Lesson Plan

Traveling the National Road  - Unit 8: Occupation Cards

Illustration of a blacksmith hammering
A blacksmith hammering metal

National Park Service, Harpers Ferry Center

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Grade Level:
Second Grade-Fourth Grade
Commerce and Industry, Economics, Immigration, Slavery, Transportation, U.S. Presidents, Westward Expansion
45 – 180 minutes
Group Size:
Up to 36
National/State Standards:
National Standards for History: K-4 Standard 2, 3, 5, 8. Curriculum Standards for Social Studies: II,  VIII. Common Core: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.1, 3.2,  3.7, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.3.2, 3.3, 3.7, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.3.4.


In “Traveling the National Road (Occupation Cards)” students will learn about 14 different occupations associated with the National Road.  Each occupation is linked to a person in the biography card section.

The “Traveling the National Road” teacher’s guide is broken into ten units and is targeted for 3rd grade students.  Each unit can be completed independently.  This is unit 8 and contains 14 occupation cards (student readings) and three activities.


Guiding Question: What kind of jobs did the people or travelers along the National Road hold? What was interesting about their jobs? How did the National Road affect them?


Critical Content: Many people traveled the National Road as part of their jobs and the National Road created a lot of jobs. The occupation cards highlight 14 jobs associated with the National Road along with interesting facts about each job.


Student objectives: Students will…

·        List the name of a occupation associated with the National Road

·        List two interesting facts about that occupation

·        List how the job was associated with the National Road



The "Traveling the National Road" teacher's guide is broken into ten units and is targeted for 3rd grade students. Each unit can be completed independently. Units 1 - 6 each have teacher background, a student reading and two student activities. Unit 7 has fourteen biography cards of people associated with the National Road along with two student activities. Unit 8 has fourteen occupation cards of jobs that were associated with the National Road along with three student activities. Unit 9 discusses seven historic sites in Pennsylvania associated with the National Road. Unit 10 has other activities and an appendix. Additionally there are two posters: one is a map of the National Road and the other is a list of the historic tolls.


Check out the other units:


Unit 1: Overview of the National Road

Unit 2: Construction of the National Road

Unit 3: Travelers and Transportation on the National Road

Unit 4: Accommodation on the National Road

Unit 5: Workers Along the National Road

Unit 6: Decline and Rebirth of the National Road

Unit 7: Biography Cards

Unit 8: Occupation Cards

Unit 9: Historic Site Cards

Unit 10: Other Activities and Appendix


The teacher's guide is also available free on a CD or as a printed version in a three ring binder. Please email us if you would like to receive the teacher's guide in one of these formats.


Unit 8: Occupation Cards. This unit is a 30 page long pdf covering 14 occupations associated with the National Road. Each occupation card is written for the students to read. New vocabulary is highlighted on each card. There are three student activities to go with the cards.


Park Connections

This lesson relates to the Mount Washington Tavern located in the main unit of Fort Necessity National Battlefield. The tavern was a 1830s stagecoach stop along the National Road and is now a furnished museum. It tells the story of travelers, transportation and accommodations along the road. This lesson will help students prepare for the "Travelers and Workers Along the National Road" field trip.


Additional Resources

Map of the National Road

Toll Rates

National Road Timeline


Abolitionist, Blacksmith, Emigrant, Farmer, Merchant, Politician, Stagecoach driver, tavern keeper, tavern Keeper’s wife, stagecoach yard worker, tollkeeper, traveling entertainment, U. S. President, Wagoner,. Agent, Duty, Slavery, Anvil, Forge, Grindstone, Tongs, Traffic, Utensils, Vise, Crops, Frontier, Drover, Harvest, Sharpshooter, Congress, Elect, Vote, Attractions, Gallop, Politician, Postmaster, Stable, Outhouse, Pitcher, Expand, Harness, Shrink, Funeral, Acrobat, Audience, Glimpse, Intelligent, Hitch, Manufactured goods

Last updated: December 19, 2015