Lesson Plan

Nature/Unnature Walk

A girl and boy examine a leaf

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Grade Level:
Kindergarten-Second Grade
20-40 minutes
Group Size:
Up to 24
indoors or outdoors
observations, classification, decision making, nature walk


This lesson plan is a part of "Making Connections: A Curriculum Guide to Mammoth Cave National Park, GrK-3", produced by the park's Environmental Education program.  The GrK-3 Guide comprises ten lessons; this is lesson 3 of the set.

What's natural? What doesn't belong?  Students use observational skills to tell the difference.


The students will be able to:
  • Make observations of natural and un-natural items 
  • Classify items into the categories of what is natural and un-natural 


For this activity it would be good to use items that are found locally.  Some natural items you may wish to use could include bird's nest, feathers, snail shells, acorns, pine cones, leaves, antlers, animal skulls, turtle shell and others.  Some common un-natural items might include a can, bottle, newspaper, shoe, balloon, plastic bowl and others.


  • 6-9 Natural items 
  • 6-9 Un-natural items 
  • A bag to place the items into 



The teacher is able to evaluate the students in the field by watching for the appropriate signs (thumbs-up or thumbs-down).

Park Connections

This activity will help students recognize items which should and should not be found in their local environment.  Children usually understand that litter does not belong in nature. By using this lesson, teachers can introduce the concept of invasive species by including natural items found in the wrong environment (for example a conch shell in the forest or an oak leaf in a desert).


  1. As long as the teacher explains that any thing found in a national park should be left where it is found, the teacher may want to “recollect” the items they found along the trail. The teacher should explain that this is okay for the class today. By using two boxes the student could sort the items into one box for natural items and use the other box for un-natural items. 
  2. The students could cut out pictures from magazines and make a collage of natural things, un-natural things, or both. 
  3. The students may want to draw a picture of a natural item and of an un-natural item. These pages could be collected and put in a book for the class to pass around and share during free time or indoor recess.  


nature, natural, un-nature, un-natural, man-made

Last updated: April 14, 2015