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Weir Your Badge (Grades 1-4)

Grade Level:
Upper Elementary: Third Grade through Fifth Grade
Literacy and Language Arts

Stage 1: Desired Results

Established Goals:

Students will recognize symbols as a means of communication using the National Park Service Arrowhead as a model. They will explore and use observational skills to connect with Weir Farm National Historical Park and the mission and meanings related to the National Park Service.

Using one’s town (local park) as a context to expand knowledge of geography, history, human interdependence, while incorporating international comparisons. This may include comparing the history and geography of the local community with at least one other town in the United States and at least two towns or regions in other parts of the world.

Enduring Understandings:

Students will understand…..

  • The importance of preservation and conservation of land resources
  • Symbols provide valuable information and benefit society
  • Symbols are an important tool for communication
  • How visitors find meaning in the National Park Service Arrowhead

Essential Questions:

  • Q1: Why are symbols important? In the park, how are symbols important?
  • Q2: How do symbols benefit society?
  • Q3: How do symbols allow us to process information?
  • Q4: What role do symbols play within your school, your community, your local national park, the world?
  • Q5: Why do communities use symbols?

Stage 2: Assessment Evidence

Performance Tasks:

  • Task 1: Students write down observations from analyzing symbols and National Park Service Arrowhead on Smart Board. What are some similarities and differences? What are common features of these symbols? What features do you think are important, and why?
  • Task 2: Students write journal entries to begin inquiry process. Inform students of upcoming class activity to take place at Weir Farm National Historical Park. Have students look at maps of park for orientation. Ask students to answer journal questions (What do you expect to see? Explain what you know about Weir Farm National Historical Park by looking at the map. What might some of the symbols on the map represent?) Students continue to use journals in class and during visits to the park, documenting resources, thoughts, inspirations, and artistic impressions.
  • Task 3: Students create a perspective drawing and complete the Hula Hoop Questionnaire. All observations are shared and discussed. Paragraphs and perspective drawings are created and shared.
  • Task 4: Students create original plein air drawings at Weir Farm National Historical Park. Each drawing is accompanied by a descriptive paragraph. Paragraphs and plein air drawings are shared.
  • Task 5: Using a rubric, students create an original, wearable Weir Farm National Historical Park badge. The badge incorporates symbols which represent varied perspectives of the park’s resources and stories.

Stage 3: Learning Plan

Lesson 1, In the Classroom:

Using Smartboard interactive activity, students participate and analyze symbols. Students receive a copy of the National Park Service Arrowhead and make observations. Teacher asks open-ended questions to students requiring them to reflect upon the National Park Service Arrowhead and to analyze the meaning behind the symbols that make up this iconic logo. All observations are documented and saved on Smartboard. Information on the significance of the National Park Service Arrowhead is shared. Each symbol on the National Park Service Arrowhead and what it represents is discussed.

After sharing observations using the National Park Service Arrowhead, inform students they will be visiting Weir Farm National Historical Park, their local national park, and will explore the park with a hike to Weir Pond. Ask students to conjecture what they may observe during the hike. Provide students with journals. Inform students they will be acting as naturalists, using their journals to record observations.

Lesson 2, at Weir Farm National Historical Park:

Meet with a park ranger. Receive introduction to the significance of the park. Review the National Park Service Arrowhead and meaning of symbols. Using park maps, navigate a hike around Weir Pond. Along the way, stop to look at significant landmarks located on maps including the Weir House, Weir and Young studios, sunken garden, and trails. Students discover that Weir Farm National Historical Park was, and continues to function as a retreat, a place apart, that now provides the 21st-century artist and visitor with a setting that nurtures inspiration, reflection, collaboration, and community. Students continue to make observations, while teacher generates open-ended questions. Note observations at pond. Hike back to visitor center.

Lesson 3, In the Classroom:

Reflection. Encourage students to write down thoughts about the hike around Weir Farm National Historical Park. Share notes, observations from journals.

Lesson 4, In the Classroom:

Prepare for winter hike. Ask students to ponder how the park may be different from their prior visit. What changes might they see? How will the park remain the same? Note student ideas.

Lesson 5, at Weir Farm National Historical Park:

(Second visit to Weir Farm National Historical Park) This visit allows students to recognize the park as a natural place of beauty as well as a habitat and refuge for wildlife, both flora and fauna. Students are then partnered up for an activity in which they learn about perspective. Students arrive at park and meet with park ranger who introduces students to the Weir Preserve. Using a map of the preserve, students will navigate a hike while making observations in their journals.

Each team will be given a hula hoop and will be asked to choose a location anywhere in the park to look through the hula hoop and illustrate the perspective of the park through that hula hoop by creating a perspective drawing. Perspective drawings are shared in the Burlingham Barn. (see attachment 1, Hula Hoop Questionnaire)

Lesson 6, In the Classroom:

Partners complete an original paragraph explaining the perspective drawings created while at Weir Farm National Historical Park. Paragraphs are edited, revised, and shared.

Lesson 7, at Weir Farm National Historical Park:

The artistry of Julian Alden Weir and the many artists associated with Weir Farm National Historical Park challenges us to look carefully and observe purposefully, to focus on the palette of light, color, and pattern all around us. Students will act as true artists and be inspired to create drawings en plein air (in the open air) as artists have in this landscape for over 130 years. Using colored pencils and chalk pastels provided by the Weir Farm National Historical Park, students will observe and illustrate the beauty of the park by creating a plein air drawing.

Lesson 8, In the Classroom:

Students will write a descriptive passage describing their plein air drawing. Paragraphs are edited, revised, and shared. The students will then present their final pieces to the class.

Lesson 9, In the Classroom:

Finally, students are asked to design a symbol specific to Weir Farm National Historical Park which represents the many perspectives of the park. Their original symbol will be made into a wearable badge, and could also be used as a universal symbol or logo for the park. Using their knowledge and understanding of symbols and their meanings, prior experiences from visits to the park, artwork, and written work as resources, each student will design a unique Weir Farm National Historical Park badge. After their symbol design is complete, students are provided with pins and other tools to turn their original design into a wearable badge. Students receive a rubric (see attachment 2, Badge Rubric) to set expectations for the activity.

Upon completion of their badge, students are provided with a writing prompt set of questions. (see attachment 3, Badge Questionnaire) Students are now asked to write a paragraph describing his or her badge as well as use the Badge Rubric to self-assess. Original badges are shared with the class, and discussed. All badge designs are displayed in the classroom/school. Park ranger visits classroom for final celebration. Students wear and present their badges and share journals, assessments, and artwork. Students are presented with certificates and become official Junior Rangers of Weir Farm National Historical Park.


Download Weir Your Badge (Grades 1-4)

Last updated: October 28, 2023