Research Made Real – Using National Park Service Web Pages to Locate Primary Sources
- Grade Level:
- Sixth Grade-Eighth Grade
- History, Language Arts, Social Studies
- 50 minutes class period
- Group Size:
- Up to 24
- National/State Standards:
- Mississippi Technology Curriculum: Middle School
4. Use content-specific tools, (e.g., web tools) to support learning and research.
8. Select and use appropriate tools and technology resources to accomplish a variety of tasks and solve problems.
OverviewStudents will see how to use NPS web pages in their research. The following three sites will be shown to students:
1. Shiloh National Military Park Web Page
2. Junior Civil War Historian Web Page
3. Web Ranger
Students will learn how to navigate these sites to find information about the Civil War and then use that information to enhance their writing on an informative paragraph assignment.
Students will learn how to use NPS web pages in their research.
Since 1916, the American people have entrusted the National Park Service with the care of their national parks. With the help of volunteers and park partners, we are proud to safeguard these more than 400 places and to share their stories with more than 275 million visitors every year. Shiloh National Military Park is one of those more than 400 places being kept safe for you and future generations. These places contain a wealth of both historic and natural significance and that wealth if available to the public.
"I have a task for you to accomplish, but first you must know how to get to places that will help you achieve your goal." If available, use a smart board to demonstrate to the students as you go to the sites. If not, just have the students do the following on their computers while you circulate and explain to the class the features.
1. Go to nps.gov – if needed talk about the address line of a web site
This is the main National Park Service web site. Point out the features found throughout the page. Time permitting, have students to go the "Web Cam" and click "visit now". Let them find a web cam view to visit. Then use the "back" arrow at the top to go back to the NPS main site.
2. Click "Find a park"
3. Find "Advanced Search
4. Click "by name"
5. Select "S"
6. Select "Shiloh"
This is the Shiloh Military Park web page. Most National Park Service sites will have a home page similar to this one. Point out that if the student were researching a subject, they could have used "Advanced Search" to go to a particular topic. Next, point out the items listed under "Explore this Park" and explain that each is a link to more information. Point out the links on the right side of the page, the "Features" section, and the "Did you know?" at the bottom.
7. Select "Photos and Multimedia
Explain the different ways Shiloh's pictures and videos can be accessed by the public. Discuss with the students that some of the methods may not be accessible at school due to the school's security features. Discuss that when writing a report, it is possible to use multimedia from the National Park Service to enhance the work.
8. Click "History and Culture"
9. Click "Slavery: The Cause and Catalyst of the Civil War"
Describe how sites like this could be used for research in student's classes. Go through some of the items on this brochure, explaining that even though the original web site was a military site, it has links that take a viewer to causes and more complex information. Many informational resources exist at many parks and are available now to the public via the internet. Select the back arrow
10. Click "For Kids"
Go over what is available on the page and take any questions.
11. Click "Junior Civil War Historian website.
Explain about the sesquicentennial of the Civil War and show the Civil War activities available at the bottom of this page.
12. Click "Help Lincoln Get to the White House"
Go through a few of the questions with the students. Once again, emphasize that these sites can be a source of information for learning what you need to know about a subject.
13. Return to the National Park Service Home page.
14. Go to "Kids"
Conclusion: There are many NPS web sites available to the public for you to be able to learn about many different subjects. Explore all the possibilities that are made possible by your National Park Service.
Students will write an informative paragraph about their hometown of Corinth, Mississippi. Students will use primary source information from the Shiloh National Military Web Site to enhance their writing and ground their work in authentic research rather than personal opinion.
This lesson plan uses Shiloh's web site, which is a park resource in and of itself. In addition, the lesson shows students how to find out what resources are in the Shiloh National Military Battlefield as well as the programs available to the public.
Students can be given research questions to find on various web sites. There are both cultural and natural history NPS sites in the United States, and there are over 400 to choose from, so the topics and questions could be wide-ranged. Social Studies and Science teachers could have students find out what primary sources are available to the public on any subject they are studying.
VocabularyPrimary sources, secondary sources
Last updated: April 14, 2015