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The following exercises encourage students to better understand Mammoth Cave and appreciate local natural and historic resources.

Activity 1: Touring Mammoth Cave
Have students pretend they were one of the people who made an actual tour of the cave with Bishop in 1848. They are to write a letter to a friend describing Mammoth Cave and their experience on the tour. They may use a standard encyclopedia to obtain additional information about Mammoth Cave. Have students compare their letters and discuss the need for guides when touring potentially dangerous places.

Activity 2: Caring for Local Resources
Have students list some of the places in their community or region that are visited by tourists or are of special interest to the inhabitants of the community. They might start the list by thinking of school field trips they have taken. Then ask students to name one of their community’s established natural or historic resources. This is a place which is felt to be so important that it must be specially cared for to ensure that it will exist for future citizens. Have students investigate how preservation of that site is funded. Working in small groups, ask students to identify another site, one that they think ought to be preserved, but which is not yet protected. Have the groups devise a conservation plan for their site.

Activity 3: Luring the Public to a Special Place
Mammoth Cave’s most striking feature is its vast, incomprehensible size. From the earliest times it drew visitors who ranged from those who wanted to explore its total extent to those who simply wanted to gaze at some of its incredible natural formations. It is easy to see why tourists were drawn to this remarkable natural property, and why the Kentucky National Park Commission hoped to keep them coming. Ask students if any of the natural or historic features on the list they generated for Activity 2 has the potential to draw tourist dollars to the region. Have them investigate state or local agencies that promote tourism. Then they should find out how those agencies describe the area and its resources. After studying existing brochures or taking walking tours, have each student develop an advertisement for the state’s natural or historic resource they find most interesting. Have students exchange brochures and discuss the region’s attractions. They might find it helpful to visit the state tourism agency or a local chamber of commerce for background information.

 

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