Transforming the Environment Education Resources

Providing free education tools and materials for teachers, interpreters, students, and lifelong learners inside and outside the National Park Service is one important way we support the agency's mission. The value of America's cultures and diverse heritages may be lost if it's not passed on to the next generation or experienced by the present one. Want to inspire young people to grow into responsible citizens? Looking for more resources to craft interpretation or educational programming plans? See the related resources below or visit our Education & Training page for more.

The National Park Service offers free online lesson plans through its Teaching with Historic Places series and, of over 160 offered, some feature the historic places where humans altered the natural landscape. These lessons align with national curriculum standards and each lesson contains primary and secondary sources, including readings, maps, and images, and recommended activities. Lessons about human interaction with the environment include,

  • When Rice Was King
    Investigate early rice plantations in Georgetown, South Carolina, to learn how rice cultivation transformed the native environment and promoted the South's dependence on a plantation economy.

  • "The Greatest Dam in the World": Building Hoover Dam
    Learn why the building of Hoover Dam was a triumph for the Bureau of Reclamation and how it came to symbolize what American industry and American workers could accomplish, even in the depths of the Great Depression.

  • "The Electric Project": The Minidoka Dam and Powerplant
    Discover the science and early history of hydroelectric power at the historic Minidoka Powerplant, where rural electrification and irrigation changed the lives of early 20th century homesteaders.

  • "Making the Desert Bloom": The Rio Grande Project
    Discover how the Bureau of Reclamation transformed the arid valley of the Rio Grande by constructing Elephant Butte Dam and the Rio Grande irrigation project and examine some of the problems encountered along the way.

  • Enduring Awatovi: Uncovering Hopi Life and Work on the Mesa
    Learn about traditional Hopi culture and farming at Awatovi, a historic pueblo where enduring Hopi traditions and American archeological research reveal much about this important place.

Last updated: March 8, 2016