Geography Quest: National Parks

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Blog She Wrote: Geography Quest National Parks

This week’s Geography Quest is all about US National Parks. August 25th was Founder’s Day for the National Park Service which celebrated its 97th birthday!

Mapping the National Parks

  • Make a United States map available to your kids. I printed mine in WonderMaps with state boundaries and names and I included Alaska and Hawaii.
  • List out all the National Parks you can think of- maybe your family has visited some. Remember that the National Parks include military parks, natural parks, battlefield parks, and historical parks.
  • Use an atlas of the United States to identify National Parks. Try to find one for each of the 50 States.
  • Choose a symbol to represent the parks and draw them on to your map in the location of the park.
  • Print or find a physical map of the United States. Compare the maps and see what terrain the parks are in. Can you predict some features of the park that visitors would want to see?
  • Compare the maps again– to see if you can remember what historic event took place at that park.

Blog, She Wrote: Geography Quest National Parks

Visit the National Park Service Website

  • National Park Service– the starting place but I will highlight some other fun parts of the site for you
  • Teacher section– you can browse here for resources
  • Field Trip Planning– click on a park and it gives you contact information along with highlights and resources to prepare for the trip
  • Classroom Trunks– these are parks which allow you to borrow or purchase classroom trunks for use with your students. How fun is that?
  • Homestead National Monument trunk– from Nebraska. I can’t resist showing this off. Do they send to homeschoolers? I have no idea! But, how crazy great is this if they did? I might have to find out!
  • Environmental Education Reading List– a fabulous list of books to read on the animals and plants of each of the parks. Lots of ideas for resources here!
  • Teaching with Historic Places– uses places listed on the National Register of Historic Places to teach history! Wow.
  • Reading Lists from the Parks– some parks have published a reading list to match your experience. A treasure trove of book lists relating to the parks!
  • Parks with Media for Loan– these might be available for groups to borrow. Might be fun for your homeschool group.
  • Park Fun Sites– for kids to enjoy online
  • Distance Learning– parks can sometimes share their content and history through technology. Read on to learn more!
  • Workshops for Teachers– bringing science and real life into the classroom. Which one of us will be brave enough to see if we can take classes?
  • Views of the National Parks– online programming to show off the park’s natural resources. This looks pretty nice, although I haven’t looked at it closely yet.
  • Discover History– enjoy an online journey into the history the National Parks preserve
  • Exploring Nature– discover more about the habitats, animals, and plants of the parks

Wow! I could spend all day providing you a closer look at the National Parks Website. Enjoy your browsing and let us know if you find something you’d like to share.

Fun Fast Facts about Some of the National Parks

  • Catoctin Mountain National Park in Maryland is home to Camp David, the President’s retreat. The Cozy Inn & Restaurant in the town at the base of the mountain has hosted many presidents and you can go and see the memorabilia they have collected.
  • Harper’s Ferry National Historic Park– is not only notable for an uprising by John Brown that ignited the Civil War, but it’s also a place where three states come together as well as the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers. Do you know the states? This is one of my favorite places in the world. I used to spent a lot of time riding my bike on the C&O Canal Path back in the day!
  • Manassas National Battlefield Park– in Virginia. Maybe you wouldn’t recognize it unless you used it’s other name, Bull Run. We used to live in Haymarket, VA on Bull Run Mountain. Seems like a long time ago now!
  • Gettysburg National Military Park– we are so hoping to get there this year and had plans in the spring that fell through due to Dan’s injury. Growing up, I went there a lot but have not been with my kids. It’s the 150th anniversary of the battle at Gettysburg this year.
  • Birthplace of Theodore Roosevelt National Historic Site in NY– Theodore Roosevelt was a conservationist and was responsible for beginning the park system. Have you ever read Brighty of the Grand Canyon? Great read and Roosevelt makes an appearance in the story- great tie in for a read aloud.

Can you tell I grew up in Maryland? I know you all are familiar with stories from the parks where you live. Share something fun with us in the comments!

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WonderMaps by Bright Ideas Press

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  1. OHHHHH…Love National Parks.

    Here a couple of mine-
    Yellowstone National Park: We got stuck in a traffic jam of bison who were taking their time crossing the road. My kids don’t like the smell of geysers (rotten eggs).
    Grand Canyon: We visited in December and it was gorgeous with a dusting of snow. Our water bottles froze in the car at night…solid. Brrrrrr!
    Death Valley National Park: We visited the lowest place in the US at Badwater.
    Saguaro National Park (Arizona): Spring at Saguaro is like heaven with the wildflowers and cactus all blooming. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!
    Yosemite National Park: What can I say…it is my home away from home. Hiking the John Muir Trail or rafting down the Merced River…visiting the Ahwahnee Hotel is amazing in the valley.
    Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island of Hawaii: Ever hike on an active volcano and see lava flowing into the ocean making steam clouds high in the sky? This is like a storybook to visit.
    I could go on but maybe I should make a post and link to yours. 🙂 You have the East Coast and I have the West Coast!

  2. Hi, Heather-

    I just found your blog and have read and enjoyed several of your posts. I really like this post because it reminded me of our family’s once in a lifetime opportunity several years ago.

    Here’s our story about national parks that we visited on a road trip across the USA –

    Thanks for writing this post, sharing your experiences, and bringing back great memories!

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