Lesson Plan

The Kaintucks

Grade Level:
Third Grade-Fifth Grade
Physical Education, Social Studies
60 minutes
Group Size:
Up to 36
National/State Standards:
MS Objectives:
3rd Grade- 1c, 2a, 3a, 5a, 5b, 5c, 5d, 6b.
4th Grade- 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 6c.
5th Grade- 1c, 5a,. 5b, 5d, 5e, 6b, 6c
Kaintucks, Kaintuck, boatmen, cooperation, fitness, Physical Fitness, pioneers, pioneer trails, pioneer


Students will play a game that integrates a lesson about some of the first pioneer travelers of the Natchez Trace. The students will learn about travelers of the Natchez Trace called “Kaintucks” and play a game incorporating what they learned.


Enduring Understanding: The best choices for you fit who you are and what you need.

Essential Question: Who were the Kaintucks?

The students will be able to:

1. Use teamwork, cooperation, strategy, communication, and body strength to achieve a common goal.


Although they were known as "Kaintucks," these boatmen floated merchandise down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers from states throughout the Ohio River valley. Agricultural goods, coal, and livestock were among the many products that were floated to markets in Natchez and New Orleans. Once the goods on the boats were sold, the boats were often dismantled and sold as lumber. Before the age of the steamboat, Kaintucks had little use for these flatboats once they reached their destinations.

From Natchez, the boatmen would begin the long walk home, carrying with them everything they would need for survival. They slept in tents and hunted for their food all while stories and tales of robbers and Indian attacks floated in their minds. However, these tales occurred fewer times than what that was believed. They traveled the Natchez Trace to Nashville, Tennessee. From there, they used more established roads to take them to their homes further north and east. Research indicates that more than 10,000 Kaintucks traveled the Old Trace in the year 1810 alone. The 500 mile trip on foot typically took about 35 days. Lucky travelers that rode horses could expect to cover it in 20 to 25 days.


1.) Diagram of Game Setup

2.) Two Orange Cones

3.) Tape measure (must reach 30 feet)


Student Task: The teacher will tell the students that they will learn about the Kaintucks and the way they traveled the Natchez Trace and then they will play a game, as a class in which they will all get to be Kaintucks.

Student Instruction:

1.) The students will first learn about the Kaintucks and how they traveled the Natchez Trace.

2.) They will learn of the different obstacles the Kaintucks faced while doing so. This information will be provided by the teacher.

3.) Then, the students will play the game to integrate what they learned about the Kaintucks.

Game Instructions:

1.) Set one of the orange cones down and from that cone measure off 30 feet and place the second orange cone down.

2.) Let the class know that after learning about the Kaintucks they will get the chance to all be one.

3.) Have the entire class stand behind one of the orange cones facing the one that is thirty feet away from them.

4.) Explain that they are all Kaintucks and the area they are standing in is city of Natchez, MS, the area between the orange cones is the Natchez Trace, and the area past the other orange cone is Nashville, TN where there are better roads for them to get back home.

5.) Have them know the object of the game is for everyone to get to Nashville by following the "Natchez Trace" where they can return home.

6.) However, the catch is all the members of the class are Kaintucks but everyone is also the load and things the Kaintucks would have to carry back home with them.

7.) The rules of the game are as follows:

• The only way for a person to cross over to the other side is by being carried. ( either in the arms of a student or by riding another one's back, students should not lift another student over their head)

• The person that carries someone across MUST be the next person to get carried across. • Only one person can be carried across at a time.

• More than one person can carry someone across as long as they are the next people to be carried across. (one by one, the order does not matter)

• Once a person has been carried across they may NOT come back across to help carry someone else.

• If the person getting carried touches the ground, the person(s) carrying the person and the one being carried must go back and start over.

• The class does get three "free passes" in which three people can walk across. However, one of the passes must be issued to the last person.

• If at any time the class feels that they have made a mistake, they can all go back and start from the beginning.

8.) The teacher will be the referee.

9.) The teacher should also remind the students to not say any negative comments about other students. He or she should always remind the students to be nothing but encouraging to the other students and safely enjoy the game. If the person that is being carried feels unsafe, they should ask to be sat down at anytime they feel unsafe.

Teacher Closure: Discuss the game with the class. Ask the students what they thought about the Kaintucks and would they have wanted to have been one. Ask the students what they think the hardest part of the game was.


The students will be evaluated on participation in the lesson and physical activity.

Park Connections

Explains the history of the Natchez Trace Parkway.


1.) The teacher could review the lesson and information again when they are all back in the classroom.

2.) If you have a small class you may want to change the number of "free passes" from three to two to make it a challenge for the kids. The game can be modified to accommodate different lessons. Example: The Natchez Trace was also used as a postal route. The students could be the postmen and their loads of mail.

3.) For additional Information on the Kaintucks and the Natchez Trace call 1-800-305-7417.