Lesson Plans and Teacher Resources

Colorado Content Standards:
3rd Grade: History 1b, 2a, 2b, Geography 1a, 2a,
4th Grade: History 1a, 1b, 2a, Geography 1a, 2a, Reading and Writing 3a, 3b

Lesson 1: Meet Colorado’s National Parks
Objective: Students are introduced to Colorado’s National Parks, where they are located in Colorado, and some of the reasons that they are special and important places in our state.
Time: 15-45 minutes
Materials: History Colorado website, Map of Colorado’s National Parks, Google map of Colorado National Parks, National Parks website, paper, pencils, crayons

Procedure:

  1. Students watch short videos about Colorado’s four National Parks. As a class, watch the videos about Mesa Verde, Rocky Mountain, Great Sand Dunes and Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Parks and have students write down three facts about each park. Discuss why they think each park is special.
  2. Students find Mesa Verde, Rocky Mountain, Great Sand Dunes and Black Canyon on the map. What other places in Colorado are close to these four parks? Find where your school is located on the map. What is the closest park to you? How would you travel to get there?
  3. Students reflect on what they’ve learned about the National Parks so far:

     

    • Create a postcard, draw a picture of your favorite park and write a message.
    • Write a short story about one of the parks.
    • Interview someone who has visited a National Park in Colorado. What did they see and do? Why do they think the park is special?
    • Look at the park website (http://www.nps.gov/) and the list of fun facts to get more ideas.

Lesson 2: Explore Colorado’s National Park and Monuments
Objective: Students work as a class to learn more about the people, animals, plants and geographic features of one of Colorado’s National Parks or Monuments and how they can visit.
Time: 30 minutes to 2 hours
Materials: History Colorado websiteMap of Colorado’s National Parks, National Parks website

Procedure:

  1. The class selects a park. Look at the the map together and have students pick one National Park, Monument or Historic Site to explore more. Read the fun facts about that park.
  2. Students look at the website for their Park or Monument on the History Colorado site (link) Look at the Plan Your Visit section of the National Park website. Have students make a list of 3-4 sites in the park that they would like to visit or learn more about.
  3. Choose one lesson plan to explore with your class

Lesson 3: Tell the Story of Your Park
Objective: Students research the places, wildlife, plants and people of Colorado’s National Parks.
Time: 30 minutes to 2 hours
Materials: History Colorado websiteMap of Colorado’s National ParksNational Parks website

Procedure:
Students will work individually or in small groups to research more about a specific place, animal, plant, or person from Colorado’s National Parks and will give a short “ranger talk” or create a video commercial

  1. Students select one of the National Parks, National Monuments or Historic Sites from the map.
  2. Students use the graphic organizer (link to pdf) to create to gather information as they explore the website, watch videos, etc.
  3. Have students use the questions on the graphic organizer to gather information as they explore the website, watch videos, etc. individually or in small groups.
  4. Students then create a poster, a ranger tour, or a video commercial that is by one of the groups of people (scientists, historians, park visitors, people who live near the park) that will convince other people why this park is important.

More Links and Resources