Tennessee Elementary School


These programs challenge students with hands-on learning experiences that are correlated with Tennessee curriculum standards. Each program enhances classroom learning by using the park's cultural and natural resources as teaching tools. Students make real-world connections with science and history, while having fun at the same time! Watch a video overview.

All programs are free. To register for a program, call 865-436-1290 or email us. Please fax (865-436-1307) us your completed reservation form or attach it to your email to formalize your program request.

Program Title Grade Location Season
Explore With Your Senses K Sugarlands, Cades Cove Spring/Fall
Trees of the Smokies 1 Sugarlands, Cades Cove Spring/Fall
History and Culture 2 Porters Flat, Metcalf Bottoms, Cades Cove Spring/Fall
Adaptations and Biodiversity 3 Metcalf Bottoms, Cosby Spring/Fall

Mountain Food Web


Sugarlands, Cades Cove


Streams and Soil


Twin Creek Science and Education Center (near Gatlinburg, TN)


school students in a PaC program

Program Video: This video highlights the main activities and lessons for elementary grade levels, showcases the variety of educational offerings and provides a sense of program location. Each of the featured programs has a complete downloadable lesson plan on this site.

kindergarten tactile activity

Explore with Your Senses! (Kindergarten)
Students will use their senses to learn about his special protected national park. Students will learn about he history and wildlife of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Locations: 1/4 mile from Sugarlands Visitor Center, Cades Cove near the campground
Tennessee State Standards: K.LS1.3

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1st grade at waterfall

Trees of the Smokies (First grade)
Students examine the characteristics of plants, identify their parts and explore their relationship with pollinators. A short nature walk allows students to investigate how plants survive and thrive in the forest ecosystem.
Locations: Sugarlands Visitor Center, Cades Cove picnic area
Tennessee State Standards: 1.LS1.1, 1.LS1.2, 1.LS1.3

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2nd Graders use a Crosscut Saw


History and Culture (Second grade)
Students use a cross cut saw to recreate the experience of building a log home, learn how the forest was a supermarket and a drugstore and visit some structures that were part of the 1800's mountain community. Program includes a ranger-led walk where students look for clues of how humans used the environment.
Locations: Porters Flat (near Big Greenbrier), Elijah Oliver Home in Cades Cove, Metcalf Bottoms
Tennessee State Standards: 2.NBT.B.5, 2.SSP.02, 2.SSP.05

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Soil properties activity

Adaptations and Biodiversity (Third grade)
Students will discover how specific animals compete and survive in a forest or stream habitat. On a beautiful hike through the forest, students will learn how plants and animals can survive in relation to surrounding environmental factors.
Locations: Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area, Cosby Picnic area
Tennessee State Standards: 3.LS1.1, 3.LS4.1, 3.LS4.2

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salamander survey


Mountain Food Webs (Fourth grade)
Students investigate the relationships between species and the role they all play in a complex forest food web. While hiking to a waterfall, students will discover the hidden secrets in the forest understory along the way, revealing nature's balance through natural recycling.
Location: Sugarlands and Cades Cove
Tennessee State Standards:
4.LS2.2, 4.LS2.3, 4.ESS3.2

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soil science


Streams and Soil (Sixth Grade)
Students inventory the macroinvertebrates of the deciduous forest and stream using scientific methods. In small teams, the class will analyze the health of each ecosystem through the use of bioindicators and biodiversity.
Location: Twin Creek Science and Education Center (near Gatlinburg)
Tennessee State Standards: 6.LS2.1, 6.LS4.1, 6.ESS3.3

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Last updated: July 22, 2020

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Mailing Address:

107 Park Headquarters Road
Gatlinburg, TN 37738


(865) 436-1200

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