Lesson Plan

So What is the Natchez Trace Parkway?

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National Park Service Logo

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Grade Level:
Ninth Grade-Twelfth Grade
Government, History, Physical Education
50 minutes or more with extension
Group Size:
Up to 36
National/State Standards:
MS-US Government: 1d, 4d, 6, 6a
research, National Parks, natchez trace parkway, reporting, government, community engagement, communities, social responsibility, public service, resource protection, plants, animals, history, maps, regions, compass, legacy, society


This lesson will teach students about how the Natchez Trace Parkway and the Natchez Trace Scenic trails relate to the National Park Service, through class discussion and review worksheet. This lesson will introduce students to the concept of the National Park Service the government unit behind the existence of the Natchez Trace Parkway and the associated National Scenic Trails. Students will participate in class discussion through an informal presentation and complete a related worksheet.


Enduring Understanding: Governments are organized to provide public services.

Essential Question: What is the role of the National Park Service?

The students will be able to:

1) learn that the Natchez Trace Parkway is a unit of the National Park Service

2) the National Park Service is part of the Executive Branch of the US Government created to preserve and protect areas important to our national heritage

3) There are sixteen different categories or types of National Park Service units

4) There are National Scenic Trails within the Natchez Trace Parkway.


The National Park Service, "which purpose is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations." is under the administration of the Department of the Interior. One unit of the National Park Service is The Natchez Trace Parkway which is a 444 mile long scenic by with 5 National Scenic Trails within its boundaries. Legislation to enable the Natchez Trace Parkway passed congress on May 18, 1938. Being part of the federal government, the Natchez Trace Parkway is "owned" by the people of the United States of America. The purpose of the Natchez Trace Parkway is to preserve and protect for the people of the United States of America, areas associated with an ancient Native American pathway which evolved to be a significant roadway in our country's early development.

See attached background information in Materials.


1.) Teacher Background (2 pages)

2.) Organizational Tree Sheet

3.) NPS Worksheet

4.) NPS Worskheet Answer Key

5.) NPS Unit Categories Sheet (2 pages)

6.) Page for Picture Order

7.) Park Category Pictures and Descriptions (32 pages)



Participation in the class discussion and accuracy of answering questions on the worksheet.

Park Connections

Teaches the history of the Natchez Trace.


1) Visit the Natchez Trace Parkway. Explore the National Park Service website at www.nps.gov.

2) Have the students design their own national park unit.

3) Have the students research a national park unit to report

a. What is the park's name?

b. What are park's main features or resources?

c. What are three things that make the park special?

d. What makes this park so special that it should be preserved and protected for future generations?

e. In what city and state is the park located?

f. On what date was the park established?

g. How many people visit the park each year?

4) Show segments of PBS series: Ken Burns-The National Parks: America's Best Idea

Additional Resources

Explore the National Park Service website at www.nps.gov.


See National Park category sheet

Last updated: April 14, 2015