National Parks Teacher Resources
Find National Parks educational ideas and activities
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People Behind the Parks
Explore U.S. geography with your class by viewing a documentary. Show a portion of the Ken Burns documentary "The National Parks," and identify the individuals responsible for keeping the parks in order. Elementary and middle schoolers create a presentation discussing the history of the parks and their representation of the American people.
4th - 7th Visual & Performing Arts
Glacier Bay Seabirds
A gorgeous collection of photographs take viewers on a virtual tour or Glacier Bay National Park with a focus on the seabirds living in the area. Adaptations to the polar climate are highlighted, different species of birds are displayed, and even the relation to the local Tlingit tribes is discussed.
9th - Higher Ed Science
The Geography of Canada's National Parks
Students are introduced to the national parks of Canada. In groups, they use the internet to identify the factors that determine the level of tourism. They create a tourist pamphlet and present the material to the class to end the lesson.
7th - 12th Social Studies & History
Photography and the National Park Service
During the 1800s the United States was expanding westward; land was there for the taking. Kids explore how some early photographers used their photography to influenced the US Congress to save areas like Mirror Lake. They complete a journal reflection, participate in a class discussion, and analyze three photographs from the period.
9th - 12th Visual & Performing Arts
The Conservation Movement at a Crossroads: The Hetch Hetchy Controversy
Should wilderness areas be preserved or managed? Class members examine primary source documents, including lecture notes, articles, essays and congressional records to better understand the Hetch Hetchy controversy that created a split in the American environmental movement.
9th - Higher Ed Social Studies & History CCSS: Designed
Innovation, politics, race, war...these themes are continuously evident in humanity over the course of history, and are revealed with spectacular imagery and commentary by famed documentarian Ken Burns. While primarily focusing on American history, this is a must-have app for history teachers in general, as Burns masterfully weaves scenes from his documentaries to establish meaningful connections across generations.
6th - 12th Social Studies & History CCSS: Adaptable
Sustainability and Canada's National Parks
Junior High students examine the concept of sustainability and how it relates to Canada's National Park system. They conduct research on the 'Atlas of Canada' website, participate in a simulated online exercise to determine the best site for a new national park.
7th - 9th Science
You Can Depend On me
Discover the natural beauty of California. With a conservation bent, this activity delves into some of the attributes that make this state unique. Learners discuss Yosemite and the forest habitat. They focus on the things plants and animals need to survive.
2nd - 3rd Social Studies & History
The Wilderness Concept: Our National Parks, History and Issues
Students examine the history of the National parks. In groups, they discuss the concepts of conservation and preservation. They discuss the use of natural resources and how some are renewable and non-renewable. To end the lesson plan, they research the role of Gifford Pinchot and the Hetch Hetchy controversy and discuss with the class.
6th - 8th Science
Personal Stories of the National Parks
Students explore historical information about U.S. national parks using the stories of Edward and Margaret Gehrke as a primary source document. In this United States geography, history, and literacy lesson, students view the diary entries of Edward and Margaret Gehrke written as they traveled through the national parks in the early 1900s.
6th - 8th Visual & Performing Arts
National Park Road Trip
Students research a national park and create a PowerPoint presentation about the park. They conduct Internet research, develop a list of ten facts about the part from at least four sources, plan a trip to the selected park, and present the information in the form of a PowerPoint presentation.
9th - 12th Social Studies & History
Our National Parks: Recreation and Preservation
Students will learn about the National Park System in the United States and, through exploration of the parks (in books, magazines, maps, and on the Internet), identify human modifications to the physical environment and the intended and unintended effects of those modifications.
K - 2nd Science
New Review What Can We Do?
Motivate young conservationists to stand up and make a change. After learning about the efforts in Cascade Nation Park to reduce carbon emissions in order to preserve the wilderness, students work in groups creating action plans for reducing the carbon footprint of their school.
4th - 8th Science CCSS: Adaptable