The Natchez Trace Parkway is a diverse blend of history, environment, and recreation. Its thousands of years of human history began with travelers who pre-dated the mound builders, and continues on through 20th century public works projects. The Trace contains diverse environmental features ranging from mixed hardwood forests on foothills, to prairie and swamps. The 444-mile corridor provides opportunities for a vast variety of outdoor recreational experiences. Our educational program reflects the diversity of the Trace and provides educational experiences that engage students and inspire learning.
We are currently updating our pages, so please be patient with our progress and check back as our lessons become searchable. Links to lesson plans are below and also at the bottom of the For Teachers page.
The teacher will show the students a map of the Natchez Trace Parkway and show the students where they live in relation to the Parkway. The teacher will read "How the Natchez Trace Came to Be" (downloadable) to the students. The teacher has the option for several activities. The students can take notes during the reading of the story, help to retell the story, write sentences, fll out a cloze activity, and/or draw a picture of the Natchez Trace Parkway.
The students will investigate an ecoregion of the NATR and fill out a worksheet with ecoregions characteristics. They will then collect the information into a class scrapbook. If necessary, the teacher will review with the class, the words; biotic, abiotic, biome and landform. The teacher will assign pairs or small groups of students to research the various ecoregions found along the Natchez Trace Parkway. The teacher will assist the students in compiling a scrapbook containing their research.
On a National Scenic Trail students will observe how a keystone species can create an ecosystem used by a variety of different species, leading to an overall increase in biodiversity. The students will be visiting a National Scenic Trail and observing an ecosystem created by a keystone species (beavers).
The students will create a scrapbook of the plants and animals of the Natchez Trace Parkway. Each student will be assigned a plant or animal that lives on the Trace. The students will perform research to find interesting facts about it. As the students are researching, they should also find a picture of the species. When all of the assignments have been turned in, the teacher will bind the pages together to make a classroom scrapbook of the animals and plants that live on the Natchez Trace.
By pretending they are investigating a theft, the students will compare and contrast Native American mounds from two time periods. They will use deductive reasoning to determine which objects belong to which mounds in either of the two time periods. The lesson can be used with photos provided in the plan or teachers may check out imitation artifact kits by calling 662-680-4015.
On a National Scenic Trail, students will investigate how privet, a non-native plant species, out-competes and affects native plant species diversity. They will inventory the plants along the trail.
A historical narrative and four independent lesson activities including mapping, persuasive letter writing, research, and “bridge building” are provided to teach students about the physical evolution of the Natchez Trace. This lesson will teach about the history of the building of the road now known as the Natchez Trace Parkway. Four separate activities are provided, including plotting the Trace on a blank map, writing a letter, learning about engineering, and building a bridge with cards.
On a National Scenic Trail, students will investigate how privet, a non-native plant species, out-competes and affects native plant species diversity.
"A Worn Path,” is a short story written by Eudora Welty in 1940. The story is set on the Natchez Trace and the town of Natchez, MS. The protagonist is Phoenix Jackson an elderly African-American woman who goes on a heroic quest to procure medicine for her ill grandson. Students will read “A Worn Path,” complete a comprehension quiz, discuss the layers of metaphor, simile, allusion, and allegory utilized by Welty.
The teacher will read How the Natchez Trace Came to Be to the students and the students will write a summary report of the book with help from the teacher. The teacher will show the students an official map of the Natchez Trace Parkway and have the students determine where they live in relation to the Parkway. The teacher will lead a reinforcing class discussion. Alternatively, the teacher may write the notes on the board after the story is read and then have the students copy the notes.