Lesson Plan

National Park Legacy - Discoverers Grades 1-2

Park brochures provide us a window into the resources and assets parks protect.

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Grade Level:
Lower Elementary: Pre-Kindergarten through Second Grade
Literacy and Language Arts
Lesson Duration:
30 Minutes
Common Core Standards:
1.RI.4, 1.RI.5, 1.RI.6, 2.RI.5, 2.RI.7
Thinking Skills:
Remembering: Recalling or recognizing information ideas, and principles. Analyzing: Break down a concept or idea into parts and show the relationships among the parts.


Students will be able to compare and contrast the types of environments found in National Parks and describe what a National Park is.


National Park Legacy introduces the concepts of National Parks, geography and history to first and second graders. Students work together in groups and share what they learn with each other.


  1. Load YouTube Video “America’s Best Idea” 

  2. Request brochures ahead of time from various other parks, or download them from park websites.

  3. Make copy of student worksheet (2 pages) for each student.

  4. Have copies of 2 park brochures printed for groups or available on laptop, tablet, or projector for guided discovery.


Teacher instructions, reading for teacher to present, and student worksheet.

Download Worksheet and Readings

One of the brochures needed for guided discovery

Download Cape Lookout NPS Brochure

One of the brochures needed for guided discovery

Download Harpers Ferry Brochure

Lesson Hook/Preview

Quick 2:33 minute video National Parks from the PBS documentary America’s Best Idea.


  1. To set the stage, read aloud the National Parks Background information from the worksheet and discuss what a national park is. Tell your students that they are going to learn about some different national parks and then find the closest national park to them.

  2. Gather information - Divide students into small groups. Each group will work on one national park. Pass out the national park brochures (use attached materials or request brochures from parks of great contrast: seashore and mountains or island and desert). 

  3. Use the worksheet questions to guide the students in what they should look for in their brochures. Have paper and crayons or colored pencils available and allow students in each group to draw picture answers to the worksheet questions.

  4. Groups come back together and give group oral reports on their national park. The group spokesperson can announce the name of their national park. Students show their pictures to report what their national park looks like, what plants or animals live there, things people can do when they stay there, etc.  Have students refer to pictures and text of brochures to support their statements. Ask them, “How do you know?”  or “What makes you think that?”

  5. Wrap up using Questions 7 to 11 on worksheet: Who would like to work at a national park? What would they do? Who would like to visit a national park? If available, have students use computers or tablets to search for the national park unit that is closest to them by visiting: https://www.nps.gov/findapark/index.htm.


  1. National Park: an area of land that is owned and protected by the federal government because of its natural beauty or its importance to history or science
  2. Gift: something that is given to another person or to a group or organization
  3. Legacy: something that happened in the past or that comes from someone in the past
  4. Share: to let someone else have or use a part of (something that belongs to you)
  5. Desert: arid land with usually sparse vegetation; especially : such land having a very warm climate and receiving less than 25 centimeters (10 inches) of sporadic rainfall annually
  6. Mountain: an area of land that rises very high above the land around it and that is higher than a hill
  7. Lake: a considerable inland body of standing water; also : a pool of other liquid (as lava, oil, or pitch)
  8. Seashore: land adjacent to the sea
  9. National Seashore: a recreational area adjacent to a seacoast and maintained by the federal government
  10. Picture: a recreational area adjacent to a seacoast and maintained by the federal government or a painting, drawing, or photograph of someone or something
  11. Activity: something that is done for pleasure and that usually involves a group of people
  12. Park Ranger: a person in charge of managing and protecting part of a national park

Enrichment Activities

Have the students create their own national park. Draw pictures, create their own park map, make a post card, send an email etc.

Additional Resources

Contact national parks and request brochures for additional guided discovery materials.  Or look at some online by searching with key words like “NPS brochures” or “National Park Service Brochures”.

Contact Information

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Last updated: May 21, 2015