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Teacher Feature

Teacher Feature

A Tale of Two Trees


Students will use the Great Basin National Park quarter to learn about characteristics of the Bristlecone Pine tree and compare it to a tree native to their area.


Display the Great Basin National Park quarter coloring page or use the quarter's coin zoom feature to display details of the coin image.

Tell the students the Great Basin National Park quarter features a single Bristlecone Pine tree and shows the kind of rocky glacial moraine (ridge or mound of gravel, sand and clay left by a glacier) where the trees grow.  Bristlecones grow at high elevations in the park and are among the world's oldest trees, some older than 4,000 years.

Display the June Coin of the Month and read it as a class.  Visit the Great Basin National Park Web site to see more images and to research details about the Bristlecone Pine tree.  Have students record their findings on chart paper.

Discuss trees native to your area.  Create a list, select one and have the students provide characteristics of the tree and benefits it provides to the environment, people and animals.  Record the students' responses on chart paper.

Using a graphic organizer, have the students compare and contrast characteristics, specifics and benefits of the Bristlecone and the tree native to their area.  Discuss as a class.  Have the students write a summary and create illustrations to compare the two trees.

As an extension, have the students create a multimedia presentation highlighting what they've learned to share with others.

Make a Connection

Have students research the history and specifics the Charter Oak featured on the Connecticut quarter.

Have students research specifics of Maple trees, one of the items featured on the Vermont quarter.

Be sure to use the America the Beautiful Quarters® Program to explore the rich history of our national sites with your students.  We have more than 65 America the Beautiful quarters lesson plans for grades K through 12 that you can download for free.

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