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Teacher Feature

Teacher Feature

Kiva Knowledge


Students will use the Chaco Culture National Historical Park quarter to understand the importance of kivas to the culture of ancient Southwestern peoples.


The image on the reverse of the Chaco Culture Historical Park quarter features a view of two elevated kivas that are part of the Chetro Ketl Complex.  The design also shows the north wall of Chetro Ketl and the north wall of the canyon.  Read the April Coin of the Month to see the coin and learn more.

As a class, discuss the meaning of words that pertain to this coin (kiva, archeologist, petroglyph, and pictograph).  Remind the students that kivas were often aligned with the sun and moon to track time, much like a giant calendar.  Discuss ways that this would be important to the lives of the people that lived there (planting, harvesting, and hunting).  Record the student responses on chart paper for class reference.

In small groups, have the students use available print and online resources to see photographs and find out more about kivas.

Using information from the Coin of the Month page, class discussions, and classroom resources, have the students create a kiva that could be found in the Chaco Culture National Historical Park using materials of their choice (encourage creativity).  Have the students also create a physical map of the area including longitude and latitude, scale, a compass rose, and a key.  Have the students take on the roles of tour guides and archeologists to explain the unique features of their kivas and why preserving them is important.

Make a Connection

Visit the America the Beautiful Quarter Day in the Classroom page that features Chaco Culture National Historical Park for more activities.

Invite your students to learn more about the unique features of that site's geography and natural resources through lesson plans based on the America the Beautiful Quarters® Program.  The new lesson plans for grades K through 12 are available online to download for free.

Be sure to use each quarter's lesson plans to help you explore the rich history of our national sites with your students.

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