Honors Program Theses


Open Access Honors Program Thesis

First Advisor

Alex Oberle


National parks and reserves--Study and teaching (Elementary)--United States; National parks and reserves--Study and teaching (Middle school)--United States;


This research evaluates the effects of a curricular tool on students in a social studies and upper elementary classroom. Consisting of a text set, a compilation of varying primary and secondary resources such as letters and maps at varying reading levels, focused around an interesting central topic. The research employs text sets created for fourth and seventh grade on the topic of US national parks and focuses on the history of national parks, curricular materials already available on national parks, creation of the text sets, and the importance of disciplinary literacy and interdisciplinary connections between geography and literacy. The text sets rooted in this research were then implemented in fourth and seventh grade classrooms respectively and it was found that overall, text sets are an effective tool to increase student abilities in terms of content knowledge, opinions about national parks, and literacy skills. The research has both a conceptual and applied impact, advancing the scholarly literature at the interface of geography education/social science education and literacy, as well as providing a pilot tests, classroom-ready means for using the topic of national parks to pique student interest and enhance student’s geography content knowledge and literacy skills.

Year of Submission



Department of Geography

University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (32 pages) + 2 supplementary texts



File Format


Click below to download supplemental content.

Bettle_Grade_4_text_set.pdf (3851 kB)
Grade 4 text set - U.S. National Parks

Bettle_Grade_7_text_set.pdf (3646 kB)
Grade 7 text set - U.S. National Parks