- Social Studies, Writing
- 30-45 minutes
- Group Size:
- Up to 36
- National/State Standards:
- Social Studies: 1, 1a,1b,3a, 5
- Ethnic/Cultural Heritage, Cultural History, cultural influence, place name, geographic name, geographic names
OverviewThis lesson engages students to determine important locations and creatively develop their own names for places around the school.
Enduring Understanding: There is a history to how locations got their names.
Essential Question: What events or people can influence the naming of a location?
The students will learn to:
1) Understand how pioneers generated place names
2) use creative skills to generate their own place names
3) determine important features of localized geographic area
"A trail led from Natchez northward and eastward through forests of oak and hickory and pine, through can thickets and swamps, to Nashville on the Cumberland, 500 miles away. The trail had many names. The southern part followed Indian paths to the farm villages of the Choctaws. English men of the 1770's therefore spoke of the Path to the Choctaw Nation. The northern part was known by the people of Nashville as the Chickasaw Trace in the 1780's.
"As the flow of through traffic between Nashville and Natchez increased, men began to speak of 'the Natchez Road' or 'the Nashville Road,' naming it for the distant point to which they were headed.
"Frontiersmen who first explored the valleys that drained into the Ohio River left faint paths for others to follow. Such paths were called traces. Many of them became famous: Boone's Trace, Berry's Trace and others. In time, the people of the Cumberland Valley began to speak of the Natchez Trace. Oddly enough, they called it the Natchez Road" When it was merely a 'path that serpentine those boundless forests'. Not until after it had in face become a road did they call it the Natchez Trace." (Phelps and Ross 1952)
Where did people get ideas for names?
Place names can be descriptive like French Camp.
Place names can be historic like Yackanookany.
Place names can be aesthetic like Emerald Mound.
Place names can be about a person Colbert Ferry.
Place names can be about an event Pigeon Roost.
1.) Name It worksheet
2.) Name It worksheet example
Teachers: Give examples of place names along the Natchez Trace Parkway descriptive such as Shady Grove, Colbert Ferry, Cypress Swamp, and Dancing Rabbit Creek. Ask the students how they thought each place got its name. Ask the students to say place names that they know. Write them on the board as students name them. Discuss how those places may have gotten their names.
Student Task: This activity will generate more commitment if students are able to move about to investigate, either as a class, small groups or as individuals. Students will choose fifteen locations and list them on the worksheet. (Option: Student will draw a map, or be provided with an unlabeled map of the classroom or school) Students will make up unique and descriptive names for each location. For example, the doorway to the cafeteria could be "Food Pass", or the nurse's office could be "Healing Station."
1.) Students will determine what they think are important features of the classroom, school or school yard.
2.) Students will make up creative names for those important places.
3.) Hand out the Name It work sheet. Explain to the students that they will be making up names for fifteen locations in the classroom (or elsewhere).
4.) On the worksheet, they will write a short description of the location and then (at their seats or for homework) they will invent a name for the location.
5.) If students are going outside the classroom, be sure they understand their boundaries.
Teacher Closure: Review the activity and follow up with discussion of place names along the Natchez Trace Parkway.
AssessmentParticipation in the activity and quality of worksheet responses.
Park ConnectionsTeaches students the importance of how locations may have gotten their names and brings them into the history of the Natchez Trace.
1.) On a field trip to the Natchez Trace Parkway have the students observe place names along the roads.
2.) Provide the students a list of names of people and places on the Natchez Trace. Have them choose a person and write a report about that person and how they were associated with the Old Natchez Trace. Alternatively, if the student knows a family member or friend who has a name associated with the Natchez Trace, have them investigate that family's role on the Old Natchez Trace.
a. Students write a creative paragraph about one or more of the place names they created. For example, the nurse's office could be accompanied by a story about a student who got sick and went to the nurse's office. Students should be encouraged to use descriptive words.
b. Students write a creative paragraph about one or more the place names on the Natchez Trace. Students should be encouraged to use descriptive words