About This Lesson
This lesson is based on the National Register of Historic Places registration file, "Mammoth Cave National Park," and an associated historic resource study. It was written by Robert H. Ward, a Historian at Mammoth Cave National Park. It was edited by Fay Metcalf and the Teaching with Historic Places staff. TwHP is sponsored, in part, by the Cultural Resources Training Initiative and Parks as Classrooms programs of the National Park Service. This lesson is one in a series that brings the important stories of historic places into the classrooms across the country.
Where it fits into the curriculum
Topics: This lesson could be used in U.S. history course units on the development of the national parks or the expansion of tourism in the 1920s and 1930s, and in ecology, geology, or other science courses that deal with natural phenomena.
Time period: Pre-Colonial through Modern America
Relevant United States History Standards for Grades 5-12
Relevant Curriculum Standards for Social Studies
Find your state's social studies and history standards for grades Pre-K-12
Objectives for students
1) To describe how Mammoth Cave was formed and how it remains dependent on water.
2) To compare the experiences of travelers who visited the cave over several time periods.
3) To list and describe several ways the cave’s resources have been used.
4) To discover a site in their local community that should be considered for protection.
Materials for students
The materials listed below either can be used directly on the computer or can be printed out, photocopied, and distributed to students. The maps and images appear twice: in a low-resolution version with associated questions and alone in a larger, high-quality version.
1) three maps Mammoth Cave National Park and the surrounding area;
2) three readings that describe major events associated with the cave;
3) one diagram and one drawing of a cross section through Mammoth Cave and the Saltpeter mining operation;
4) four photos of the park and its visitors.
Visiting the site
Mammoth Cave National Park is located approximately 90 miles south of Louisville, Kentucky, and 90 miles north of Nashville, Tennessee, just west of Interstate 65. The park is open all year and cave tours are offered every day except December 25. For more information, write the Superintendent, Mammoth Cave National Park, Mammoth Cave, KY 42259 or visit the park's Web page.