Ken Burns Classroom

Expanding the Mission: Historical Parks

Ken Burns Film: The National Parks

Collections: Emergence of Modern America (1890-1930)

Subject: Science

Grade Level: 6-10

Run Time: 1 class period

In 1933, Franklin Roosevelt put military battlefields, monuments, and historic sites under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service. Including historical parks in the national park system asserted that just as nature and wildlife are worth preserving, so, too, is American history.

Lead a discussion with students on what they envision when they think of national parks. Then have students locate and categorize the 42 national historical parks found at www.nps.gov. Students should identify the different types of events, activities, and people that the sites commemorate. Finally, have them identify a potential historic site in their own community, and present a persuasive argument about why that site should become a national historic park.

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