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Social Science Unit for EDU 383 Social Science Methods

Name Emily Darter
Social Studies Unit Topic
Grade Level
National Parks – Discovering the United
5th Grade
States
Enduring Understanding –
Students will gain an appreciation over the importance of National Parks and how they pertain to our
society.
TABLE OF SPECIFICATIONS AND UNIT DESIGN
Essential Questions for the Unit (2-5)
 How can land preserve our nation's culture?
 How can National Parks help define the geography
of the US regions?
 Discuss the economic impact that land
preservation has on our society. Do the costs of
upkeep outweigh the benefits of tourism dollars in
today's economy?
 How is it our job as a citizen to maintain the
beauty of our National Parks?
 Discuss the role of the government in the
establishment of National Parks. What impact has
the decision made over time?

Background Materials Used:
 www.nationalparkpass.weebly.com
 https://www.nps.gov/index.htm
 http://www.nationalgeographic.com/
 www.scholastic.com

Introductory Lesson – Park Rangers in
Training

Content Areas Addressed –
 Geography
 History
 Speaking

1) Students will grow in excitement and appreciation
for the upcoming unit.

2) Students will critically think about the scenery of
our Nation and how it differs among regions.
3) Students will actively participate in group
discussions and share ideas with the class.

Possible Lesson Activities/Integrated Learning
Anticipatory Set: Watch https://youtu.be/otaYZ60wK5I video to engage students and facilitate class
discussion about what National Parks mean to us and our lives.
Instructional Input: Introduce focal wall (http://nationalparkpass.weebly.com/dessert.html) and explain
how students will be interacting with the wall throughout the unit. As a class, create “Park Ranger
Journals” for use in the unit to take notes and reflect on topics learned.
Guided Practice: Allow students to work in groups to brainstorm what type of scenery they think best
represents America
Independent Practice: Using magazines and newspapers, allow students to decorate the cover of their
journals with different pictures that represent scenery from differing United States Regions
Closure: Allow student to share their journal covers with the class and explain how it represents the
United States.
Content Areas Addressed
Day #2 Lesson – Regions of the United

States
1) Students will be able to identify all five regions
of the United States and where they correspond
on a map.
2) Students will understand directional terms such
as north and south.
3) Students will effectively communicate with
group members in order to achieve a common
goal.


Geography
Writing

Possible Lesson Activities/Integrated Learning
Anticipatory Set: Students will dance to a video about cardinal directions to activate prior knowledge
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShL3XuYmktE&nohtml5=False
Instructional Input: Complete a graffiti wall to showcase everything students already know regarding
regions in the U.S. and their characteristics. Use the focal wall to quickly introduce the different regions
and where they can be found.
Guided Practice: Divide students into five groups and give each group a copy of a mentor text by Dana
Meachen Rau. Student will complete a jigsaw activity to teach the rest of the class. While students are
teaching, the others will be taking notes in their journal.
Independent Practice: Have students will play a cardinal directions game where you say a region or
landform, and they point to the direction it would be on the US map
Closure: Students will write a reflection about the importance of knowing the landscape of the United
States

Day #3 Lesson – What is a National Park?
1) Students will know who established the National
Park service and the purpose it is to serve
2) Students will understand what criteria goes in to
preserving parks or monuments
3) Students will be able to compare and contrast the
various types of National parks, forests,
monuments, and museums

Content Areas Addressed –
 History
 Civics
 Sociology
 Anthropology

Possible Lesson Activities/Integrated Learning
Anticipatory Set: Virtual Field trip of the Grand Canyon
https://www.nps.gov/features/grca/001/archeology/srim.html
Instructional Input: Read portions of mentor text; American Moments: Scenes from American History
by: Robert Burleigh
Guided Practice: Discovery learning stations where students will:

o Read about Theodore Roosevelt and his work in established the National Park Service
o Explore different National Parks and learn about what type of history they preserve
o Play online to become a WebRanger at: https://www.nps.gov/webrangers/just_visiting.cfm
o Using a notetaking worksheet, research differences in national preserves.
Independent Practice: Gallery Walk of artifacts from differing National Parks. Students will pick one
artifact and write an historical fiction piece about how it came to be preserved and why.
Closure: Students will take turns sharing their stories to the class
Content Areas Addressed –
Day #4 Lesson – Preserving a Culture
 Anthropology
1) Students will evaluate the National Parks service
 Sociology
logo and understand its meaning.
 History
2) Students will understand the importance of
 Civics
preserving history for generations to come and the
history that has been preserved for us.
3) Students will further develop their critical thinking
skills

Possible Lesson Activities/Integrated Learning
Anticipatory Set: Virtual field trip of Acadia National Park
Instructional Input: Reading of mentor text; My America: What My Country Means to Me by: Stephen
Alcorn. After the story, we will dissect the National Parks service logo to discover its symbolic meaning.
Guided Practice: in groups, students will use the internet to conduct research of the relationship
between various national parks and the people groups they preserve. https://www.nps.gov/index.htm
Independent Practice: Create logo that symbolizes part of student’s life they want to preserve for
generations
Closure: Journal reflection over their logo creation

Day #5 Lesson – How much does it cost?
1) Students will decide whether the costs of upkeep
outweigh the economic benefits of National Parks

Content Areas Addressed –
 Economics
 Sociology

2) Students will formulate opinions with which they
will support with no less than three details.
3) Students will respectfully listen to a guest speaker
and take notes over content addressed.

Writing

Possible Lesson Activities/Integrated Learning
Anticipatory Set: Perform a pre-assessment quiz on https://www.plickers.com/ to see what students
already know about the content.
Instructional Input: Guest speaker from local park will talk about tourism money and how it affects our
economy. Speaker will discuss the differences in goods and services that the national park provides. We
will discuss how the government can afford upkeep of the National Parks, and who takes care of the parks
Guided Practice: Turn classroom into a national park simulation; students will become tourists and
decided whether something is a good or service and whether or not they want to spend their money on it.
Independent Practice: In their journals, students will write a letter to a newspaper editor persuading
others to donate money to national parks and why it would be beneficial.
Closure: As a class, discuss the reason why Americans would choose to continue to preserve land if it
costs so much money.
Content Areas Addressed Day #6 Lesson – Why should we care?
 Civics
1) Students will evaluate why we as American
 Sociology
Citizens should establish and maintain National
 Anthropology
Parks
2) Students will discuss in groups the impact that
preserving land has to American Citizens.

Possible Lesson Activities/Integrated Learning
Anticipatory Set: Each student will complete an online survey as to their beliefs over protecting wildlife
habitats, preserving historic landmarks, and uncovering ancient culture
Instructional Input: Complete geography cookie activity to break up how much land we have in the
world and how little of it is preserved for wildlife and natural causes. (Follow lesson plan from class)
Guided Practice: In groups, students will read and discuss questions from

http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/edresources/WhyDoWeHaveNationalParks.htm and come up with an
overall consensus for the answer to the questions.
Independent Practice: In ranger journals, write from the prompt of “Are National Parks Important?”
Closure: Facilitate a class discussion about the group answers to the questions.
Content Areas Addressed –
Day #7- 9 Lesson – Pick a Park, Any Park
 Social Studies: Geography, History, Economics,
1) Students will use various research methods to
Sociology, Anthropology, Civics
gather information about National Parks
 Language Arts; reading, writing, speaking
2) Students will organize information they have
researched to produce an original product to
showcase information

Possible Lesson Activities/Integrated Learning
Anticipatory set: Students will look at brochures from various national parks.
Instructional Input: The class will be presented the guidelines for their research project. Their task is to
come up with an original product (brochure, video, poster, essay) to display information about a national
park that can be found in the U.S. The landscape of the national park, why the park was established,
goods found at the park, services found at the park, what history the park preserves, as well as other
factors will need to be included.
Guided Practice: Students will brainstorm in groups for the park they will research as well as how they
might create an original product to show their research.
Independent Practice: Students will conduct the research and create the display. This might take extra
days depending on how much time is needed.
Closure: Students will set up their displays around the room and participate in a gallery walk to
showcase their research.

Day 10 – Assessment
End of unit assessment: traditional test where
students create their own national park that covers
all the criteria learned from lesson. Students will be

Personal reflection on what was most
challenging and most rewarding for YOU
during the planning of this unit
The most challenging part of this unit was

given a list of the six areas of social studies and will
explain how/why their national park covers each
area. Each student will address the topics in the
way that they see fit; no one answer will be the
same. (For example: My national park might be
called Emilyville and was established to preserve
the love of crafting for years to come. It is located in
the Midwest region of the United States so that all
regions have easy access to visit…)
Formative: Every day the students will reflect in
the journals. I will be able to read their reflections to
gauge their understanding of the topic. I will also
continually provide opportunities to respond during
my lesson to see if my students understand the
content.

narrowing down my ideas into manageable daily
plans. I had so much information that I thought
would be really cool to cover, but I did not have
time for it all. I loved being able to experience
writing a unit plan firsthand, because I feel more
confident in my ability to create a unit plan again in
the future. I definitely feel like I would use this unit
plan in real life. I think the students are often
limited in their opportunities and ability to see
other places besides their immediate surroundings.
This unit would help my students explore the world
around them and learn more about the country
with which they live.

List some of the ways you addressed the
Cognitive, Affective, and Psychomotor needs
of students within this unit plan

List some differentiated instruction
techniques you have used based on:

C= use of technology, integrated subjects, reading
mentor texts, group collaboration to learn content
A= Virtual field trips to heighten their sensitivity to
what the world around them looks like, class
discussions, reflection journals,
P= interactive focal wall, geography cookie,
kinesthetic movements to practice new concepts,

Content = Learning stations (students can learn
what interests them), student choice of National
Park,
Process = various leveled text for reference,
incorporation of all three perceptual channels into
lessons (Kinesthetic, Visual, Auditory), work-as-yougo assignments, Traditional lecture, students
teaching others, research, experiential learning
(simulations)
Product = Student Choice in presentation,

reflections at the end of each day.