Lesson Plan

Symbols of the Natchez Trace

The Postman Rider logo is a symbol of the Natchez Trace Parkway

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Grade Level:
Upper Elementary: Third Grade through Fifth Grade
Literacy and Language Arts
Lesson Duration:
30 Minutes
Common Core Standards:
2.SL.1, 2.SL.1.b, 2.SL.2, 2.SL.3, 3.SL.1, 3.SL.1.a, 3.SL.1.c, 3.SL.3, 3.SL.4, 4.SL.1, 4.SL.1.a, 4.SL.1.c, 4.SL.1.d, 4.SL.2, 4.SL.4
State Standards:
MS Objectives
Social Studies: 2, 2c, 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.


Enduring Understanding: Symbols can be a representation of history or ideas.
Essential Question: What symbols do the National Park Service and Natchez Trace Parkway have and what do they stand for?

The students will be able to recognize the National Park Service, the Natchez Trace Parkway and the National Scenic Trail signs when they are traveling with their parents.


The students will learn the symbols of the Natchez Trace Parkway and the National Scenic Trail and then color the symbols correctly while looking at an example. The students will learn about the Natchez Trace Parkway and the National Scenic Trail symbols. They will learn what each symbol represents. After the students have heard the background, they will color the two coloring sheets. The sheets must be colored using the correct colors in the correct places.


To make sure no one forgets the history, the federal government has named it part of the National Park System. The arrowhead is the national sign for the National Park Service. The Natchez Trace was a postal road a long time ago. When the boatmen would travel the trace, they would send mail by the post riders. Post riders were always riding their horses up and down the Natchez Trace. Because of this, the post rider is the symbol for the Natchez Trace Parkway.

The Natchez Trace was formed many years ago by animals and subsequently by American Indians who hunted those animals. After the Europeans began to explore the land, they also used the established trails. Later the Natchez Trace was used by traders, later called Kaintucks, who had floated flat boats carrying goods to the then territorial capital of Natchez on the Mississippi River. They sold their flatboats and walked back to the northeast, Tennessee and Ohio River areas. 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 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 network of trails, but because of some of the old Trace is on private land, the contractors in the 1930s improvised and built the road where they could acquire the land nearby. Parts of the Old Trace can still be found along the Parkway and are still available for visitors to walk.

The Natchez Trace Parkway is cared for by the National Park Service an agency of the Department of Interior and under the executive branch of the government. Every citizen of the United States holds "ownership" of National Parks and part of the duties of citizens is evaluate the level of care given by government agencies.

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.



1.) Teacher Background

2.) Coloring Sheets

3.) How the Natchez Trace Came to Be

4.) Crayons/marker/colored pencils

Lesson Hook/Preview

What do a horse and rider, and an arrowhead have in common?


Student Task: The students will listen as the teacher reads the story, "How the Natchez Trace Came to Be". The students will look at the symbols that represent the Natchez Trace and color them the correct colors.

Student Instruction:

1.) The teacher will read the students the book, "How the Natchez Trace Came to Be".

 2.) The teacher will tell the students that the Natchez Trace is part of the National Park Service. Many places have symbols or signs that we can remember.

a. An arrowhead with a bison, Sequoia tree, mountains, and water represents the National Park Service.

b. The bison represents the animals and Sequoia tree represents vegetation.

c. The mountains and water represent the scenic and recreational value of National Park lands.

d. The arrowhead itself stands for historical and archeological value.

e. The post rider is one of the symbols that represent the Natchez Trace Parkway.

3.) The students will learn that the Natchez Trace was once an official federal postal road.

4.) People from the northeast used the Trace to return home from selling goods at Natchez, MS, the capital of the old southwest.

5.) The Natchez Trace Parkway has five sections of a National Scenic Trail.

6.) After listening to the book and a reinforcement class discussion where the teacher helps the students retell the story, the students will color their symbol sheets.

7.) A correctly colored example must be visible for the students to color the symbol correctly.

8.) To engage the students, the teacher will produce and discuss animals that live or that once lived along the Natchez Trace.

Teacher Closure: When the students have colored a National Park Service arrowhead, a Natchez Trace Post-Rider, and a National Scenic Trail symbol, the teacher may hang pictures on the wall. The students will be asked to share about an experience when they visited the Natchez Trace Parkway.


National Scenic Trail

National Park Service

Enrichment Activities

1.) The teacher can ask the students to make sure to take a camera the next time they are traveling the Natchez Trace Parkway. Tell the students to ask their parents to stop and take a picture with one of the symbols along the Natchez Trace Parkway. If the students bring pictures in, the teacher will hang the pictures with the colored symbol of the child.

2.) Occasionally rangers are available for classroom programs. The teacher may call the Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center to set up a time for a ranger led program. A ranger will come to a school or the school is welcome to come to the visitor center.

Contact Information

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Last updated: January 8, 2018