Lesson Plan

What Is A National Park?

National Park Service arrowhead
Grade Level:
Lower Elementary: Pre-Kindergarten through Second Grade
Lesson Duration:
60 Minutes
State Standards:
Hawai‘i Content and Performance Standards III:

SS.1.4.1, SS.2.3.1, SS.2.7.4
Thinking Skills:
Applying: Apply an abstract idea in a concrete situation to solve a problem or relate it to a prior experience. Creating: Bring together parts (elements, compounds) of knowledge to form a whole and build relationships for NEW situations.


At the end of this lesson, the students will be able to determine how Haleakalā National Park protects special native habitats 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 has many endangered species that are found nowhere else in the world. Many of the plants and animals are only able to survive in the unique ecosystems found in Haleakalā National Park. 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.


Print out arrowhead coloring sheets.


Coloring sheet for National Park Service arrowhead.

Download NPS Arrowhead

Blank arrowhead coloring sheet for students to create.

Download Blank arrowhead

Lesson Hook/Preview

Have students design their own arrowhead to show elements they find important enough to protect.


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.

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

Step 2: Students color the National Park Service Arrowhead logo

Have students color the blank National Park Service arrowhead logo worksheet and discuss the National Park Service mission (emphasizing “to protect and preserve”...). You can have them describe the symbols to the class (choosing different students for each symbol, or perhaps having them doing this in a small group to facilitate full participation).

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 seven “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.

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Last updated: March 9, 2018