Lesson Plan

Park Puzzle

The NPS Arrowhead as a puzzle

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Grade Level:
Kindergarten-Third Grade
Geography, Mathematics, Social Studies
20-30 minutes
Group Size:
Up to 36
indoors or outdoors
puzzle, symbols, grouping, National Parks, jigsaw puzzle


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 1 of the set.

After being introduced to symbols and grouping, students will assemble two puzzles symbolic of our national parks - a ranger hat and the arrowhead patch.


Students will: 

  1. Visualize symbols of the National Park System 
  2. Become a productive group member while identifying the components of a national park


The first national park, Yellowstone, was established in 1872.  This was the first national park in the world.  Today there are over 390 different national parks in the United States.  This idea, that was born in America, has since spread throughout the world.  National parks were developed to protect and preserve both natural and cultural aspects for future generations.  They were also established to provide enjoyment to the visiting public.  In 1916 the National Park Service was established as a federal agency.  For almost one hundred years the American public has fallen in love with its ideals and traditions.


  • Two jigsaw puzzles- one Stetson hat and one Arrowhead 
  • Four signs saying- plants, animals, people, and rocks, 
  • Two pictures, one of a Stetson hat and one arrowhead (download from this site)



The teacher is able to evaluate the students as they move to their category and then interact with their group.

Park Connections

The ranger hat and arrowhead patch are symbols associated with the National Park System. In this lesson students learn that national parks were formed to protect the unique landscape, history, plants and animals found within park boundaries.  These components combine to make each park a special place.


1. Take a look at a U.S. map and talk about parks found in other states. (Ask the Environmental Education Coordinator for a U.S. Map with national parks highlighted.)

 2. Write to the national parks in your state and make a class room display with the information you get in the mail. 

3. Find symbols for other jobs within your community and make a chart of them.   


National Park, plants, animals, people, rocks

Last updated: April 14, 2015