Lesson Plan

Safety First!

Safety tips for the Natchez Trace Parkway
A trail along the Natchez Trace Parkway where safety is important.
NPS Photo
Grade Level:
Social Studies
15-20 minutes
Group Size:
Up to 36
National/State Standards:
hiking safety, field trips, field trip, school children, field trip preparation, field trip safety


This is a pre-visit safety lesson. It is highly recommended that this lesson be reviewed before students visit the Natchez Trace Parkway. Students will learn about safety concerns and how to prepare for a visit to the Natchez Trace Parkway through class discussion and checklist. Discuss the safety sheet and hazards students may encounter in the park.


Enduring Understanding: Being consistently aware of the environment and taking safety precautions can reduce the risk of injury to oneself and others.

Essential Question: How can we have a field trip that is safe?

The students will be able to:

1) discuss three methods to keep them from getting lost

2) identify the most important thing to do when lost

3) discuss and identify three dangers on the fieldtrip and know how to avoid them.


While the Natchez Trace Parkway is a wonderful place to visit, the teacher must remember that it is not an amusement park but rather a natural area. Teachers should identify behavior that students should exhibit to avoid safety hazards. Umbrellas create a hazard on trails; rain gear should be ponchos, hats and jackets.

Please remind students that the Natchez Trace Parkway is a National Park where all things are protected by law. If the students maintain a respectful "museum attitude" their trip will be fun but safe.

The area around the field trip site may be a busy place with many people. Students may get lost or disoriented. The road and parking lot may also be very busy. Remember that people in cars can see adults and groups easier than they can see one small child.


1. Poison Ivy Identification Sheet

2. Safety Checklist (Required)

3. Safety Checklist (Additional)


Student Task: Participate in the discussion. Students should complete the checklists and then the class can review the lists.

Student Instruction:

1.) The students will participate in a class discussion about the hazards in a natural area

2.) What are some of the hazards people may encounter in natural areas? (things you might trip over, poisonous insects or animals, sinking mud, low branches, unstable footing or handholds, drop-offs, water, poisonous plants, etc)

1. How can hazards be avoided?

• Look before you step.

• Look before you put your hand on something.

• Look before you sit.

• Stay with the group.

• Stay on the trail.

2. What do you do if you get lost?

• ALWAYS: Stop, wait, and stay calm

• THEN: Look at everything in your environment to see if you recognize anything or anybody.

3. Additional Discussion:

• Discuss crosswalks, staying as a group, staying on a trail, and possible weather conditions.

• Avoid dangers by:

i. Staying together as a group

ii. No running or playing rough

iii. Watch where you put your hands and feet

iv. Understand crosswalks

v. Listening to instructions

vi. Know Poison Ivy - "Leaves of 3, Leave it be"

• Letting others know where you are and when you will return

3.) Complete worksheet about what to bring or not to bring on a field trip.

Challenge Activities: Create a list of clothes and shoes that are necessary to safely visit the Natchez Trace Parkway.

Teacher Closure: Summarize safety issues discussed during the lesson.


Participate in discussion.

Park Connections

Teaches safety information specifically for the Natchez Trace Parkway.


Post-visit summary and discussion.