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The Debate Over North Shore Road


This lesson activity explores the debate over the construction of North Shore Road through the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Students will study primary source images, maps and the Historic American Building Survey data pages to determine environmental impact of the North Shore Road project.


After completing this learning activity, students will be able to:

  • Investigate the impact of human activities on the environment by analyzing primary sources, including photographs, written text, and maps.
  • Form a position on an environmental issue and articulate a defense of this position.

Analyze the value of gathering information from a variety of sources

Time Required

2-3 class periods

Recommended Grade Range







C3 Standards: Geography (PDF)

Geographic Representations: Spatial Views of the World

  • D2.Geo.2.9-12.
    Use maps, satellite images, photographs, and other representations to explain relationships between the locations of places and regions and their political, cultural, and economic dynamics

Human-Environment Interaction: Place, Regions, and Culture

  • D2.Geo.4.9-12.
    Analyze relationships and interactions within and between human and physical systems to explain reciprocal influences that occur among them
  • D2.Geo.5.9-12.
    Evaluate how political and economic decisions throughout time have influenced cultural and environmental characteristics of various places and regions
  • D2.Geo.6.9-12.
    Evaluate the impact of human settlement activities on the environmental and cultural characteristics of specific places and regions

C3 Standards: Civics (PDF)

Processes, Rules, and Laws

  • D2.Civ.11.9-12.
    Evaluate multiple procedures for making governmental decisions at the local, state, national, and international levels in terms of the civic purposes achieved.
  • D2.Civ.12.9-12.
    Analyze how people use and challenge local, state, national, and international laws to address a variety of public issues.
  • D2.Civ.13.9-12.
    Evaluate public policies in terms of intended and unintended outcomes, and related consequences.
  • D2.Civ.14.9-12.
    Analyze historical, contemporary, and emerging means of changing societies, promoting the common good, and protecting rights.

Download this Learning Activity (PDF, 2.56 MB)


Teaching with Primary Sources -- Middle Tennessee State University

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