Lesson Plan

History of the Natchez Trace

Grade Level:
Kindergarten-First Grade
Social Studies, Writing
1 class period
Group Size:
Up to 36
National/State Standards:
MS Objectives:
K- Social Studies: 2, 3, 5
K- Language Arts: 2, 2b, 2d
First Grade– Social Studies 1, 2, 3, 5
First Grade– Language Arts: 2, 2d


The teacher will read How the Natchez Trace Came to Be to the students and the students will draw a picture of the Natchez Trace. The teacher will read How the Natchez Trace Came to Be to the students. The teacher will make sure that the students are listening and looking closely at the pictures. The students may refer to the pictures when they are drawing their own pictures. The teacher will also help the students to remember facts from the story by retelling the story to the class.


Enduring Understanding: Human migration impacts cultural development of societies.

Essential Question: What role did people and animals play in the development of the old Natchez Trace?

The students will:

1.) Demonstrate listening and comprehension skills

2.) Learn about the beginning of the Natchez Trace Parkway 3.) Draw a picture illustrating a concept from the book or an experience on the Natchez Trace Parkway.


The Natchez Trace was formed many years ago by animals and subsequently by American Indians who hunted those animals. After the Europeans began to explore the land, they also used the established trails. Later the Natchez Trace was used by traders, later called Kaintucks, who had floated flat boats carrying goods to the then territorial capital of Natchez on the Mississippi River. They sold their flatboats and walked back to the northeast, Tennessee and Ohio River areas. The Natchez Trace was also used a Postal Road. The Trace was the quickest way to get from Nashville, Tennessee to Natchez, Mississippi. The Natchez Trace we travel today is not the same as the one the Kaintucks had to travel many years ago. Now, the Trace follows closely to the original network of trails, but because of some of the old Trace is on private land, the contractors in the 1930s improvised and built the road where they could acquire the land nearby. Parts of the Old Trace can still be found along the Parkway and are still available for visitors to walk. The Natchez Trace Parkway is cared for by the National Park Service an agency of the Department of Interior and under the executive branch of the government. Every citizen of the United States holds "ownership" of the National Parks and it is part of the duties of citizens to evaluate the level of care given by the government agency.

• Vocabulary

• Kaintucks- a person who traveled the Natchez Trace Parkway back home to the Ohio River Valley

• National Park Service- part of the Department of Interior that is responsible for nationals parks, monument, and historical sites


1.) Classroom Discussion

2.) How the Trace Came to Be (Can be printed as a book or a powerpoint)


Student Task: The students will listen closely as the teacher reads How the Natchez Trace Came to Be. The students will participate in a class discussion. The students will draw a picture representing something they remember from the story or that they have seen on the Natchez Trace Parkway. The pictures will be displayed in the classroom. The students will discuss what they remember.

Student Instruction:

1.) The students will listen as the teacher reads How the Natchez Trace Came to Be . As the story is being read, the students should pay close attention to the pictures.

2.) After the story is read, the students will participate in a class discussion.

3.) They will then draw a picture relating to the story. The teacher will keep the story available while the students are drawing their pictures so they may refer to the story to see pictures. The students will complete the assignment in the classroom.

4.) When the assignment is turned into the teacher, the teacher will post the pictures on the walls in the classroom.

Teacher Closure: To conclude the lesson, the teacher may research and show a video from the internet. One example is "Exploring Natchez Trace" from the link http://www.vehix.com/video/vehix-adventures/exploring-natchez-trace/ CAUTION: advertisements at the beginning of video may not be appropriate to show in a classroom. This short video shows footage and audio about some of the sites along the Natchez Trace Parkway.


The students will be graded on participation

Park Connections

Explains the history of the Natchez Trace Parkway.


1.) The students will complete the following sentence, or on similar that describes the Natchez Trace.

• Example: The Natchez Trace _______________________________________.

 Some suggestions: is beautiful, is very green, has lots of animals, is very long, was an old trail

2.) Book a trip for the class to the Natchez Trace Parkway where they can enjoy and learn about the history of the Natchez Trace Parkway from a ranger.


Kaintucks, National Park Service