Lesson Plan

History of the Natchez Trace

Natchez Trace travelers

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Grade Level:
Upper Elementary: Third Grade through Fifth Grade
Subject:
Literacy and Language Arts,Social Studies
Lesson Duration:
60 Minutes
Common Core Standards:
2.RI.1, 2.RI.2, 2.RI.4, 3.RI.1, 3.RI.2, 3.RI.4, 4.RI.1, 4.RI.2, 4.RI.4
State Standards:
Mississippi
Language Arts: 2, 2c, 3, 3a, 3c, 3d, 4, 4a, 4b, 4c.
Social Studies: 1, 1a,1b, 1c, 1d, 1e, 1f, 2, 2a, 2c, 2d, 2e, 2f, 2g, 3, 3a, 5, 5a
Thinking Skills:
Remembering: Recalling or recognizing information ideas, and principles. Understanding: Understand the main idea of material heard, viewed, or read. Interpret or summarize the ideas in own words.

Objective

Enduring Understanding: Human migration impacts cultural development of societies.
Essential Question: What was the purpose of the Old Natchez Trace?
The students will:
1.) Listen to and retell a non-fiction story.
2.) Compose a text relating to the story while using proper writing grammar and mechanics
3.) Determine their location in relation to the Natchez Trace Parkway.
4.) Learn about the different people who have used the Natchez Trace over a period of time
more...

Background

The teacher will read “How the Natchez Trace Came to Be” to the students and the students will write a summary report of the book with help from the teacher. The teacher will show the students an official map of the Natchez Trace Parkway and have the students determine where they live in relation to the Parkway. The teacher will lead a reinforcing class discussion. Alternatively, the teacher may write the notes on the board after the story is read and then have the students copy the notes.   The lesson is based on a read aloud and not student reading level, therefore the lesson can easily be adapted for grades second through fourth.

The Natchez Trace was formed many years ago by animals and subsequently, by the American Indians who followed game. In the 1700s, traders nicknamed Kaintucks floated down rivers that emptied into the Mississippi. They were on their way to sell their goods in the thriving port city of Natchez, the capital of the old southwest. Useless for travel back upriver, the flatboats were sold and the Kaintucks walked home hundreds of miles on the Old Trace. Winding through Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee, the historic Natchez Trace Parkway was established in 1938 to commemorate this historic travel route. The roadway was completed in 2005.

The beginning of the Natchez Trace was initiated many years ago by animals and subsequently by American Indians who followed the trails to hunt game. After the Europeans began to explore the land, they also used the Indian and animal trails. Later, the Kaintucks, or boatmen used the American Indian trails to walk back home to the Ohio River Valley areas. They had ridden their flatboats down the Mississippi River to trade goods and furs in Natchez, Mississippi and paddling up the Mississippi was impossible, so the Kaintucks walked the most direct way back home, the Natchez Trace. The Natchez Trace was also used a Postal Road. The Trace was the quickest way to get from Nashville, Tennessee to Natchez, Mississippi. The Natchez Trace has been traveled for many years. The Natchez Trace we travel today is not the same as the one the Kaintucks had to travel many years ago. Now, the Trace follows closely to the original trail, but because of some of the original Trace is on private land, the contractors in the 1930s improvised and built the roadway according to availability. Parts of the Old Trace can still be found along the Parkway and are still available for visitors to walk. 

The Old Trace was a critical element in the founding of the southeastern United States. Prior to Hernando de Soto's arrival on the Trace, it was a long-used travel route for American Indian tribes such as the Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Natchez. Later during the Indian removal, it was crossed by the Trail of Tears. It was a federal postal route and was used by military giants such as Andrew Jackson and U.S. Grant. It is where Meriwether Lewis took his final steps on this earth.

For the complete lesson plan, please email natr_education@nps.gov or call 1-800-305-7417. Please indicate whether or not you need an accessible lesson plan.

Preparation

How the Trace Came to Be (Can be printed as a book or a powerpoint)

Teacher's choice of student worksheet

Maps to be projected or printed.

Lesson Hook/Preview

The teacher may want to show a video. One is available on line called "Exploring Natchez Trace" from the link http://www.vehix.com/video/vehix-adventures/exploring-natchez-trace/. This short video shows footage and audio about some of the sites along the Natchez Trace Parkway. CAUTION! This is a privately owned site and commercials accompanying the video may not be suitable for the classroom.

Procedure

Student Task: The students will determine their location in relation to the Natchez Trace Parkway. The students will listen to How the Natchez Trace Came to Be. The students will take notes on the Note-Taking sheet as the story is being read. They are to focus on when the Natchez Trace was developed, how it was developed, and who protects it now.

When the story has been read, the students and teacher will retell the story orally as a class discussion. This time, the teacher will write the information to complete the note sheet on the board for the students that did not to take good notes during the reading of the story.

The students will then use their note sheet to compose one paragraph, or more based on student ability and grade level, summarizing the information of the Natchez Trace Parkway.

Option: The teacher may encourage the students to illustrate their stories.

Option: The class may collectively retell the story as the teacher writes it on the board. The students will then copy the story from the board.

Student Instruction:

1.) On an official Natchez Trace Parkway map, the students will collectively determine their location in relation to the Natchez Trace Parkway.

2.) The students will listen as the teacher reads How the Natchez Trace Came to Be. As the story is being read, the students should take notes on any information they think is important. The teacher will provide the note sheet for students to use.

3.) After the story is read, the teacher will lead the students in the writing process: 1. Planning - 2. Drafting - 3. Revising - 4. Editing - 5. Publishing. The teacher will keep the story available to students if they need to reread the story to find information.

4.) The students will complete the assignment in the classroom.

Vocabulary

• Kaintucks- a person who traveled the Natchez Trace Parkway back home to the Ohio River Valley

• National Park Service- part of the Department of Interior that is responsible for nationals parks, monument, and historical sites

other key words: human migration, early settlers, settlers, Old Trace, Natchez Trace, Old Southwest, roads, boatmen

 

Enrichment Activities

1.) The students will write a narrative story about someone or something traveling the Natchez Trace. In the story, the students may write about what the traveler saw on his journey down the Natchez Trace. The story can take place during any time-period. The story should let the student's imagination run wild about the Natchez Trace Parkway. This may be done collectively, as a class with the teacher writing the story on the board or overhead and the students copying what the teacher writes.

2.) Book a trip for the class to the Natchez Trace Parkway where they can have a ranger led program about the history of the Natchez Trace Parkway. Occasionally rangers are also available to visit classrooms.

3.) The teacher may want to show a video. One is available on line called "Exploring Natchez Trace" from the link http://www.vehix.com/video/vehix-adventures/exploring-natchez-trace/. This short video shows footage and audio about some of the sites along the Natchez Trace Parkway. CAUTION! This is a privately owned site and commercials accompanying the video may not be suitable for the classroom.

4.) Learn about other National Scenic Trails that are historic. Visit https://www.nps.gov/nts

Related Lessons or Education Materials

The teacher may want to show a video. One is available on line called "Exploring Natchez Trace" from the link http://www.vehix.com/video/vehix-adventures/exploring-natchez-trace/. This short video shows footage and audio about some of the sites along the Natchez Trace Parkway. CAUTION! This is a privately owned site and commercials accompanying the video may not be suitable for the classroom. You may also call the Natchez Trace Parkway to checkout a DVD. (ask for educator at 662-680-4027)

Contact Information

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Last updated: January 8, 2018