Unit 1 - The National Park Service

Unit 1 activities are below the menu headings for the other units.

Introduction Create Your Own National Park Cooperating Associations


Parks As Classrooms logo

Cowpens National Battlefield Curriculum GuideGrades 3 - 8 South Carolina and North Carolina

Native Grasses

Unit 2 - The Pre-Agricultural Landscape
"Meet Morgan at the Cow Pens" must have echoed through the backcountry militia, and they did.

Robert Scruggs House

Unit 3 - Backcountry Lifestyles
Life was hard, and children were expected to help with daily chores.

soldiers marching

Unit 4 - The War for American Independence
The lengthy war had been costly and the British Parliament looked to taxation to pay the war debts.

drawing of a militiaman running

Unit 5 - The Southern Campaign
These mountaineers had been fighting Indians and were hunters, sharpshooters and fierce combatants.

Battle of Cowpens by Charles McBarron

Unit 6 - The Battle of Cowpens
“It is impossible to foresee all the consequences that this...event may produce.” - Lord Cornwallis

Battle of Cowpens by William Ranney

Unit 7 - The Battle - The Human Element
“...the life of the common soldier — the ones who did the fighting — and those connected to the battle as non-combatants are equally important.”

Unit 8 Cultural and Natural Resources Agriculture and its relationship to the economy plan an important part in Carolina history


After the Civil War, various Americans became concerned about the state of some of our nation’s great cultural and natural resource treasures and saw the subsequent need to preserve them. As a result, the nation’s first national park, Yellowstone, was created on March 1, 1872. Other parks were added, and in 1916 the National Park Service was created to administer the growing number of parks.

In the East, Maine’s Acadia National Park was added just after the end of World War I; in 1926, Congress authorized two noteworthy and popular parks, Great Smoky Mountains and Shenandoah National Parks. Cowpens was designated as a National Battlefield Site on March 4, 1929.

Today, the National Park Service manages and preserves more than 375 parks nationwide. Sixteen of these parks are in the Carolinas. In addition to Cowpens, five of these - Moore’s Creek National Battlefield (NC), Guilford Courthouse National Military Park (NC), Fort Moultrie National Historic Site (SC), Kings Mountain National Military Park (SC), and Ninety Six National Historic Site (SC) - are Revolutionary War sites. Historic Camden (SC Revolutionary War site) is an affiliated member of the National Park Service.

Cowpens National Battlefield, as with all National Parks, is given the mission "to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife therein, and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations." As part of this mandate, the Park Service has since its inception served to educate its visitors, in both a formal and informal manner. The Parks As Classrooms Program, initiated in 1993, reflects an organized effort to make National Parks relevant to the educational process.

morning scene at Cowpens National Battlefield
GOAL: To have students describe characteristics of a National Park, discuss some of the problems and critical issues facing National Parks, and analyze acquired information to write a persuasive proposal for setting aside an area as a National Park.

Photo by Scott Withrow

Create Your Own National Park


There are more than 375 National Park areas in the National Park System, set aside by Congress to preserve and protect the best of our natural, recreational, cultural and historical resources for the use and enjoyment of all persons, including future generations.

As diverse as the visitors who come to them, the parks may offer any one or a combination of the following: camping, hiking trails, scenic overlooks, bird watching, educational programs, museums, picnic areas, horseback riding, auto tour routes, nature trails, interpretive trails, bike trails, campfire programs, swimming, whitewater rafting and rock climbing. Some of the more remote parks offer grocery stores, restaurants and sleeping facilities.

A park may have several outstanding natural features for which it was set aside, or it may be preserved for a specific site. Park management is set up much like a school system, with the rangers being the teachers. Each day brings new challenges to a park and its resources.

Upon arriving at some of the National Parks, the visitor pays a small entrance fee and is handed a park map outlining the major resources and sites to visit. Larger parks have a visitor center where rangers dispense information about the park.

One part of a ranger’s job is to interpret the park resources and problems to the visitors so that they understand the concerns of the park. Why? Because parks belong to the people who must be educated about these valuable resources and how to preserve and protect them!


For each pair of students:

Paper, pencil
Magnifying glass
One 15-foot piece of string
Six popsicle sticks
Poker chips (or peanuts) - at least one per student


Students create their own mini-National Park in a specified outdoor area, marking a nature trail and providing visitors with information about their park.

1. Discuss the concept of a National Park with the students. What is the difference between a National Park and a State Park?
2. Ask students what they would like in a "perfect" National Park.
3. Pair off the students. Distribute the materials listed above to each pair.
4. Assign, or let each pair choose, an outdoor spot for their National Park. Using their string, they should rope off their area.
5. Students must move about their National Park on hands and knees. Using the magnifying glass, the students should choose the scenic values of their park. For example, a crack could be a canyon, and a rock could be a mountain.
6. Give the class a few minutes to set up the trails in their park, using the popsicle sticks. After they have marked their parks, they must make a brochure (including a map) advertising their park.
7. Once the parks are ready for business, the "rangers" (the paired students) must sell their park by shouting out its attributes. Ask the pairs to split up. One student in the pair should remain in the park to interpret it, while the second visits other parks. The students may then switch. The poker chips or peanuts are the entrance fee needed to visit another National Park. Every student must visit at least one other National Park.
8. After visiting the other parks, ask the students the following questions:
Did they have problems getting visitors to come to their park?
Were visitors always careful with the parks’ resources?
Did they have too many visitors?
What would they change?
What problems occurred?
How would they raise money to improve the park’s facilities?


1. Discuss why we should have National Parks. What can students do to help protect the resources in a National Park? Who has the responsibility of preserving and protecting the park for future generations? Write a proposal to get funding for a National Park.
2. After completing the curriculum guide, have the students revisit "their" park. With additional information, would they rewrite their proposal for their park? Would they change the facilities they have in their park? Would they select another site for their park? If so, how and why?


The student will explain the concept of National Parks. The student will explain the role of National Parks as defined by Congress.
The student will differentiate between National Parks and State Parks.
The student will create an imaginary park and design management and interpretive goals.

STRANDS: Language Arts, Science

North Carolina:

Language Arts: Grade 3, Goals 4, 5; Grade 4, Goals 4,5; Grade 5, Goals 4, 5; Grade 6, Goal 6; Grade 7, Goal 6; Grade 8, Goal 6.
Science: Grade 8, Goal 2

South Carolina:

Language Arts: Grade 3 - I-C; II -A; III-A; IV-B, C, D, E: V-A, B; Grade 4 - I-B; III-A, C, E; IV-A; V-A; Grade 5 - II-B, III-A, B, D, E; IV-A, B, C, V-A; Grade 6 - II-A, III-A, B, C, E, F; IV-A. B, E, F, I; Grade 7 - II-B; III-A, D, IV-A, G I; V-B. Grade 8 - II-A, B; III-A, B, C, D; IV - A, B, E, F; VI-A
Science: Grade 3 - I-A.1, 3, 4; II-A.1, 2, C.2; III-A. 1.2, B.1; Grade 4 - I-A, 1, 3, 4; II-A.1, 8.2, 3; III-B; Grade 5 - I-A.1, 3, 4; II-B.1, 2.4; III-A.1; Grade 6 - I-A.1, 5, B-1, 2, 3; II-A, III-A.2, 6; Grade 7 - 1A.1, 3, 5, B.1, 2, 3, 4, 5; II-D.1, 2, 3; III-A.1, 2, 3. Grade 8 - I-A.1, 3, 5,6; C.2, 3, 4, 5

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drawing of quill holder and pen
GOAL: To have students analyze problems and perform basic addition and subtraction as well as figure percentages.

drawing by Gregg Glymph

Cooperating Associations


Cooperating Associations operate the bookstores in National Parks. These cooperating associations donate part of the proceeds from book and souvenir sales to the parks. The parks use the donations for activities, programs and publications to aid and promote the historical, scientific and conservation activities of the National Park Service.


Have the students work the following math problems.

Bag of plastic soldiers $6.00

Bayberry Soap $1.95

Post cards $.50

Paper Money $1.50

Musket ball $1.00

Cartridge Candy $.71

Quill Holder $7.95

Powdered Ink $2.00

Quill Pen $2.25

If You Lived in Colonial Times $5.99

Declaration of Independence $1.50

Tricorn Hat $10.95

1. If Amy has $10.00, will she be able to buy a quill holder, powdered ink, and a quill pen? If not, which item should she put back? How much money will he have left over if she puts back that item? Don't forget to add 6% sales tax.
2. Joey wants to buy both a bag of plastic soldiers and the Declartion of Independence. The sales tax is 6%. What will his total be?
3. Jamal has $5.00. He has chosen a musket ball, paper money, cartridge candy, and a post card. The tax is 6%. How much change will he get back? What else could he buy?
4. Luis is buying bayberry soap, a tricorn hat, and a book (If You Lived in Colonial Times…). How much will his subtotal be? At the rate of 6%, how much is the tax? What is the total that he owes?
5. If the Cooperating Association sells $50,000 worth of items in one year and donates $2,500 to the park in return, what percentage of the total will the park receive?


1. Choose several bookstore items and have students calculate the total price.
2. The students may wish to purchase bookstore items. Have them calculate the amount of the purchase.


Student Thought Question: The park has put you in charge of spending $2,500 to aid and promote the historical, scientific and conservation activities of the National Park Service. Write an essay on how would you spend the money.


The student will explain the relationship between Cooperating Associations and National Parks.
The student will solve math problems related to Cooperating Association job descriptions.
The student will construct a budget and explain priorities in spending.

STRANDS: Math, Language Arts

North Carolina:

Math: Grade 3, Goal 1; Grade 4, Goal 1; Grade 5, Goal 1; Grade 6, Goal 1; Grade 7, Goal 1; Grade 8, Goal 1 Language Arts: Grade 3, Goals 4, 5; Grade 4, Goals 4, 5; Grade 5, Goals 4, 5; Grade 6, Goals 3- 6; Grade 7, Goals 3, 6; Grade 8, Goal 6.

South Carolina:

Language Arts: Grade 3 - IV-A, B; Grade 4 - IV-A, B, H; Grade 5 - IV-A, G; Grade 6 -IV- A, C, E, F, I; Grade 7 - IV-A, C F J; Grade 8 -IV-A, B, E, H
Math: Grade 3 - II-A, B, D, E, F; Grade 4 - I-A, II-A, C, D, E F; VI-A; Grade 5 - I-A, D; II-A, B, C, D, E; Grade 6 - I-A; II-A, B, C, E, F; IV-E; Grade 7 - I-A, B, C; II-A, C E F, J; Grade 8 - I-A, C; II-C, F, J

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Last updated: April 14, 2015

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Mailing Address:

Cowpens National Battlefield
338 New Pleasant Road

Gaffney, SC 29341


(864) 461-2828

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