Lesson Plan

Traveling the National Road: Unit 4 Accommodations on the National Road

Photograph of the Mount Washington Tavern

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Grade Level:
Upper Elementary: Third Grade through Fifth Grade
Social Studies
Lesson Duration:
60 Minutes
Common Core Standards:
3.L.4, 3.RI.1, 3.RI.4, 3.W.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. Applying: Apply an abstract idea in a concrete situation to solve a problem or relate it to a prior experience.

Essential Question

Was the National Road important to the development of the United States?

Guiding Questions: What kinds of meals and places to stay were found along on the National Road? What types of foods were served? How are they different from today's meals and places to stay?


Student Objectives: After completing the lesson students will be able to:
• List two things people could buy at a tavern
• List two differences between a stagecoach tavern and a wagon tavern
• List five foods that were served at stagecoach taverns and three that were not
• List three objects were used by travelers and explain how they were used


Accommodations on the National Road is unit 4 of a complete teacher’s guide for 3rd grade students, entitled “Traveling the National Road.”

This unit covers travelers and transportation on the National Road, teaching the students about what types of meals and accommodations travelers would have found along the road. It includes two pages of background information for the teacher and all the instructions for teaching the lesson. The student reading, entitled “Meals and Places to Stay Along the National Road,” introduces to students to the wagon taverns, the stagecoach taverns, and how meals were served. The first student activity “Food Along the National Road” has the students read typical foods served to travelers then compare and contrast that food with modern foods. The second student activity “Objects Now and Then” has the students read descriptions of everyday objects and then use that information to write the correct label under illustrations of the items.


  1. Read the teacher background information, essential question and the guiding questions.
  2. Make copies of the student reading and student activities for the class.


Download Unit 4 Accommodations on the National Road

Lesson Hook/Preview

The restaurants along the National Road were different than today. All the travelers ate together at one long table with all the food in the middle, allowing the travelers to serve themselves.  When staying overnight at a tavern the men and women slept in different rooms. Also, there are many everyday objects from the National Road time that are no longer used today. Find out how times have changed, but the needs of people have not.  


  1. Introduce the essential and guiding questions.
  2. Read the lesson hook to the class.
  3. Have the students complete the reading and activity sheets.
  4. Discuss with the students.


Tavern - a place for travelers to buy a meal and a stay overnight

Assessment Materials

Answers to the questions are included in the downloaded lesson plan.

Supports for Struggling Learners

The teacher can read the materials to the students and discuss the thought questions as a class. The students can work in groups to answer the questions.

Enrichment Activities

Have the students make a snack that would have been available at a National Road tavern.

Have the students learn to play checkers, a game played in National Road taverns.

Additional Resources

Teachers can get the teacher's guide free of charge as a CD. Additionally, posters and a book are also available.  Please go to the Receiving National Road Curriculum Materials page for information.  

Students can take a virtual field trip by watch the 25-minute Virtual Field Trip: The Mount Washington Tavern.

Related Lessons or Education Materials

The "Traveling the National Road" teacher's guide is broken into ten units and is targeted for 3rd grade students. Each unit can be completed independently.

Check out the links to the other lesson plans:

Unit 1: Overview of the National Road
Unit 2: Construction of the National Road
Unit 3: Travelers and Transportation on the National Road
Unit 4: Accommodation on the National Road
Unit 5: Workers Along the National Road
Unit 6: Decline and Rebirth of the National Road
Unit 7: Biography Cards
Unit 8: Occupation Cards
Unit 9: Historic Site Cards
Unit 10: Artifact Activities

Other resource include:

Appendix with timeline, vocabulary and bibliography
Poster of the National Road
Poster of the Toll Rates Along the National Road
Introduction to the teacher guide and table of contents

Please go to the Receiving National Road Curriculum Materials page for information on receiving the teacher's guide as a CD.  


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