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Concordia Online Education

This one focuses on Saving a National Park


Social Studies  


4, 5, 6  

Title – Save a National Park: The Work of John Muir- National Park Mini-Unit Lesson 3
By – Amanda
Subject – Social Studies
Grade Level – 4-6

National Parks unit contents:

Unit: U.S. National Parks
Lesson #3: Save a National Park

Objectives: Students will:
— Identify the reasons that nature should be preserved
— Write a persuasive news article detailing why Yosemite Valley should be set aside as a national park.

MEAP: Identify human impact on nature

Vocabulary: Conservation: Protecting and taking care of land, plants, and
Animals in the environment.

— Book: The Sierra Club Book of Our National Parks, by Donald Young and Cynthia Overbeck Bix. Sierra Club Books, 1990.
— Paper, Pencils, Crayons
— Worksheets: Blank form resembling the front page of newspaper.

Anticipatory Set:
“Lately we have been learning about national parks. What are some things you remember about national parks? (Students respond). Why is it that we have national parks? (Varied responses, but key in on “to preserve nature”). Today we are going to learn about John Muir, a man who helped to create a national park in California, Yosemite National Park.”

Objective and Purpose:
“We are going to learn about John Muir’s efforts to turn Yosemite Valley into a park. Then, we are going to pretend that we are John Muir, and write a newspaper article convincing people that this land needs to be conserved as a national park.”

First, I will read the class a story about John Muir. I will introduce the story like this:
In the mid 1800s, the United States was a busy place. However, sometimes things were bad. The big cities were very crowded, and they kept getting dirtier and noisier. Out in the country, forests had been chopped down to create farmland and places for animals to be raised. People were just beginning to see that they were destroying our beautiful country.
At this time, there was only one National Park. This park was called Yellowstone, and it was in Northern Wyoming. Congress had passed a law making it a national park. This meant that the land and natural area in Yellowstone would be taken care of, and that people from all over the country could visit and enjoy the park.
Here I will read the story of John Muir’s effort to save Yosemite Valley from the book The Sierra Club Book of Our National Parks, by Donald Young. I will introduce the character of John Muir, and begin reading with the last paragraph on page 21, and ending at the top of page 24.

Model and Guided Practice:
Tell the students that for this activity, they will pretend that they are John Muir. They have gone to the valley and seen that it needs help, and their friend Robert Underwood Johnson suggests writing a news article. I will guide the students in a discussion focused on the question “how can we convince the readers that the Yosemite Valley needs to be saved?” I will explain the term conservation. Student will share knowledge they have gained from the story. The student’s ideas will be recorded on the chalkboard, and students will take notes on ideas shared.

Check for Understanding:
I will allow the students to ask questions throughout the lesson about anything they do not understand. Questions will be posed to the class, rather than to me, the teacher, so that the students themselves will work on clearing up each other’s misunderstandings.

Closure and Independent Practice:
Students will write their articles, based on the information they have gained from the lesson. Students will proofread and edit their article with a partner, then do a final copy on a worksheet that is set up to look like the front page of a newspaper. The worksheet will also have a space for the student to draw a picture.

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