Are you a teacher that loves our national parks and wants to incorporate them in your classroom? Are you a teacher staring at a blank lesson plan template trying to think of a new way to make covering the standards more meaningful? Do you know a teacher who fits in either of these categories? Is that a yes? Cool, this one is for you. We are in Georgia, so we are going to look at Georgia’s third grade standards this time around. Let’s take a look at how sprucing up your science and social studies lessons can be as easy as 1, 2, 3!
S3L2. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information about the effects of pollution (air, land, and water) and humans on the environment.
1) Activity book: Print off the downloadable Junior Cave Scientist Activity Book for students to earn a junior ranger badge while learning about how pollution and human activity impacts karst systems, bats, and California condors.
2) WebRangers: Students can work towards their WebRangers patch as they learn about what to trash or recycle with activities like Trash Talkin’ and find out about light pollution by completing The Disappearing Dark Sky.
3) Novel study: Bring it all together by working through Over the Edge. This chapter book from the Mysteries in Our National Parks series is rated for upper elementary middle grades, so you might have to work through it slowly with lots of guided discussion or make it a special project for your top reading groups. Students will follow the Landon family on their wild vacation in Grand Canyon National Park as Dr. Olivia Landon works to save the California condors from being poisoned by the lead shotgun pellets that hunters could easily trade out. The story will pull readers in as they try to figure out the truth about the most recent foster child to join the Landon family and find out who is threatening Dr. Landon’s life.
BONUS: Have your class adopt a California condor from World Wildlife Fund!!
Keeping it Local:
Extend this conversation by bringing it back to a nearby park, Great Smoky Mountains NP. Night of the Black Bear is another Mysteries in Our National Parks book that sheds light on the human impact on the park’s bear population. A trip to the park is a great way to bring it all together and get a better understanding of the major concept, especially since you can’t miss the signs in the park that warn visitors to avoid feeding bears.
SS3H1 Describe early American Indian cultures and their development in North America.
1) Have your students earn their Junior Archeologist badge while learning about the importance of preserving and studying artifacts from past civilizations. Click on the link to download the book and get started!
2) Students may continue working towards their WebRanger badge by completing The Ancestral Pueblo People.
3) Welcome the Landon family back to your classroom with Cliff-Hanger. This novel follows the family on their adventures in Mesa Verde National Park as they tour cliff dwellings, learn about the importance of preserving artifacts, and work to stop mountain lion attacks in the park.
Bonus: Have your class build their own cliff dwellings courtesy of Mini Building Blocks. Cliff Palace from Mesa Verde National Park will be a great conversation piece in your classroom!
Keeping it Local:
Plan a visit to Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park!!
Connect WebRangers with national standards courtesy of the WebRangers Teachers’ Resource Guide for more ways to make use of this free and interactive opportunity.
Visit the Educators section of the NPS website for access to lesson plans, materials, field trip information and more!