Madonna of the Trail and the National Road

Purpose:  To introduce students to historic roads and trails leading to Indiana, running through Indiana, and beyond.

Grade Level:  4

National Geography Standards:  1, 9, 12, 17

Indiana Social Studies Standards:  4.3.2; 4.3.8; 4.3.10; 4.4.2 (extension)

Materials Needed:

Students should…
  1. have background knowledge of Indiana counties
  2. be able to follow directions
  3. be able to locate the route of the National Road in Indiana
  4. locate the twelve states where the Madonna of the Trail monuments are located
 Part I
  1. Introduce the students to the historical map in the Indiana Atlas.
  2. Give the students background information on the National Road.
  3. Show transparency of the National Road
  4. Distribute blank Indiana county map to each student.
  5. Instruct the students to draw the route of the National Road on the map as it passes through the state using their pencil.
  6. Next, have the students to color the counties in which the road passes.
  7. Conclude part I by discussing the importance of this road and its impact to the state and nationally
Part II
  1. Show the students a picture of the Madonna of the Trail monument from the calendar or web site.
  2. Explain the history and significance of the monuments.
  3. List the twelve states where the monument is located on the board or transparency.
  4. Have students brainstorm possible locations of the monument in the state of Indiana and why.
  5. Reveal to the students Richmond as the location and why it was selected by the DAR.
  6. Distribute blank United States maps to each student.
  7. Have the students use an atlas to color the twelve states where the Madonna of the Trail monuments is located using a different color for each state.
  8. Using their pencil, have the students mark the approximate location of the each monument is each state.
 Completed maps and discussion participation.

Related Websites:
  Major cities located along the National Road
  Background information of the Madonna of the Trail
  Background info and a GREAT map of the location of the monuments
  Information about US 40 (very good)
  The making of the National Road by the historian at Conner Prairie
  More information concerning the Madonna of the Trail
  Indiana’s Madonna of the Trail monument website