Teachers, this one is for you! Did you know that your other classroom could be a National Park Service site? Many parks offer programs to help site-specific content come to life for students and teachers, and a number of sites are happy to have classes earn Junior Ranger badges on field trips. That being said, if you are visiting an NPS site this summer and find yourself wishing that you could share it with your students, you probably can. Most of the educational programs offered through the parks are already aligned with state standards, and many rangers are ready and willing to work with teachers to hit specifics if needed. Let’s get started!
Find Your Park’s Website
We’ll go with Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield as your sample site, so you would go to www.nps.gov and search for Kennesaw Mountain. Click on their page link. The main page has several tabs to choose from, but we want to Learn About the Park. From this menu, pick Education and then Parks as Classrooms. This is where the fun begins. You now have curriculum, field trip options, and materials that can come to you all at your fingertips.
- Curriculum Materials: They have already written parts of your lesson plan for you and have downloadable materials for you to use!
- Field Trips: You can choose from self-guided or guided tours of the site to fit your needs!
- Traveling Trunks: Let the site come to you!
Junior Ranger Programs
Many sites are happy to have students visit the site and earn a Junior Ranger badge. My students have earned badges at Congaree National Park, Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site, and Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. They also earned Eclipse Explorer badges back in the fall through the National Park Service. Some sites will even let you pick up books ahead of your trip so that students can work on activities before visiting.
My Other Classroom is a National Park!
What are you waiting for?!? Start exploring now and make your other 2018/2019 classroom a National Park Service site. If you still aren’t convinced, we hear that a picture is worth 1000 words!