Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

This lesson plan, adaptable for grades 3-12, invites students to explore BrainPOP resources to learn about America’s National Parks, from the history of why they were established to how they provide shelter for endangered species, showcase natural wonders, and more.  Then students will select one National Park and and conduct further research to present to the group.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Brainstorm what they know about National Parks.
  2. Research one National Park featured in the movie or not.
  3. Use Make-a-Map to identify National Parks and their features.
  4. Share research with small group, through a visual presentation, such as Make-a-Movie


  • Internet access for BrainPOP
  • Interactive whiteboard
  • Class set of Web Graphic Organizer (alternative to Make-a-Map)


Preview the movie National Parks to plan for any adaptations.

If students will be working offline, make copies of the Web Graphic Organizer.  

Bring in and display books and articles about the National Parks (optional)

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Ask students to share what they know about the National Parks. This could be anything from the role the Parks play protecting wildlife to the natural wonders they showcase. Jot their responses on the board.
  2. After students brainstorm, explain that today they will watch a movie about the National Parks that describes what they are, the role they play, and more.
  3. Show the movie National Parks on the whiteboard or other large display to the whole class.
  4. Next, have students open Make-a-Map from the National Parks topic page. Instruct them to choose the Structure Map template or make their own. If students are not using individual computers, distribute the Web Graphic Organizer to complete offline.
  5. Now invite students to watch the movie again on their own devices. As they do, have them make note on their concept maps of National Parks mentioned in the movie and features that make them special or unique. For example, Bryce Canyon’s rock formations and Carlsbad Canyons’ mineral formations. Suggest they pause the movie as they take notes. Remind them that they can include images and movie clips in their organizer (if they’re using Make-a-Map).
  6. Divide the class into small groups of four or five. Within each group, have students each select a different National Park to research. Students may use approved web sites as well as offline resources to conduct their research. Encourage them to research facts such as when and why the park was established, where it’s located, its natural features, etc.
  7. Then, have students use their research to create a BrainPOP-style movie about their National Park using Make-a-Movie.
  8. Finally, have students present to their groups.

Extension Activities:

  • Have students test their knowledge of natural resources by playing Sortify: Natural Resources.
  • Divide the class into groups of six. Assign each person in the group a different National Parks Related Reading to read. Then have them share what they learned with the rest of the group