Lesson Plan

The Blacksmith in Society Lesson Plan #5 - Revitalizing the Spirit

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Grade Level:
Middle School: Sixth Grade through Eighth Grade
Literacy and Language Arts,Social Studies
Lesson Duration:
60 Minutes
Common Core Standards:
6-8.RH.1, 6-8.RH.2, 6-8.RH.4, 6-8.RH.5, 6-8.RH.6, 6-8.RH.7, 6-8.RH.8, 6-8.RH.9
State Standards:
Maryland Social Studies Skills                     Grade Level: 6-8
Students will demonstrate an understanding of historical and current events using chronological and spatial thinking, develop historical interpretation and frame questions.
(MLO 1.2)
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.


To illustrate how the use, conservation or depletion of natural resources affects an area.
To show how people "return to nature" hoping to find inspiration that will help them cope with the stresses of their everyday lives.
To tell how Franklin Roosevelt's economic recovery programs jumpstarted the American economy and left a legacy for future generations.


Print copies of student readings packet for each student/small group.

Print copies of Old Christian Weller reading for each student/small group.

Print copies of worksheet questions for each student/small group.

Provide sheets of writing paper for students to complete writing prompts.

If possible, provide computers or laptops with internet access for students to do research on local public lands and waters. 


Setting the Stage reading, A Place for Regrowth reading, and The Changing Uses of the Catoctin Mountain Forest reading all in one document.

Download Student Readings

Reading required for student analysis.

Download Student Reading: Old Christian Weller

Map needed for part of lesson

Download Drawing 1 – Map of Camp Misty Mount

Lesson Hook/Preview

Pass out copies of the Map of Camp Misty Mount. Ask students to imagine that they are either campers or counselors. What kinds of activities could they do in this kind of setting? How would this experience be different from what they see and do on a daily basis? Students can do a quick brainstorm freewrite in their journals. 


1. Distribute copies of the readings to students and have them read all excerpts. Ask students to write a paragraph describing how an experience with nature has influenced their lives.

2. When the paragraphs are complete, have students exchange paragraphs so that they can read about another student's experience.

3. After reading about Christian Weller, the National Park study and other student's experiences, lead students in a group discussion addressing the benefits that can be obtained by communing with nature.

4. If computers or laptops with internet access are available, have students work in small groups to locate state or federally protected forests or other natural places in their immediate area. Have them find out the current ownership and history of the sites and explain why they are publicly or privately owned. If possible they should look for maps of their locality from 10, 25, and 50 years ago, and note how much natural land was undeveloped compared with today. They might use field guides to determine how long various places have been left to nature or whether they have been part of a reclamation project. Then have students analyze the current conditions of the properties, the growth of surrounding communities, the availability of recreational areas, and the importance of the ecosystem to decide if these areas should be preserved. Have each group present its findings to the class and then hold a general discussion about the quality of the remaining natural places in their locality.

Assessment Materials

Students can refer back to their readings to answer these questions.

Changing Uses

Download Assessment

Additional Resources

Supplemental Activities to the Blacksmith in Society Unit: https://www.nps.gov/cato/forteachers/upload/lpsupp.pdf

The "Teaching with Historic Places" program offers a series of short, easy to follow lesson plans based on places listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Camp Misty Mount: A Place for Regrowth:

Camp Misty Mount: A Place for Regrowth program inspects a recreational demonstration area (RDA) in western Maryland, created as part of a Great Depression government relief program.

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Last updated: May 21, 2015