Bringing National Parks into the Classroom

Mon 18 2008

The National Park Service offers traveling exhibits, media-on-loan, and in-class speakers to bring the diverse historical heritage of our national parks into schools.

Traveling trunks are mini-museums of artifacts allowing students to handle, examine, and study events, people, and places pertinent to national parks throughout the country. They are loaned free of charge, although some are available for purchase, and come with lesson plans and suggested activities.

A few national parks offer in-class programs with Park Rangers who come to schools prepared to contribute to curriculum-based programming based on discussions between the teacher and the ranger in advance of the visit. In some cases, park scientists or other experts may be available as well as park rangers.

Web Rangers is an online activity site appropriate for all ages. History-related activities, ranked easy to hard, introduce narrative and artifacts with interactive experiences encouraging Web Rangers to interpret historical events. Registering to become a Web Ranger opens vistas of the diverse landscape of the national parks through webcams with related environmental data.

About the Author

Lee Ann Ghajar is a digital history associate in Public Projects at CHNM and a PhD candidate in American history at George Mason University.