Smoky Mountains Lesson for Kids

Instructor: April DeBord

April has taught Spanish and English as a Second Language and she has her Ed. S. in Foreign Language Education.

Join Hanna as she takes a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains. You will learn why they are smoky and you will learn about the flora and fauna - the plants and animals, that is!

The Great Smoky Mountains

Hanna and her family visited the Smoky Mountains. They are located in both North Carolina and Tennessee and they contain The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. She had lots of fun and learned a lot on her visit!

Map of Great Smoky Mountains location with inset of Smoky Mountains
Great Smoky Mountains

Why is it so Foggy?

When they woke up on the first morning, Hanna ran to the window to see the mountains, but it was so foggy outside. She could barely see anything. She asked her dad why it was so foggy. He chuckled, and explained that the trees were breathing. She didn't even know that trees could breathe.

In the Smoky Mountains there are a lot of trees. When all of them breathe together it means more moisture is in the air. Her dad explained that just one oak tree could make 100 gallons of water vapor every day! Hanna thought that was a lot when she imagined 100 gallons of milk.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Hanna's family left the hotel and headed to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. When they drove to the entrance of the park, they saw a 'Watch for Elk' sign. Hanna read in a park brochure that the park had been reintroducing elk. One of the park's missions is to reintroduce many of the animals that have disappeared due to hunting, trapping and changing environments. 'Look!' her sister shouted. Hanna could see elk eating grass in a field near the park entrance. They were in the fog and it looked like a scene from a picture book she had at home.

Elk are reintroduced in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
nc elk

The Cherokee and the Land of the Blue Smoke

At the visitors' center, Hanna learned a lot about the Cherokee. These Native Americans came to the area about 1,000 years ago. They called the land Shaconagay, which means 'land of the blue smoke'. The blue smoke is really water vapor, or mist. It looks blue because of a natural chemical called a hydrocarbon in the water. When these hydrocarbons mix with the water and light hits them, it creates a bluish hue.

Animals of the Great Smoky Mountains

It was hard to see on the drive. The forest was very dense and there were a lot of trees with leaves. Hanna's sisters told her that in the summer it's hard to see wildlife because the trees are so thick. However, after about 30 minutes of driving they arrived at Clingman's Dome, a half-mile trail with great views and an observation tower. She and her family decided to take a hike.

Clingmans Dome overlook
clingmans dome

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