Creating Lesson Plans for NPS Educators Portal
An effective lesson plan is comprised of many important components, from introducing the lesson and writing clear objectives to synthesizing and concluding the lesson. There are also many general questions to consider: how does park content relate to state standards? Is the lesson student-centered? What behavioral objectives will be included and do the objectives describe the learning outcome in a realistic manner? How much background information is needed to prepare teachers?
What You Will Learn
You will learn to:
- Identify the essential components of a lesson plan
- Examine and compare good lesson plans
- Explore how to make your lesson plans place-based specifically for your park
How to Use this Resource
- Review the following sections
- Review and use the Additional Resources
- Leave a review
This resource was created by NPS educators and classroom teachers to assist interpreters and educators who add lesson plan assets to the NPS Educators Portal. This resource will help you design your curriculum-based materials and activities that will be posted on the NPS Educators Portal as a lesson plan. A thoughtful plan on how to best analyze, develop, and evaluate this content is essential. Additionally, it is a good practice to develop lesson plans with local teachers.
Lesson Plan Components:
- Accessibility and 508 Compliance
- Essential Questions
- Activities and Other Details
Focusing Lesson Plans on Place
The NPS Educators Portal is a resource for teachers to find lesson plans about your park. The content and activities should highlight your park and address cross-curricular concepts and standards. When developing your lesson plan, it is very important to think about what makes this lesson different from the everyday, run of the mill lesson that is about a general concept and not connected to a real-world place, event, person, etc. Lesson plans should provide opportunities for teachers and students to explore curricular concepts through the context of the park.
Making it relevant to teachers’ and students’ lives also creates an important connection. Check out this Common Learning Portal resource about Relevance in Education.
Consider your site’s themes and educational goals. What sets your site or story apart from others? How does your story relate to students and their community? Share your thoughts on the Common Learning Portal.
To learn more about making your lesson plans place-based, consult the following resources:
- A list of Place-Based Learning activities by Edutopia
- “Place-Based Education Turns Towns Into Classrooms” by Education World
- “What is Placed-Based Education” by Promise of Place
Lesson Plan or Field Trip?
It is important to create the appropriate asset in the Educators Portal to help teachers find the resources they need. There are many different teacher audiences in the Educators Portal. Teachers around the world can use the Educators Portal to find lesson plans to connect to curricular concepts. A teacher that is looking for lesson plans to use in their classroom is not looking for a field trip resource. More guidance about the difference between lesson plan assets and field trip assets can be found in the Digital Community resources.
From the Digital Community guidance:
“If you have materials that might seem like a lesson plan but MUST be done onsite at a park unit, they need to be categorized as “Field Trips” and not “Lesson Plans.” One of the defining characteristics of a Lesson Plan is that it can be done in the classroom without a park visit, so any materials that require a park visit will fall under “Field Trips.”
Lesson Plan Asset Technical Guidance
Employees who enter assets into the NPS Educators Portal should also consider Digital Community resources, including the Lesson Plan Guide. This is where educators and web authors can find technical guidance on entering lesson plan assets using the Content Management System (CMS). By working collaboratively, educators and web authors strengthen the Educators Portal by providing quality content in a convenient and organized source.
This resource was updated in August 2019 based on feedback in the comments from the previous version. Please leave additional comments so we may continue to update and strengthen this resource. A printable version of the resource is also available.