Curriculum Materials

For additional activities and lesson plans related to Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site or other National Park Sites, go to the NPS Teacher Portal.

The first set of lessons were developed in 2016, focusing on experiential education while keeping in mind current standards and integration of curriculum subjects: math, science, art, geography, reading and writing.

See, Wonder, Think about Bent's Old Fort - Students will use critical thinking skills to observe, question and find clues to answer their questions about pictures taken around Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site.

Moving and Learning Jobs of Bent's Old Fort - This activity provides the students a chance to move while learning about and/or reviewing different jobs at Bent's Old Fort. The students will associate movements with different jobs. This activity provides a break for students to stretch and recharge which will help them to focus on your next activity.

Pieces of Eight and Card Game - Students practice using fractions while learning a popular 19th century card game "Monty." Students immerse themselves in history by understanding people might loose their possessions quickly in the Billiard Room at Bent's Old Fort int he 19th century.

Parallel or Intersecting on the Santa Fe Trail - Students practice differentiating between parallel and intersecting lines while looking at a map of the Santa Fe Trail.

The lessons below were developed in 2008, but could be modified for today's curriculum standards. The goal is to help students gain an understanding of the people, time and place of Bent’s Old Fort. The lessons can be used for stand alone, in class or pre and post visit of the Fort. History, math, science, geography, reading and writing have been included in the lessons. The activities were developed to meet curriculum standards of grades 4-6. Contact the park at 719-383-5023 for a copy.

Lesson 1 - What I Think I Know
Goal: The students will complete a pre- assessment activity to establish baseline knowledge that will assist the teacher in planning for the Bent’s Fort connection to Colorado History.

Lesson 2 - The National Park and You
Goals: The students will learn what a National Park is and why Bent's Old Fort is part of the National Park System. They will learn why National Parks are important and what the visitor's responsibilities are.

Lesson 3 - Past Information: How Do We Know?
Goals: Students will learn how we know about life in the early 1800s when no one is alive from that time period to inform us.

Lesson 4 - Time Travel
Goal: The students will learn the chronological organization of historical events and people.

Lesson 5 - Map It Up
Goal: The students will construct maps to locate and derive information about people, places, and environments.

Lesson 6 - Why Do People Move?
Goal: The students will learn the reasons of why people moved west in the 1800's and make comparisons with today.

Lesson 7 - Compare and Contrast
Goal: The students discover what diversity is, who the people were and how technology, economics, and science changed over time.

Lesson 8 - Bent's Fort Mini Book
Goal: The students will learn the history of Bent’s Fort, how it opened up the West to the United States and brought many cultures together.

Lesson 9 - Bent's Fort Historical Inquiry
Goal: Students will learn how to use the processes and resources of historical inquiry.

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

35110 Highway 194 E.
La Junta, CO 81050


(719) 383-5010
Contact is made with the park's administration with selections available for all other departments from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM Monday through Friday.

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