Lesson Plan

National Park Legacy – Adventurers (Grades 4 - 5)

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

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Grade Level:
Upper Elementary: Third Grade through Fifth Grade
Literacy and Language Arts
Lesson Duration:
60 Minutes
Common Core Standards:
4.RI.1, 4.RI.5, 4.RI.7, 5.RI.1, 5.RI.4
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. Evaluating: Make informed judgements about the value of ideas or materials. Use standards and criteria to support opinions and views.


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


National Park Legacy introduces the concepts of National Parks, geography, preservation and history to fourth and fifth graders. Students can work together in groups or work alone and then share what they learned with others through written and/or oral reports.


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

  2. Request official park brochures from various parks, or download them from park websites.

  3. Make copy of the reading and student worksheet for each student.

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


Teacher Instructions/Procedure, student reading and student worksheet

Download Background information and worksheet

One of the brochures needed for guided discovery

Download Cape Lookout NPS Brochure

One of the brochures needed for guided discovery

Download Harpers Ferry NPS Brochure

Lesson Hook/Preview

  1. Have students watch a quick 2:33 minute video of images of National Parks over music from the PBS documentary America’s Best Idea 

  2. Have students share stories of any National Parks they have visited. What kind of landscape or environment did they see? Did they see a landscape or environment that was different from their home environment?


  1. Set the stage - read the National Parks Background information to your students. Pass out copies of the worksheet and demonstrate how to find answers to the worksheet questions in a national park service brochure. Use a Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area brochure as a sample. Unfold and display the National Park System map and guide so students may refer to it. 

  2. Gather information - Divide students into three or four groups. Each group will work on one national park. Distribute copies of different national park brochures and worksheets to groups (all members of a group have the same national park brochures). Working together as a team, students can divide up the parts of the worksheet and then share what they have learned. Additional information is available on the internet at www.nps.gov

  3. Oral Report- (Individual or Group) - Individuals or groups give oral reports on information gathered about their national park. Reports can focus on the parks, the states in which they are located, planning a visit to a national park or the historical importance of the national park. On the National Park System Map and Guide, students can mark the location of their national park. Visual aids such as posters, drawings, dioramas can support the report. Have students refer specifically to evidence in text for their report.

  4. Wrap up - If available, use computers or tablets and have students search online for the national park unit that is closest to them. They can go to: https://www.nps.gov/findapark/index.htm


  1. Culture:  the sum total of ways of living built up by a group of human beings and transmitted from one generation to another.

  2. Inheritance: something, such as a quality, characteristic, or other immaterial possession, received from progenitors or predecessors as if by succession.

  3. Legacy: anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor.

  4. Lifeway: any of the customs and practices of a culture.

Supports for Struggling Learners

Complete reading by chunking, or reading one paragraph at a time. Have students underline difficult words and brainstorm together some synonyms or look at context clues for meaning.

Enrichment Activities

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

Additional Resources

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

Contact Information

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Last updated: May 21, 2015