on local geography. Maps, compasses and GPS units are used.
Location: Look Rock in Blount County

Lesson Plan (375 kb .pdf)


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FDR dedication

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The New Deal Classroom
Students will hike 4 miles round trip to explore the remaining clues of a Civilian Conservation Corps Camp. The role of the Smokies during the country's time of crisis will be discussed. Call the park to discuss options for students with limited physical abilities.
Location: Trailhead is near Sugarlands Visitor Center

Lesson plan (408 kb .pdf)

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water quality testing

Stream Scientist Classroom
Students will create a hypothesis on the health of a river system. Procedures for testing the hypothesis include water quality tests in small working groups, identification of point and non-point pollution sources as well as a benthic macroinvertebrate search using scientific methods.
Location: Sugarlands Visitor Center

Lesson plan (594 kb .pdf)

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invertebrate survey

Biodiversity Classroom
Students will generate and test a hypothesis to guide their examination of biodiversity in different park ecosystems. Examination methods include setting up a ground plot, using microscopes, and classifying organisms.
Location: Twin Creeks Science and Education Center, near Gatlinburg

Lesson plan (355 kb .pdf)

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Did You Know?

An experimental program to reintroduce elk to the park was begun in 2001.

An experimental program to reintroduce elk to the park was begun in 2001. Elk once roamed the Smokies, but were eliminated from the region in the mid 1800s by over-hunting and loss of habitat. Other animals successfully reintroduced to the park include river otters and barn owls. More...