North Carolina K-5th Grade Ranger-Led Field Trips

These opportunities for Kindergarten through 5th grade challenge students with hands-on learning experiences that are correlated with North Carolina elementary school curriculum standards. Each program enhances classroom learning by using the park's cultural and/or natural resources as teaching tools. Students have the opportunity to make real-world connections with science and history, while having fun at the same time!

All programs are free and bus assistance money may be available. For more information or to request a program, please contact the park by email or phone 828-497-1907.

 
"Barney, the Talking Barn" with kindergarteners

Explore with Your Senses! (Kindergarten)
Students explore the Mountain Farm Museum and neighboring river and forest using their senses. Students are introduced to the history and wildlife of the National Park through conversations with talking barns, sensory walks, listening activities, classification exercises and color hunts.
Location: Oconaluftee Visitor Center



North Carolina State Standards (Kindergarten):
Science

K.P.2.1
K.P.2.2
EX K.P.2.2
K.L.1.1

 
Deep Creek 1st grade

Have to Have a Habitat (First Grade)
Great Smoky Mountains National Park provides habitat for many of North Carolina's native plants and animals and provides a place for people to have fun. Students use sifter boxes, aspirators, and magnifying tools to discover and classify soil organisms. By role playing bears and hiking in the woods, students also learn about the needs of animals and how National Parks provide a place for people to have fun and adventure.
Location: Deep Creek Picnic Area near Bryson City


North Carolina State Standards (1st Grade):
Science

1.L.1.1
1.L.1.2
1.E.2.1
1.E.2.2

 
2nd graders touring Mingus Mill

History and Culture (Second Grade)
Students study communities and technologic advancement as they tour Mingus Mill and learn the role corn played in lives of local residents 100+ years ago. Students take a short hike in the woods to learn about edible and medicinal plants and how the locals used the forest as a supermarket and a drugstore. Students also play with historic toys and make a simple toy to take home.
Location: Mingus Mill



North Carolina State Standards (2nd Grade):

Science
EX.2.L.2.3

Social Studies
2.H.1.2
2.H.1.3
2.G.2.1
2.G.2.2
2.E.1.1
2.E.1.4
2.C&G.2.2
2.C.2.1

 
3rd grade soil study

What Makes Great Smokies Great? (Third Grade)
Quiet walkways, stream floodplains and picnic pavilions provide the backdrop for students to discover soil properties, plant adaptations, and the environmental issues facing the park. Lifecycles, habitat, biodiversity and interrelationships are a constant focus of the hands-on activities while stewardship is the underlying theme during discussions.


Location: Collins Creek Picnic Area
North Carolina State Standards (3rd grade):

Science

3.L.2.1
3.L.2.2
3.L.2.3
3.L.2.4

 
4th grade blacksmithing

Mountain Farm Life (Fourth grade)
Students study rural mountain life in the 1800's by working in a blacksmith shop, cooking at an open hearth, playing with historic toys, and studying artifacts and exhibits. Through these hands-on activities, students learn about the challenges and rewards of a simpler lifestyle as well as the value of preserving and protecting our heritage and public spaces.




Location: Mountain Farm Museum (at Oconaluftee Visitor Center) Offered in Spring Only
North Carolina State Standards (4th grade):

Social Studies
4.H.1.3
4.G.1.2
4.G.1.3
4.G.1.4
4.E.1.1
4.C.1.1

 
5th graders gathering wind speed data on Clingmans Dome

On Top of Old Smoky (Fifth Grade)
Clingmans Dome serves as the high elevation classroom where students examine the ecology of sky-island habitats. The mountain top is also a great venue for students to build their understanding of weather and landforms both through direct observation and through the use of maps, data, and activities.



Location: Clingmans Dome
North Carolina State Standards (5th grade):

Science

5.P.1.1
5.P.2.1
5.P.2.3
EX.5.P.2.3
5.E.1.1
5.E.1.2
5.E.1.3
EX.5.L.1.2
5.L.2.1
5.L.2.2
EX.5.L.2.2
EX.5.L.2.3

 

Last updated: July 1, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

107 Park Headquarters Road
Gatlinburg, TN 37738

Phone:

(865) 436-1200

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