What is a National Park?
- Grade Level:
- Biology: Animals, Biology: Plants, Environment, Geography, Government, History, Marine Biology, Social Studies, Wilderness
- 45 minutes
- Group Size:
- Up to 36
- National/State Standards:
- Social Studies-Standard 4: Students research and report on where people and places are located and why, utilizing multiple geographical representations and tools (maps, globes, geospatial technologies).
OverviewThe National Park of American Samoa is one of over 400 units of the National Park Service. This activity helps students explore and understand the various units in the system.
Objective(s)1. Explain the mission of the National Park Service.
2. Name at least two national parks, in addition to the National Park of American Samoa, and describe the resources they protect.
3. Compare at least two different types of national parks.
Materials1. World Atlas
2. National Park System Map
3. National Park of American Samoa Brochure
4. The National Parks: Index
Where Are We?
Ask each student to put a small “sticky” on a world atlas where they think American Samoa is located.
Supply Needed: World Atlas
What is a National Park?
Ask the whole group to brainstorm what they think when they hear the term “national park.” Record the student’s responses on the classroom board or flip chart. Briefly introduce the history of the National Park System. Explain that the National Park of American Samoa, established in 1988, is the 50th national park and the only national park site south of the Equator.
Supply Needed: Flip chart
Research a National Park Site
Organize the class into groups of four or five students. Assign each group a national park site. Explain that each group’s assignment is to research their national park and report their discoveries to the class. Have the students answer the following questions:
1. What is the park’s name?
2. Why was the park created?
3. In what state is the park located?
4. Indicate on the National Park System Map where the park is located.
5. One what date was the park created?
6. How many people visit the park each year?
The final product can be in the form of a poster display or report. Have one person from each group read their answers to the entire class. At the end, ask the students if they’d like to add anything to the brainstorm list developed in Activity 2.
Supplies Needed: Park information printed from the internet or book The National Parks: Index 2009-2011 and and worksheet or paper