Lesson Plan

Discovering Diversity

Wildflower found on the Trace

NPS Photo

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Grade Level:
Fifth Grade
Biology: Plants
2 class periods
Group Size:
Up to 36
National/State Standards:
Life Sciences: 3a, 3b,3e
invasive, non-native, diversity, population, community, competition, national scenic trail


The students will visit a National Scenic Trail and investigate the diversity and adaptations of biological organisms along the trail. They will collect data on the trail and create and compare representative grafts in the classroom.


Enduring Understanding: Diversity is important to the health of a natural area. 
Essential Question: What difference does it make if a plant species survives in an area?

The students will: 
1.) Collect data 
2.) Learn about plant diversity Identify and determine characteristics of plant species


The Natchez Trace Parkway includes many trails. The Natchez Trace National Scenic Trails has five sections of foot trail, connected by the pParkway green-way. These trail sections represent a vignette of the surround natural areas. They are excellent trails for students to observe natural areas representative of state regions.


1.) Procedure

2.) Plot corner markers design (4)

3.) Plot Corner Marker suggestions

4.) Labeled toothpick markers (~26)

5.) Meter stick or meter-long piece of string

6.) Data Collection Sheet (2 pages)

7.) Scenic Trail Map

8.) 1 disposable camera per group (Optional)

9.) Example sheet of how to count and enter plant data

10.) Discussion Stimulators Sheet



Participation in the activities, accuracy and completion of data sheets and report.

Park Connections

The Natchez Trace Parkway has many different plant species.


1.) Include review of this field trip when teaching other subjects that touch up on the importance of diversity.

2.) Research and write a report on a location that has lost diversity because of encroachment of non-native species or because of development.


Invasive, non-native, diversity, population, community, competition