Lesson Plan

Planning the Trek

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Grade Level:
Fourth Grade-Eighth Grade
Civic Engagement, Design, Family Life, Geography, Health, History, Mathematics, Physical Education, Physical Fitness, Recreation / Leisure / Tourism, Social Studies, Transportation
30 minutes or more
Group Size:
Up to 36
National/State Standards:
MS Objectives:
3, 3a, 3b, 3c, 3d, 3f, 3h, 5, 5c

1, 2
legend, Map Key, boatman, Kaintuck, math, trip planning, mapping, measuring, distance, map skills


Students will use maps to locate specific points and measure the distances between those points. Students they will pretend they are mapping out a trip along the Natchez Trace. They will determine how long it would take to drive (easy), walk (hard), bike, and ride the Natchez Trace Parkway today. They will compare their answers to the average time it took historic boatmen to travel the Trace.


Enduring Understanding: Math can help us to better understand our relationship with the world around us.

Essential Question: What factors make it quicker to hike the Natchez Trace today rather than in the early 1800's.

The students will be able to:

1) locate various places on Natchez Trace Parkway

2) Identify landmarks on a map

3) measure distances between points on a map.

4) Use personal judgment to plan a successful trip.


The old Natchez Trace was a hard place to walk. A very fast journey would take about two weeks. Most people took much longer; some people died or were murdered before they completed their journey. A healthy person in good shape can walk 15 or 20 miles per day. Today An experienced bicyclist might travel 50 miles per day. The speed limit on the Natchez Trace Parkway is 50 miles per hour. Horses can average 35 miles on good trails.


1.) Instructions

2.) Natchez Trace Map

3.) Bicycling Tracking Sheet

4.) Car or Motorcycle Tracking Sheet

5.) Hiking Trip Tracking Sheet

6.) Horseback Riding Tracking Sheet

7.) Scissors and tape to put the 4 sections of map in proper sequence



Participation in the activity and follow-up discussion.

Park Connections

Makes students more familiar with the Natchez Trace Parkway and the ways they can travel the parkway and trails.


1.) Play the Trekking the Trace Classroom Game

2.) Visit the Natchez Trace Parkway and see how long it takes your school bus to travel from one point to the next.


Legend, map key, boatmen