This workshop is presented as an example of how photos, documents, and maps can be accessed to aid student engagement in a theme or topic

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Workshop Overview

Primary sources have always been available to us for use in the classroom however textbook adoptions provided quick one-stop materials for teaching students and tight schedules didn’t always allow time for supplementation. With the adoption of Common Core State Standards across many of the states, teachers are being provided an opportunity to be more creative in the way in which they present content to students. Teachers now have a greater ability to develop cross-discipline units that provide learners with a better understanding that content does not happen in isolation. Furthermore, in order to address all of the necessary standards it is becoming more common to find schools and districts teaching literacy within content. Embedded in the standards are requirements that teachers explicitly instruct primary sources and the Library of Congress is an amazing source of a variety of documents – maps, photos, film, music, and more.

This workshop is presented as an example of how photos, documents, and maps can be accessed to aid student engagement in a theme or topic. The topic of “National Parks: An American Innovation” could be used by teachers of virtually any grade level but is easily adapted by elementary teachers to meet content standards and/or provide documents, maps, and photos that encourage critical thinking opportunities for students.

Hopefully this workshop will open your mind to the vast possibilities…almost as vast as the acreage we have been blessed with since the passage of the Act Establishing Yellowstone National Park (1872). Although this workshop presents a sampling of activities that could be used with students, the options are many and varied. The use of technology tools and applications can add another dimension of engagement that has not been addressed in this introductory workshop. Additional resources have also been provided but can be added to discoveries are uncovered. The possibilities are endless!

National Parks: An American Innovation

Welcome: Overview of the Workshop

Introducing Primary Sources (20 minutes)

What are primary sources?

Activity: Have small group discussion regarding what items would be considered primary sources and what items would be considered secondary sources. Looking at the list, as a group, develop a summary statement to use with students to help them to understand the difference between the two types of sources and the importance of primary sources.

[Provide glossy handout from Library of Congress]

Activity: Pin the Park on the Maps (45 minutes)

Using photographs of several of the national parks, groups will use observation, analysis, and critical thinking to determine what region/state the national park would be found in. For additional challenge, groups can be given the task of identifying the park by name.

Library of Congress Website Walk-Through – Part 1 (45 minutes)

Using the topic of National Parks we will look at the home page and how to navigate through the collections.

Activity: What Came First? (30 minutes)

Using National Park Service or Public Broadcasting System (PBS) Timelines for student engagement, the history of the nation’s national parks can be developed and discussed.

Library of Congress Website Walk-Through – Part 2 (30 minutes)

Continuing from Part 1, the website will be navigated through the Teacher Resource links, using the same National Parks theme, illustrating a quick retrieval means to help those exploring the Library of Congress website for the first time.

Activity: A Day in the Park (60 minutes)

Using the Library of Congress’ “Brief History of the National Parks” to create Found Poetry

Other lesson ideas and exploration opportunity (30 minutes)

Participants will share other ideas of ways they envision being able to use the Library of Congress website and the primary sources included there.

National Park Resources and Collections

Library of Congress > Collections with Maps > Mapping the National Parks

This collection provides an overview of the collection, maps of many of the national parks, and articles and essays including “Brief History of the National Parks” which can be used for a variety of classroom activities.
The Library of Congress > Teachers > Classroom Materials > Primary Source Set > Primary Sources By State

In general, the Teacher section of the Library of Congress site has user friendly access to classroom materials, lesson plans, presentations, activities, themed resources, and collection connections. It is an easy “go to” that does not require an in-depth ability to navigate the Library website. This specific link will take you to Primary Source Sets by State which allow to search by state for photos, maps, and other primary sources. When clicking on Colorado, for example, you will get a link that takes you to a copy of the Act that established Rocky Mountain National Park:
The Library of Congress > American Memory Home

The American Memory collection is organized by “Themes” and after choosing your theme can be (in many cases) searched for applicable primary sources specific to your purpose. For example, by going to “Environment/Conservation” four collections can be searched: Conservation Movement (multi-format), Environment, Natural (photographs), Florida Everglades Environmental History (multi-format), and National Parks (maps).
The Library of Congress > Prints and Photographs Reading Room > Prints and Photographs Online Catalog

This site provides a plethora of photographic images that can be further narrowed through a search. The more specific the search as, for example, a search of “National Parks” returned over 10,000 sources. By narrowing the search using the term “Rocky Mountain National Park” the search returned 164 sources…a much more manageable number of images to peruse for usable photographs.
The Library of Congress > Chronicling America

With over 8 million pages of digital newspapers this can be daunting to search and did not return the announcements that were expected for national park dedications, etc. A non-Library of Congress search, however, did turn up articles more specific to Rocky Mountain National Park through the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection ( and similar sites for other states (for researching other parks) could be possible as well.

Library of Congress > Collections with Film and Videos > America at Work, America at Leisure: Motion Pictures from 1894-1915

Film and video options are also available. They are grouped by categories. Within this collection there are films titled “Tourists Going Round Yellowstone Park” ( and “Coaches Arriving at Mammoth Hot Springs” ( Each was filmed in 1899 and provides an interesting, short hook for kids to show them how people traveled at the turn of the 20th century.

Library of Congress > Search

Should you desire to use Works Projects Administration (WPA) posters for building student interest or for discussion about how and why the posters were developed and used, they can be accessed through a general Library of Congress search query (like the link above) or they can be accessed through the Teacher Resources section… The Library of Congress > Teachers > Classroom Materials > Collection Connections > By the People, For the People….that will take you to the entire collection with a broader overview of the themes and development of the project.
Other sites that had a variety of materials, including maps, photos, informational text, and history are listed here for supplementation of the Library of Congress materials.
National Park Service website

This site provides a gateway to search every national park in the country. Once a specific park is identified there is information including photos, maps, and even teacher resources provided by the park service.
Public Broadcasting Service

This website provides videos, photos, and overviews of the episodes of Ken Burns’ film, “The National Parks, America’s Best Idea.”

historyHistory of the National Parks - Learn about the evolution of the national parks.

peoplePeople Who Made a Difference Learn about the exceptional individuals who fought to preserve America's rich natural treasures.

parksPark Profiles Explore the colorful history of each of the major parks featured in the documentary.
MapQuest National Parks Website

Activity #1

Materials Needed:

  • Large U.S. Wall Maps (1 for each group)

  • Envelopes to place photos of each park

  • 2 to 4 photos per park; number of parks TBD by the teacher (laminate photos for reuse)


  1. Provide student groups with a large US wall map and envelopes with photos.

  2. Instruct students to study the photos, using clues regarding terrain, dates, etc. and background knowledge of US regions, climates, geography, etc. to place the photo groups on the area of the map (require them to determine specific states to add challenge). Students must be prepared to share what factors made them choose the location chosen.

  3. If time allows, have students attempt to name the parks.

**Alternative plans/ideas

  • Split the parks by region, giving each student group a region. Have them identify the region and then get the map section (requires the US map be divided into regions) their parks would fit in. Then students can place the parks on the maps.

  • After identifying the assigned parks, have students research the remaining national parks in their region. Students can then be assigned to find photos of the other parks that depict the uniqueness of each park for inclusion on a class map of all the parks.

  • Additional student research ideas could have students each choose a different park that they could research to find out its history, its geography, its impact on the local economy (i.e. does the area depend on the park for tourism dollars), etc.

References for photos included in this example. (Be careful not to include identifying information on the photos chosen and don’t put them in any kind of order that might be easily figured out – i.e. east to west or vice versa.)

Map of the US with all 58 national parks tabbed: - MapQuest National Parks website


Denali National Park - Mrs. H.C. Parker at Mt. McKinley - Climbing Mt. McKinley - View of Mt. McKinley from 20 miles away

Volcanoes National Park - Rock shoulder work c. 1931-1932 - Franklin Delano Roosevelt at the rim of Halemaumau Crater – July 1934 - Volcanoes National Park – 2008


Mount Rainier National Park - Mount Rainier – 1925 - The Mountain from Indian Henry’s Hunting Ground (National Park Service Photo) - Mount Rainier - Capable of creating its own weather (National Park Service Photo)

Yosemite National Park - Half Dome: Yosemite National Park (1922) - Yosemite Falls in Reflection (c.1906) - The famous Wawona tunnel tree and stage coach (c.1905) - Giant Sequoia with Cabin

Grand Canyon National Park - Grand Canyon of Arizona through the fog North Elevation of Dead Indian Canyon Bridge – Visitors by the Colorado River (1906) – National Park Service Photo

Mesa Verde National Park - Cliff Palace (c.1911) - Balcony House (c.1918) - Cliff Palace (c.1917)

Rocky Mountain National Park - Mountains in Rocky Mountain National Park (btwn 1909 and 1932) - Long’s Peak and Big Run from Black Canon (btween 1909 and 1932) - Mule Deer in Rocky (July-August 1937)

Arches National Park - West Elevation Entrance to Arches NP - Balanced Rock at Main Entrance Facing South – Foggy morning at Turret Arch – National Park Service Photo


Glacier National Park - Glacier Park and Many Glacier Hotel (c.1921) Glacier National Park (2005) - Stark Peak and Waterfalls (c.1919) - Harrison Glacier (between 1909 and 1932

Yellowstone National Park - President Roosevelt at Liberty Cap (c.1903) - Yellowstone Roads and Bridges, Gate in Gardiner, MT - Old Faithful in Action (1883) - Great Falls of the Yellowstone, 360 feet (1883) - Mammoth Hot Springs, Top of Pulpits (c.1892)
Tennessee & North Carolina

Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Sugarlands Overlook with Gatlinburg in the distance (1996) - Steel Girder Bridge, Gatlinburg, TN (1996) - Autumn on Heintooga Ridge Road (National Park Service Downloadable Photo)

Acadia National Park - Thunder Hole, Bar Harbor (1994) - Ship Harbor Wave (National Park Service Photo) - Acadia Dam (National Park Service Photo)

Everglades National Park - Great egret (National Park Service Photograph - Mangrove (National Park Service Photograph) - Road through the Pinelands (National Park Service Photograph

mrs. h.c. parker at mt. mckinley

climbing mt. mckinley

view of mt. mckinley from twenty miles away

1. rock shoulder work. from loose photographs collection. c. 1931-1932. - hawaii volcanoes national park roads, volcano, hawaii county, hi

3. franklin delano roosevelt at the rim of halemaumau crafter. from superintendent\'s monthly report, july 1934. - hawaii volcanoes national park roads, volcano, hawaii county, hi

volcanoes national park, hawaii

c:\users\linda\documents\2014\loc\national parks pd\mt. ranier np\the mountain from indian henry\'s hunting ground - nps.jpg

c:\users\linda\documents\2014\loc\national parks pd\yosemite national park\half dome - 1922.jpg

c:\users\linda\documents\2014\loc\national parks pd\yosemite national park\yosemite fall in reflection - 1906.jpg

c:\users\linda\documents\2014\loc\national parks pd\yosemite national park\the famous wawona tunnel tree and stage coach.jpg

c:\users\linda\documents\2014\loc\national parks pd\grand canyon national park\grand canyon of arizona through the fog.jpg

c:\users\linda\documents\2014\loc\national parks pd\grand canyon national park\dead indian canyon bridge.jpg

c:\users\linda\documents\2014\loc\national parks pd\grand canyon national park\early visitors by the colorado river.jpg

c:\users\linda\documents\2014\loc\national parks pd\mesa verde np\cliff palace at mesa verde.jpg

c:\users\linda\documents\2014\loc\national parks pd\mesa verde np\balcony house - c. 1918.jpg

c:\users\linda\documents\2014\loc\national parks pd\mesa verde np\cliff palace - 1917.jpg

c:\users\linda\documents\2014\loc\national parks pd\rocky mountain np\rocky mountains in rocky mountain national park.jpg

c:\users\linda\documents\2014\loc\national parks pd\rocky mountain np\long\'s peak and big run from black canon.jpg

c:\users\linda\documents\2014\loc\national parks pd\rocky mountain np\mule deer in rocky.jpg

c:\users\linda\documents\2014\loc\national parks pd\arches np\west entrance elevation to arches np.jpg

c:\users\linda\documents\2014\loc\national parks pd\arches np\balanced rock.jpg

c:\users\linda\documents\2014\loc\national parks pd\arches np\foggy morning at turret arch.jpg

c:\users\linda\documents\2014\loc\national parks pd\arches np\glacier park and many glacier hotel.jpg

c:\users\linda\documents\2014\loc\national parks pd\glacier national park\glacier national park.jpg

c:\users\linda\documents\2014\loc\national parks pd\glacier national park\stark peak and waterfalls.jpg

c:\users\linda\documents\2014\loc\national parks pd\glacier national park\harrison glacier.jpg

c:\users\linda\documents\2014\loc\national parks pd\yellowstone np\president roosevelt at liberty cap.jpg

c:\users\linda\documents\2014\loc\national parks pd\yellowstone np\park arch in gardiner mt.jpg

c:\users\linda\documents\2014\loc\national parks pd\yellowstone np\old faithful in action.jpg

c:\users\linda\documents\2014\loc\national parks pd\yellowstone np\great falls of the yellowstone, 360 feet.jpg
c:\users\linda\documents\2014\loc\national parks pd\yellowstone np\mammoth terrace.jpg

c:\users\linda\documents\2014\loc\national parks pd\great smoky mountains np\smoky mountains overlook tn.jpg

c:\users\linda\documents\2014\loc\national parks pd\great smoky mountains np\bridge over river with falls 1996.jpg

c:\users\linda\documents\2014\loc\national parks pd\great smoky mountains np\autumn on heintooga road.jpg

c:\users\linda\documents\2014\loc\national parks pd\acadia national park\thunder hole view shed on park loop road at thunder hole.jpg

c:\users\linda\documents\2014\loc\national parks pd\acadia national park\ship harbor wave.jpg

c:\users\linda\documents\2014\loc\national parks pd\acadia national park\acadia dam.jpg

c:\users\linda\documents\2014\loc\national parks pd\everglades national park\great egret in the everglades.jpg

c:\users\linda\documents\2014\loc\national parks pd\everglades national park\mangroves.jpg

c:\users\linda\documents\2014\loc\national parks pd\everglades national park\road_through_pinelands_before_1928_(cropped).jpg

Directory: tps
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tps -> Original text by David Lowe and Paul Hawke
tps -> Welcome to muet 3020 "Popular Music in American Culture" Dr. Thomas Sovík

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