Showing posts with label Theodore Roosevelt. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Theodore Roosevelt. Show all posts

Friday, April 16, 2021

12 Good Resources for Learning About National Parks

Tomorrow is the start of National Parks week here in the United States. So I've put together the following list of resources to help students learn about individual National Parks as well as the park system on the whole. 

A Great Book About the Origins of National Parks
Years ago I was camped on the side of a mountain overlooking a beautiful valley in Grand Teton National Park when the history teacher in me came out and I said, "Thank you, Teddy Roosevelt." Roosevelt, more than any other politician, deserves credit for the creation of the U.S. National Parks system. Those who want to read more about Roosevelt's conservation efforts would do well to pick up a copy of The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America. It is by no means a quick read, but it is a great read!

TED-ED Lesson on National Parks
Last fall TED-Ed published a good lesson about national parks. The lesson explains the origins of the U.S. National Parks system and concludes with explanations of the challenges facing national parks managers around the world. The lesson also explains how parks managers try to balance access and conservation while also respecting the rights of indigenous people whose land is often included with national parks. Overall, it's a very interesting lesson that could lead to a lot of good conversations with students. 

National Parks Image Archive
The National Parks Service's Digital Image Archive is an excellent place to find images of U.S. National Parks. You can search the archive by park and or subject. All of the images are free to download as they are in the public domain. The National Parks Service also offers a b-roll video gallery. The videos in the galleries are in the public domain. The b-roll video gallery can be searched by park, monument, building, or person. All of the videos can be downloaded. Some files are quite large so keep that in mind if your school has bandwidth limits and you have all of your students searching for videos at the same time.

Google Earth Nation Parks Tours and Voyages
Google Earth offers a great way for students to view national parks in the United States and beyond. Your students can explore imagery in Google Earth to learn about the topography of a national park. In a lot of cases there is Street View imagery available within national parks and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Your students might also benefit from viewing tours within Google Earth. To locate a tour you can refine a Google search by file type to .KMZ and then launch the tours that appear in your search results.

Google Expeditions...While They Last
If you have VR headsets available to you, take a look at Google Expeditions virtual tours of the "hidden treasures" of National Parks. Unfortunately, Google Expeditions is shutting down at the end of June. 

Google Arts & Culture
National Parks collections, exhibits, and images are available in the Google Arts & Culture apps for Android and iOS. You can also view them in your web browser. Here's a collection to get you started. 

PBS Videos
Over the years PBS has produced many videos about the National Parks. You can view some of those videos in their entirety on the PBS video website. Search on the site for "national parks" and you'll have a big list of videos to view. Here's a list to get you started.

The Travel Film Archive
The Travel Film Archive is a collection of hundreds of travel films recorded between 1900 and 1970. The films were originally recorded to promote various places around the world as tourist destinations. In the archives you will find films about US National Parks, cities across the globe, and cultural events from around the world. The videos are available on The Travel Film Archive website and on YouTube.

National Parks Bingo and More Games!
Virtual National Park Bingo is a game that asks players to explore a variety of NPS webpages and external resources to complete the bingo board. One of the bingo squares requires taking a national parks virtual tour. You could do that on the NPS website or head to this Google Earth collection to tour the U.S. National Parks.

The NPS Games and Challenges collection includes games about animals and landmarks within parks, drawing and coloring pages, hands-on projects like making costumes, and virtual scavenger hunts.

The NPS games about animals are fun little guessing games in which students see a baby animal and then have to guess what it will look like when it is grown up. For example, can you tell if this is a baby mountain lion or a baby bobcat? 

The NPS Where the Park Am I? game shows you a 360 image taken within a park and you have to guess which park it was taken in. Go here and see if you can spot Acadia National Park (that's the only National Park in my state).

This post originally appeared on If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin, Today Headline, and 711Web.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Enjoy a National Park for Free This Weekend

Portions of this post originally appeared on one of my other blogs, Ed Tech Fitness.

The U.S. National Parks Service is turning 103 years old on August 25th. In recognition of the Parks Service’s birthday admission is free to all parks on the 25th. Find the National Park that is closest to you through this interactive map.

This is the third of five free entrance days that the National Park Service is offering this year. The next one is on September 28th, National Public Lands Day. The last free day of the year will be on November 11th, Veterans Day.

Share Your National Park Stories
The National Parks Service has a crowdsourcing site called Share Your Park on which park visitors can share their stories. On the Share Your Park site you can upload pictures and write short stories about your National Parks visit.

Another way to share a National Parks story is to create some panoramas for others to enjoy in their web browsers or in a virtual reality headset. In the following video I demonstrate how to use Google's Cardboard Camera app to create a panorama.

Learn About the Birth of the National Parks Service
Teddy Roosevelt was instrumental in the creation of the National Parks Service. A few years ago I read a fantastic book titled Wilderness Warrior – Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America. The book tells the story of Roosevelt’s life through the lens of his interest in wilderness and wilderness preservation. It is one of the most fascinating 900+ page books I’ve ever read.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

67 Original Short Films About Theodore Roosevelt

According to the Library of Congress Theodore Roosevelt was the first U.S. President to have large portions of his career highlights captured in motion pictures. 67 of those motion picture clips can be found on the Library of Congress YouTube channel. The clips are silent and short. Watch for the text in the clips to learn a bit about President Roosevelt. I particularly like his response to an invitation to fly in a bi-plane in this film (fast forward to the 1:04 mark to find it).

Image source: Flickr The Commons.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Be a Web Ranger and Learn About U.S. National Parks

This evening I was browsing through Flip Board when I found a neat article about the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. I quickly added it to my not-a-bucket list (a term I've picked up from my new friends Gillian and Jason). As I was reading about Theodore Roosevelt National Park I was reminded of a resource I reviewed a year ago called Web Rangers.

Web Rangers offers seven categories of games about different subjects related to the National Parks. The game categories are people, animals, parks, science, history, nature, and puzzles. Each category contains games of varying difficulty rated from easy to difficult. Some of the game topics include dendrochronology, animal tracking, animal identification, fire fighting, and map reading.

Students can play Web Rangers games as visitors or as registered users. Registered users can track their progress and earn virtual rewards. Registered users can also create their own customized virtual ranger stations.

Applications for Education
Web Rangers could be a great way for students to learn about all of the things that National Parks contain. The games also introduce players to the job functions of Park Rangers. In that regard, the game could be a "career exploration" activity of sorts. You might also use the games in conjunction with some of the National Parks system's lesson plans.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Ansel Adams's Yosemite

The New York Times has a great article and interactive feature about Ansel Adams's photography of Yosemite National Park. The interactive feature includes nine of Ansel Adams's photographs. When visitors click on a photograph it enlarges and a woman's voice narrates a short story about Adams's photography. In addition to the photographs there is an interactive map that displays the year in which and the place in the park where Adams took each photograph.

Applications for Education
This interactive feature is obviously a nice resource for art teachers. The interactive feature from The New York Times is also a great stimulus for lessons on American History. Teachers can tie in Adams's work and the development of the National Park system envisioned by Theodore Roosevelt.

Teachers looking for more lesson plan ideas about Ansel Adams should visit the PBS web page about Ansel Adams.