Lesson Plan

Find Your National Park Postcard

Taking advantage of the Every Kid in a Park program, this lesson plan encourages students to conduct research on a variety of National Parks in the United States and learn what types of activities they can do there and present about the park.
Jeff D.
Classroom teacher
Millard Elementary School
Fremont, CA
Show More
My Grades 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, Arts
Digitial Citizenship and EdTech Mentor
Objectives

Students will be able to conduct research, write a reflection, and create a digital artifact encouraging people to explore the natural wonders of our world. 

Subjects
English Language Arts
Science
Social Studies
Grades 4
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook/ Attention Getter

1. Play the 1 minute video by the National Park Service entitled "Find your Park"

2. Lead the students in a discussion about what a park is based on their prior knowledge. What parks have they visited? What experiences did they observe? What did they observe others doing at the parks?  - This is a group group discussion activity. 

3. Share the picture of the Roosevelt Arch. See if anyone knows what it is or can conduct some research to find out about it. The Roosevelt Arch is located at the northern entrance of Yellowstone National Park. Bonus: It is actually located in Montana. While most of Yellowstone is in Wyoming, there is a small portion on the northern and northwest entrances to the park that are in Montana. 

Student Instructions

What is a park? 

What parks have you been to? 

What did you do at the park? 

Is there a park that you would like to go to that you have never been to before? 

Look at the picture: What does the inscription mean to you? 

What is this monument and what park is it located at? Bonus: Can you name the state it is located in?  

2 Instruction (Day 1)

Define what a park is: "An area of land, usually in a largely natural state, for the enjoyment of the public, having facilities for rest and recreation, often owned, set apart, and managed by a city, state, or nation"

Inform students that over the next couple of days they are going to explore the wide variety of National Parks that we can visit in the US. 

Students will spend some time researching National Parks and getting an idea of some of  the activities they can do at them. 

Have them go to one of the links attached here. The Find Your Park link was designed to find a park easily by state and activity. However, I think the NPS Find Your Park is a more user friendly site. 

Student Instructions

Define what a park is? 

Has anyone been to a National Park before? Which one(s)? What was it like? 

Today, we are going to explore some National Parks. Using the links, you will conduct some research on at least 3 different National Parks. You may use a notebook, Google Docs, or Google Keep to write down your notes. 

Answer these questions when you look at a park: 

  • Name of the park and state it is located
  • What types of activities can you do there? 
  • Why do people visit the park? What makes it special or unique)
  • What types of plants and animals will you see at the park? 

3 Instruction (Day 2)

Review the research from the prior days activity.

Students are now going to choose one of the parks that they researched the day before and create a 1 slide National Parks Postcard that includes the following:

  • Name of the National Park and state
  • 1/2 of the slide includes a picture that features the park and additional pictures overlaid that show they types of activities one can do or things people will see in the park
  • 1/2 of the slide will include 1 paragraph that explains why the student would like to visit that park and what they hope to do while there. 
Student Instructions

Today, you will create a simple 1 slide postcard using Google Slides about one of the parks you researched yesterday. Please include the following in your postcard

National Parks Postcard that includes the following:

  • Name of the National Park and state
  • 1/2 of the slide includes a picture that features the park and additional pictures overlaid that show they types of activities one can do or things people will see in the park
  • 1/2 of the slide will include 1 paragraph that explains why the student would like to visit that park and what they hope to do while there. 

4 Independent Practice (Day 3)

This is where the collaboration comes in. Create a master slide deck using Google Slides and share the shortened URL with you students.

Have the student copy their slide and add it to the classroom master. This will be a little tricky. However, once you have a completed master slide deck of all of the classes postcards, you will have something pretty cool to present. 

5 Presentation

Activity: Presenting

Setup the slide deck and inform the students that they will be presenting their slides when it appears but that you will be controlling the flow of slides. 

When presenting, have the students stand in place and introduce their park and why they would like to visit it. I usually have the students give two snaps and clap to show appreciation and then move on to the next park. In total, this usually takes about 15 minutes to run through the slides for 30 students. 

6 Wrap Up

After completing the presentations, let everyone know that they have "earned" a free National Parks pass for them to take their family out while they are 4th graders. 

You can print out passes ahead of time for the class and laminate (if you can) before handing them out or have them go to the website for homework and have their families print them out. I make sure that I print out a few for those who do not have access to a printer or computer at home. 

The passes are good to from Sept 1 - August 31st the year they are in 4th grade. 

Happy Exploring!