Tracing the Story: Natchez to Nashville

With a mini-grant from the National Park Service, faculty and graduate students from the University of Mississippi School of Education created interactive story maps and lesson plans to bring the Natchez Trace Parkway - America’s eighth most visited national park - alive in a new and powerful way.

Through the use of the story maps, teachers and students alike explore all 444 miles of the beloved Trace from their classrooms. Teachers and students may use ESRI's ArcGIS Online for Organizations -- now available for free for educational use to all K-12 schools through the ESRI-ConnectEd program -- to view the project maps or to create their own.

In addition, the graduate students provided professional development sessions at regional social studies conferences and encouraged teachers to use ArcGIS Online for project-based learning as a means of meeting Common Core, Next Generation Science, and national geography standards. Furthermore, the lesson plans help teachers incorporate story maps and technology in the classroom in a seamless way that brings the Trace to life for students.

If you can't take your classroom to the Trace, the Trace can come to you.

For more information about the Natchez Trace Parkway - National Park, contact: Jane Farmer, Park Ranger, Interpretation Education Program and Volunteer Coordinator at

For more information about the story maps and lesson plans, contact: Dr. Ellen J. Foster, Associate Professor of Secondary Social Studies Education at