Lesson Plan

Trail of Tears Reenactment: Building Background Knowledge

Trail of Tears 800 Miles Insignia

Photo By Kelley Clinton

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Grade Level:
Fourth Grade
Health, Linguistics, Literature, Mathematics, Science History, Social Studies, Writing
60 minutes
Group Size:
Up to 36
small green space
National/State Standards:

4.1, 4.2, 4.3
4.5, 4.9, 4.10
4.5, 4.7, 4.15
4.24, 4.25, 4.26, 4.28, 4.29, W. 4.1, 4.2, 4.7, 4.8
4.32, 4.35, SL. 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, L.4.1, L.4.2, L.4.3, L.4.6
L.4.4a, 4.4.b,
4.OA.2, 4.OA.3, 4.NBT.4, 4.NBT.5, 4. MD.1, 4. MD.2
american indian culture, cherokee indian, cherokee history, hiking trails, Hiking Trail, Alabama, North Alabama, trail of tears


Russell Cave National Monument is one of the few National Parks that is located and associated with the rich cultural stories of the Trail of Tears. Students will learn the experiences and nutritional needs during the Trail of Tears.


  • Build background knowledge of the Cherokee as they walked along the Trail of Tears. 
  • Experience aspects of walking on the Trail of Tears. 
  • Exercise prediction skills. 


"Trails of Tears Reenactment: Building Background Knowledge," is a 4th grade social science program that students can do in the classroom or in a small green space in less than an hour. The teacher will proctor the students about the survival of the American Indians during The Trail of Tears by using various educational tools such as videos and handouts. Students will write down everything they eat in one day in their Trail of Tears Notebook Journal as their homework assignment. 


The teacher will need to show the National Park Service's Trail of Tear movie. This movie can be ordered for free or watch it online at: www.nps.gov/trte/photosmultimedia/dvd.htm.   

A journal of any size will be needed in order for the students to record their observations that they learned during the program. 

 Materials List



  • Check the students Trail of Tears journals the following day. 

Additional Resources

 Additional Resources and Websites 


Trail of Tears
Native American