Lesson Plan

Who, what, and why is a National Park?

The view from the Freedom Hills Overlook on the Natchez Trace, Milepost 316.6

NPS Photo

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Grade Level:
Third Grade-Fifth Grade
Social Studies
2 45 minute class periods or more
Group Size:
Up to 36
National/State Standards:
MS Objectives:
3rd Grade: 1a, 1b, 1c, 1d, 1e, 1f, 2d, 2f, 2g, 3a, 3d
4th Grade: 2c, 2d, 3a, 3b, 3f
5th Grade: 2c, 3f, 3h, 4b, 5c
research, National Parks, natchez trace parkway, reporting, government, community engagement, communities, social responsibility


Students will research a National Park online or from printed materials and answer relevant questions on a worksheet. They will develop an advertisement for the park they researched. The Natchez Trace Parkway and the Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail should both be assigned.  The students will use the information to develop an advertisement in the form of a poster, a song, a skit (a commercial or some other creative form). Student groups will present their ads to the rest of the class.


Enduring Understandings:

Lower: Governments are organized to provide for services.

Upper: Certain institutions are basic to all societies, but characteristics of these institutions may varyfrom one society to another.The Natchez Trace Parkway is managed by the National Park Service.

Essential Question: Why do we have National Parks?

The student will:

1) learn about the concept of National Parks

2) learn why we have National Parks

3) learn the value of National Parks

4) learn the concept of preservation

5) learn that the Natchez Trace Parkway and the National Scenic Trails within the Natchez Trace are part of the National Park Service system.


The Natchez Trace Parkway is part of the National Park Service, "which purpose is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life 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." In "kid language" that means, "National Parks protect special places in our country so that people can enjoy them now and in the future."

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 Teacher Information sheet for more information.


1.) Teacher Information

2.) Arrowhead Worksheet

3.) Arrowhead Worksheet Answer Sheet

4.) Advertisement Worksheet

5.) Access to computer and website www.nps.gov (Alternative 1: Teacher-download and print out information on various national parks. Alternative 2: Student-write a letter to assigned National Park and request information.)



Participation in the activity, completeness of their report.

Park Connections

Explains the National Park Service and how the Natchez Trace Parkway is managed by the service.


1.) Have the students make a virtual visit to https://www.nps.gov/akso/ParkWise/Students/StudentResources.htm .

2.) Show portions of PBS series; Ken Burns's "The National Parks: America's Best Idea".

3.) Have students think about a special place they may treasure. Have students create a national park out of their special place. Why is it special to them? What are they protecting? They may want to draw a map or picture, or create a collage of their Special Place National Park and give a tour of their park.


National Park Service , preservation, heritage