Looking to take a break from your textbook, but still have students learn? Look no further than becoming a National Park Jr. Ranger. AND the best part is that you can complete all the work from within the 4 walls of your classroom.
It is easy to tie the parks into what you are already teaching. Here are some simple ways to incorporate the parks into your lessons:
- Science- glaciers, volcanoes, and animals
- Social Studies- regions of the country (pick one park per region)
- Reading- find a connection between a story or novel you are reading to one of the parks
Once you have an idea of how to connect your curriculum to the parks, follow these steps to becoming Jr. Rangers.
- Pick a park and check their website for the Jr. Ranger packet. This can typically be found under “Learn about the Park” and “Kids and Youth”. While many parks were offering remote Jr. Ranger badges well before COVID-19, many more are offering them today. Be sure to check that the park you selected has their packet online. If they don’t, you can always reach out to the park directly (via their website or Facebook) to see if they can send you the packet.
- Compile a list of resources your students can use to complete their packet. Since you won’t be physically going to the park it is important to have a variety of resources for students to use. Here are some of my favorites:
- Once your students have completed the packet it is time to mail them in! I always check over the packets to make sure students have completed all the required work. Most parks will have a certain number of pages a child must complete based on their age.
- Then the waiting game begins. Sometimes you have to wait just a week or two, other times it may take months to get your packets back. At some of the smaller parks the rangers will actually go through each packet and make comments (fun ones) back to students. When you receive the packets back, students will also receive their badge. We always have a swearing in ceremony for students and then they wear their badges with pride.
I hope this gives you some insight on how to become a Jr. Ranger with your students. I have been doing this for years and it never fails to excite my students!
And if you are really getting into the national parks, be sure to grab my FREE history of the national parks activities here!