Lesson Plan

Scavenger Hunt (Fourth Grade)

Owens Creek habitat
Owens Creek, Milepost 50.8

NPS Photo

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Grade Level:
Fourth Grade
Mathematics, Science and Technology
1 hour
Group Size:
Up to 36
National/State Standards:
Science: 1, 1a, 1d, 1f

Math: 5, 5a
habitat, habitats, instinct, Scavenger hunt, field trip, Nature Trail, observation, prediction, data collecting, data recording, graphing, graph


The teacher will review the components of habitat; food, water, shelter and space.  The teacher will take the students on an easy hike on a section of the Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail. The teacher will direct the students in tallying observations. The teacher will lead the students in the analysis and charting of the results of student observation.


Enduring Understanding: There are several different elements that make up a habitat.

 Essential Question: What is habitat?

The students will learn to:

1) review components of habitat

2) predict the number of specific habitat components they will see

3) observe and record the number of habitat components seen

4) chart the number of components and compare with the prediction


The National Scenic Trails began to be developed in 1965 when President Johnson gave his "Natural Beauty" speech. He wanted to develop and protect a trail system that everyone could enjoy for recreational uses. In 1968, Congress established the National Trails System and the first scenic trail was the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. The Appalachian Trail goes from Georgia to Maine. The Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail was established in 1983. Five sections of the National Scenic Trail can be found along the Natchez Trace Parkway. The section in Tennessee in the Leipers Fork district is twenty-four miles long. Tupelo, Mississippi has a seven-mile section that begins across the road from the Visitor Center and ends on West Jackson Street. The Ridgeland, Mississippi trail, called Yockanookany, is twenty-three miles long. Further south in Mississippi is the Rocky Springs section of trail that is ten miles long and an additional new section, called Loess Hills, which is three miles long. (Visit www.nps.gov/natt for current trail maps). The trails are used for hiking, horseback riding, bird watching, photography, and picnicking. All terrain vehicles are prohibited on the trails. The trails are free and open to the public but are closed from sunset to sunrise, as are all of the trails along the Natchez Trace Parkway.

Habitat: Both plants and animals need food, water, shelter, and space to survive. Animals are able to roam and search for food, water, shelter, and space while plants are not. Plants manufacture their own food and get their water and minerals mostly from the ground. When the plant's growing process begins, the seeds do not "choose" where to grow. Seeds are planted by people or end up in a growing space through a variety of adaptations. This space may or may not be adequate for the plant to live. For example, an acorn planted by a squirrel in a flowerpot of daisies would not have enough space to live out its life. Most plants do not need shelter but some small plants need to be protected from the elements of weather. Some plants need to be shaded to survive and some do not. Animals take a much more active role in finding a habitat. They are usually able to move to a new habitat if an element of theirs becomes inadequate. Anything that protects the animal from weather, sun, or just where the animal finds refuge is considered the animal's shelter. Space can range in size from the underside of a leaf to an ocean. Depending on the species, food can be plant, animal, insect or a combination of those. Animals consume food, plants manufacture food.


1.) Tally Sheets (included in lesson plan)

2.) Natchez Trace Scenic Trail Website (www.nps.gov/natt for maps)



When the students turn in the bar graph assignment in, they must also turn in the data collected along the trail. Everything including the estimate before, the single observation, and the partner observation, must be handed in. The teacher will use the material to grade the students on the accuracy of the bar graph.

Park Connections

Teaches the students about the various habitat elements that can be found in the park.


1.) The teacher will ask the students to write a short paper (two or three paragraphs), about the experience they had on the hike. The students can include the different elements, different wildlife they might have seen, and how they felt about the activity.

2.) Students could "invent" and draw an imaginary habitat including all elements for either a real or imaginary creature or plant.



Last updated: January 10, 2018