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Teacher Feature

Bald Eagle Biography

Overview

Students will learn more about the bald eagle and its habitat.  Using the 2008 Bald Eagle Commemorative Half-Dollar as a starting point, students will identify key facts about the bald eagle and its importance as a national symbol.

Activity

After reading March 2008 Coin of the Month, ask the students to discuss and summarize the information in small groups.  Students should be able to identify when the bald eagle was chosen as the central figure in the Great Seal of the United States and who chose it.  Ask students explain why they think the bald eagle is an important symbol to the United States.  Ask students to think of examples of where the bald eagle is visible in American society (e.g. money stamps, state flags, etc.).

Explain to students that they will now be researching and drafting a biography of the bald eagle.  Student groups will look up information about the bald eagle and create a poster board that highlights the habitat and history of the bald eagle.  Students should find information about where the bald eagle lives, what it eats, what it looks like, and one example of a public image that features the bald eagle.  In addition ask students to locate on government seal that the bald eagle is featured on and explain why they think this government agency has chosen to use the bald eagle.

Students should record the information and images on a poster board that can then be presented and displayed in the classroom.  Ask students to explain what they found and why they feel the bald eagle has remained a symbol of democracy in American society.

Extension

Have students locate and research other symbols featured on U.S. coins.  This can include the Statue of Liberty, wheat, and the olive branch.  Ask students why they think these symbols have been used and what these symbols represent.  Ask students to think of examples of symbols they would feature on coins to represent democracy, freedom, strength, and courage.

Standards Reflected

The project described above reflects some of the national standards of learning as defined by the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), the National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE), and the International Society for Technology in Education.  These standards are listed below:

Social Studies Standards

    Time, Continuity, and Change:  Students learn about the history of the bald eagle as a symbol of democracy in American society

Science Standards

    Life Science:  Students identify the habitat and key facts about the bald eagle.



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