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Working the Land:  Natural Occupations

Grades 4 through 6
Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, and Technology

Lesson Plan


The students will research different jobs associated with the national parks and forests.  The students will understand the jobs' importance and how the skills are used in various national parks and forests.  The students will present aspects of the jobs, focusing on their importance using interview techniques and a project of their choice.


Students will examine various occupations of people at the National Park Service.  Students will demonstrate an understanding of the importance of the occupations to the national parks and forests.  Students will create a product that demonstrates knowledge about occupations at sites of national significance.


Three 45- to 60-minute sessions

Materials List

  • 1 photocopy of the following worksheets:
    • "Natural Occupations" worksheet
    • "So, In Other Words..." worksheet
    • "May I Ask You a Few Questions?" worksheet
  • 1 class map of the United States
  • Copies of texts that give information about National Parks
  • Chart paper
  • Writing and drawing materials


  • Obverse
  • Reverse
  • Geologist
  • Hydrologist
  • Biologist
  • Fire Archaeologist
  • Botanist
  • Historical Architect
  • Geographer
  • Geochemist


  • Describe the America the Beautiful Quarters™ Program for background information.  The program is described at  Tell the students that the back of a coin is called the reverse, and "obverse" is another name for the front.  With the students, examine each of the five 2010 quarter designs.  Locate each of the sites on a class map.  Answer any student questions.
  • Our country has many beautiful national parks and forests.  Ask the students:  What they know about some of our national parks such as Yosemite, Yellowstone, Mount Hood, Hot Springs, and the Grand Canyon.
  • Lead the students in a discussion about the national sites and jobs at these sites.
  • Display and review the "Natural Occupations" worksheet with the students.  Using available text and Internet resources, allow the students time to research the occupations of the national parks.  Have the students record their findings on the "Natural Occupations" worksheet.
  • Have the students complete the "So, In Other Words..." worksheet to summarize what they found.  Have the students think about what they would ask someone who has this occupation.  Have the students complete the "May I Ask You A Few Questions?" worksheet.
  • Have the students present the results from the worksheets to the class and have each decide which project to complete on national park occupations.
  • Have the students work independently on their selected projects and present them to the class.


  • Take anecdotal notes about the students' participation in class discussions.
  • Evaluate the students' worksheets and projects to see whether the lesson objectives have been met.
  • Use the rubric to evaluate performance on the final product.

Differentiated Learning

  • Allow students to work in small groups or pairs.
  • Allow students to use a scribe to complete their worksheets.

Connection to



National Council of Teachers of English ( and International Reading Association (

  • Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
  • Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.
  • Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions and by posing problems.  They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources (e.g., print and non-print texts, artifacts, people) to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience.
  • Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.

Social Studies

National Council for the Social Studies (

  • Time, Continuity, and Change
  • People, Places, and Environments


International Society for Technology in Education (

  • Research and Informational Fluency:  Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information.


National Science Education Standards (

  • Understanding of scientific concepts.
  • An appreciation of "how we know" what we know in science.
  • Understanding of the nature of science.
  • Skills necessary to become independent inquirers about the natural world.
  • The dispositions to use the skills, abilities, and attitudes associated with science.
  • History and Nature of Science:  All students should develop understanding of science as human endeavor, nature of science, and history of science.

United States Department of Education National Technology Plan

Helpful Hints

  • Make copies of necessary materials.
  • Review with the students how to complete the "Natural Occupations" worksheet.
  • Address and highlight any unfamiliar or new vocabulary from the discussion and record it on a chart.
  • Bookmark websites to guide students to exactly where you want them to research.

Student Version


You will learn about some of the occupations important to the national parks.  You will learn interview and research skills based on the information that you will collect on the national parks and forests.

Step-By-Step Directions

  1. Your teacher will introduce your class to national sites and the America the Beautiful Quarters™ Program.
  2. Our country has many beautiful national parks and forests.  What do you know about some of our national parks and forests, such as Yosemite, Yellowstone, Mount Hood, Hot Springs, and the Grand Canyon?  Use the links on to learn more about the national parks and forests.  Think about the following questions as you research:
    • Where are these sites located?
    • What do you think you would see at these sites?
    • How do you think all the ongoing information about a national site is obtained?
  3. Think about the different types of jobs that might be associated with national parks.  Jobs may involve studying the past, monitoring land and water, and the effect of animals and people on the land.  There are many jobs that are important to the National Parks.  Most of these jobs require men and women to work "in the field" at our national parks.  Today you will explore several occupations and then choose a project telling more about what you researched.
  4. Using the "Natural Occupations" worksheet, research the occupations listed on the sheet using available resources such as the Internet, texts, and other print resources.
  5. Think about what you would ask someone who works in a national park.  Complete the "May I Ask You a Few Questions?" worksheet.
  6. Choose one of the projects listed in the project plan to demonstrate your understanding of occupations held in our national parks and forests.
  7. Present your project to the class.

Related Links


The Department of the Treasury Seal