Lesson Plan

What is a National Park?

NPS arrowhead
Grade Level:
Upper Elementary: Third Grade through Fifth Grade
Lesson Duration:
60 Minutes
Additional Standards:
Next Generation Science Standard:

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. Analyzing: Break down a concept or idea into parts and show the relationships among the parts. Evaluating: Make informed judgements about the value of ideas or materials. Use standards and criteria to support opinions and views.

Essential Question

How does Haleakalā National Park protects natural, cultural, and geologic resources?

What can students do to help protect the natural, cultural, and geologic resources of Haleakalā National Park?


At the end of this lesson, the students will be able to determine how Haleakalā National Park protects natural, cultural, and geologic resources and how the students can help protect them too.


Haleakalā National Park became a national park when it was established on August 1, 1916 as part of Hawai‘i National Park. It became a separate park unit on July 1, 1961. There are over 400 national park sites in the United States. These places include parks, battlefields, monuments, seashores, historic sites, and recreation areas. The National Park Service protects these places because they are important to our nation. The National Park Service mission states, “The National Park Service preserves the natural and cultural resources and values of the national park system for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. The National Park Service cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world.” The arrowhead is the symbol for the National Park Service. Each picture inside the arrowhead represents something that is protected in a national park site.

It is important for all park visitors to practice good stewardship ethics and behaviors in order to pass these unique natural and historical treasures on to future generations in an unimpaired condition. Haleakalā National Park protects the natural, geologic, and cultural resources that are found in this special place. It is a land steeped in ancient Hawaiian legends and tales. Together we are all responsible for the care and protection of the park. The seven “Leave No Trace” principles help us to care for our parks.


Materials Needed:
National Park Service Arrowhead (Teacher prop) (included)
National Park Service Arrowhead Worksheet (included)
Blank Arrowhead Worksheet (included)


National Park Service arrowhead in color for teacher prop

Download National Park Service arrowhead in color

National Park Service worksheet for students

Download National Park Service worksheet

Blank National Park Service arrowhead for students to design specific to Hawai'i

Download Blank National Park Service arrowhead


Step 1: Introduction of National Park Service and the National Park Service arrowhead.

Begin by showing students a picture of the National Park Service arrowhead logo. Tell them that whenever they visit Haleakalā or any other national park they will see this logo because it reminds us why we have national parks. Start a discussion about the National Park Service mission.

  • What do you think is the “job” or main function of the National Park Service? = To preserve and protect the things that we see on the arrowhead logo.
  • Ask them to define protect. = To keep safe.
  • Why is it important to protect nature?
  • Ask them to define preserve. =To make something last a long time.
  • Show them the picture of the arrowhead from the National Park Service arrowhead symbols handout.
  • Ask the students to identify the types of things that we preserve and protect at National Park Service sites.
  • National parks are special places that are important to everyone. Explain to them what each of the different components stand for.

o The arrowhead shape represents culture and history
o The bison represents wildlife
o The tree represents plants
o The mountain represents the beautiful scenery and geology
o The lake represents natural resources (like clean air and water)

Step 2: Complete the National Park Service Arrowhead Worksheet and discuss

Hand out the National Park Service arrowhead logo worksheet. Have students follow the directions to fill in the blank in each sentence. They may work alone or with a partner. After completion, discuss the correct answers as a whole group.

Step 3: Design their own National Park Service logo specific to Hawai‘i

Using the blank arrowhead worksheet, have students design their own arrowhead logo based on their understanding of symbols. Lead a discussion focused on how symbols can be used to represent different things (such as their school mascot, the US flag, or a family crest).

Step 4: Journal Entry

After completing their arrowhead, have them write a paragraph describing:

  • What symbols did you use for your park logo? What do your symbols represent?
  • Describe the basic mission of the National Park Service.
  • How does the national park protect plants, animals and culture?
  • Why is the National Park Service important to us?
  • What can you do to help?

Step 5: Post the 7 ‘Leave No Trace’ Principles

Write and post the 7 ‘Leave No Trace’ Principles:
  • Plan Ahead and Prepare
  • Travel (and Camp) on Durable Surfaces
  • Dispose of Waste Properly
  • Leave What You Find
  • Minimize Campfire Impacts
  • Respect Wildlife
  • Be Considerate of Other Visitors

Step 6: Discuss how the ‘Leave No Trace’ principles help the park.

Every visitor can help protect the beauty and natural resources of Haleakalā National Park by using good environmental stewardship practices!

  • Make sure they understand that they should not pick, destroy, or remove resources (plants, rocks, cultural or historic structures, artifacts of the past)
  • Leave only footsteps and take only memories.
  • Discuss the interdependence of all things in nature and what the effects of removing something would have on the environment and on future park visitors. For example, by taking some seed pods, we may be removing a seed that could have grown and flourished. Make the connection to students that when we disturb the environment, the plants and animals can be affected in ways that are difficult to predict.


Conservation: Careful use and protection of our natural resources to make sure that future generations have them too.

Culture: Beliefs, customs, artifacts, languages, arts, etc., of a particular people, place, or time.

Preserve: To make something last a long time.

Protect: To keep safe from harm.

Additional Resources

Adapted from National Park Service Arrowhead Lesson Plan (Yellowstone and Glacier NP)

Contact Information

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Last updated: April 14, 2020