Lesson Plan

Traveling the National Road: Unit 9 Historic Site Cards

Illustration of a Conestoga wagon crossing a bridge
Grade Level:
Upper Elementary: Third Grade through Fifth Grade
Social Studies
Lesson Duration:
30 Minutes
Common Core Standards:
3.L.4, 3.RI.2, 3.RI.7, 3.W.2, 3.W.3, 3.W.4
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.

Essential Question

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

Guiding Questions: Are there sites or structures associated with the National Road standing? What is interesting about the sites or structures? Where are the sites and structures located in Pennsylvania?


Student Objectives: After completing the lesson students will be able to:
• List the name of a site or structure associated with the National Road that is still standing in Pennsylvania
• List two interesting facts about that site or structure
• List how the site or structure was associated with the National Road


The Historic Site Cards form unit 9 of a complete teacher’s guide for 3rd grade students, entitled “Traveling the National Road.”

This unit covers seven historic sites that are still located along the Pennsylvania section of the National Road. Each historic site card card has its own list of vocabulary. The historic sites include bridges, buildings and tollhouses. The cards highlight the historic and current value of the structures. This unit has three student activities: “National Road Bridges,” “Design a Brochure” and “Create a Postcard.” 


  1. Read the historic site cards, essential question and the guiding questions.
  2. Make at least one copy of a historic site card for each student.


Download Unit 9 Historic Site Cards

Lesson Hook/Preview

Many sites and structures associated with the National Road are still standing in Pennsylvania. The historic site cards provide interesting facts about seven bridges, buildings and tollhouses. Did you know one of the site is underwater today? Read the cards and find out why.


  1. Introduce the essential and guiding questions.
  2. Read the lesson hook to the class.
  3. Have the students read one or more historic site cards.
  4. Complete one or more student activities.
  5. Discuss with the class.


Each one of the historic site cards has its own list of vocabulary. 


Assessment Materials

Use a written assignment rubric for the student activities, such as the one found here.

Supports for Struggling Learners

The teacher can read the materials to the students. The assignments can be shortened to require less writing.

Enrichment Activities

Have the students research and write about historic National Road structures in other states.

Additional Resources

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

Contact Information

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Last updated: June 10, 2022