Lesson Plan

National Parks Research, Video Green Screen and Wax Museum Project

Students practice research to learn about one of our National Parks, create a brochure, prepare a green screen video project to feature their park. Then they role play a park ranger as part of a whole class wax museum.
Lisa S.
Technology Integration Specialist
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My Subjects English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, Arts

Students will be able to...

  • demonstrate online research skills
  • write a friendly letter
  • create a 3-panel brochure using technology tools
  • create a green-screen video project
  • communicate verbally information they learn through research
English Language Arts
Social Studies
Grades 4 – 8
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Project Introduction: Exploring our National Parks

This is a fun lesson my colleague and I worked on together last year!

Have students access the National Parks Service website to review the parks service and all the various parks in our country.  Give students time to explore and select a park of their choosing (alternatively, put names of national parks in a hat and have each student draw a park they will research.)  Try to have each student researching a different national park.  


2 Write a Friendly Letter to Request Information from National Parks

Use the ReadWriteThink Letter Generator to teach a lesson about the parts of a friendly letter.  Have each student create a letter requesting information and mail it to his or her national park.  Almost all parks will respond to written requests for information.  As students begin to get mail back at the school address, keep a poster on your door labeled "You've Got Mail!" and add the student name to the list.  When all students' packets have arrived, have a mail opening day where everyone opens theirs at the same time.  Students get so excited about finding what they get!  Give time to review the materials and add to their existing research notes.  

3 Creating a Brochure to Promote a National Park

Google Drive
Free, Paid

Have students put together a brochure of the details to be highlighted about the state park they are researching.  Use the Popplet App to create a concept map/idea web to organize topics to include.  This step provides an opportunity to teach a lesson on digital citizenship and giving credit for where images and information comes for during a research project.  Don't overlook that opportunity!   Consider requiring students to create a Google Doc to put images and information they want to use in their brochure and notate where they came from.  Require students to give credit for using others' work throughout this project.

4 Green Screen Video Project Teaching about a National Park

Students should write a script that tells about the park they have been studying.  Give them an age-appropriate time-goal between 1 and 3 minutes long to read their script.  Next have them select 5-10 photos of their park that support the details they wish to highlight about the park they are studying.  Selecting just the right photos to support the details they will speak is a higher order thinking skill!  This is another opportunity to integrate lessons on digital citizenship, too!

Have students practice fluently reading or even memorizing their script.  If iPads or other 1:1 devices are available, students can record themselves and do some critical self-evaluation as part of this practice time. 

Set up a green screen environment and use the Greenscreen app by Do Ink to import the pictures of their park and record each student reading or reciting their script.  

Upload the videos to Google Drive or another video sharing site to generate links that can be shared with family and friends.  

5 Park Ranger Wax Museum (Role Play with Guests)

Activity: Presenting

Host an open house for the friends and family of students and invite other classes in your school to take part!  Have each student role play a park ranger who will tell about the National Park they have become an expert on during this project.   Set up the room as though the students are statues in a wax museum.  On the back of each student's hand, with a washable marker, draw a "button" that can be pushed.  Students should stand like statues unless their button is pushed.  When someone presses the button on their hand, they should tell what they know about the park they have studied.  Each student should have a 1-minute prepared speech to recite.

Consider having a viewing room available where visitors can also watch the green-screen video projects.