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America the Beautiful Quarters® Program
Lesson Plan Starters

Grades 7 and 8

What Do I Wear?

Subject Area

Social Studies, Art

Summary

Research the Vicksburg and Gettysburg sites depicted on the 2011 America the Beautiful Quarters® Program coins and their Civil War history. Research the style of clothing or uniform worn by soldiers during the Civil War.  Compare the kind of outfits worn then with the uniforms worn by soldiers today.  Draw some illustrations that compare the outfits or create a Venn diagram.  For example, compare the linen haversacks used during the Civil War and the rucksacks used today.

Do You Know the Answer?

Subject Area

Social studies

Summary

Research the five national sites featured on the 2011 America the Beautiful Quarters Program coins.  Write down at least five interesting and unique facts you learn about each site.  Create a game using the information that you researched.  Present the game to your class and have them actually play the game.  You may be able to use some type of multimedia software to make the game more exciting.

Scavenger

Subject Area

Social Studies

Summary

Research some facts about the national sites featured on the 2011 America the Beautiful Quarters Program coins.  Design some quick scavenger hunts where students have to go to the Web sites for the national sites to find the answers.  Create one scavenger hunt of three questions for each of the five sites.  Print the scavenger hunts out and have a competition with different groups.

Can You Climate?

Subject Areas

Science, Math

Summary

Many people visit the different national sites depicted on the America the Beautiful Quarters Program coins throughout the year.  Many people check the daily and long-range weather forecasts for the area before their visit.  “Weather” refers to the temporary conditions of the atmosphere, which changes constantly.  “Climate” is the average weather over a long period of time.  Research the climate for the national sites depicted on the 2011 quarters.  Use charts, diagrams, multimedia presentations, maps, and/or graphs to compare the climates of the five national sites.

Word Wall

Subject Area

Language Arts, Social studies

Summary

Visit the Web sites of the national sites depicted on the 2011 America the Beautiful Quarters Program coins.  Find some vocabulary words used on the sites (check the History & Culture and the Nature & Science sections) and create a word wall.  Use the words from the word wall to build your vocabulary.  Chose a word and complete a concept map using the definition, the word in a sentence, an illustration, and a synonym/antonym.

Even the Land Changes

Summary

Research some of the land features found in the national sites depicted on the 2011 America the Beautiful Quarters Program coins.  Choose one of the prominent land features for one of the sites.  Create a visual or multimedia presentation showing how the landform itself has changed in the past and how it has changed the land.  For example, how the glaciers have changed the land features at Glacier National Park.

Relationships Are Important

Subject Area

Science

Summary

Research some of the animals found in the national sites depicted on the 2011 America the Beautiful Quarters Program coins.  Research one of the animals and find the relationships among producers, consumers, and decomposers in the food webs related to that particular animal.  Create a multimedia presentation or a poster that shows the relationship between predators and prey, competition and cooperation, symbiotic relationships, and any niches the animal may fill.

Watersheds

Subject Area

Science, Art

Summary

A watershed is the land that water flows across or through on its way to a stream, lake, wetland, or other body of water.  Areas of higher elevations, such as ridgelines and divides, separate watersheds.  Find the names of the streams, rivers, and other water features that are located in the national sites depicted on the 2011 America the Beautiful Quarters Program coins.  Research the larger bodies of water these flow into.  Create a colored map to show these watersheds.  Research the importance of protecting watersheds.  Create a multimedia presentation or a public service announcement to show the natural processes and human interactions that affect watershed systems.  Research streams or rivers in your local area and determine which watershed they are part of.

People in the News

Subject Area

Language Arts, Social Studies

Summary

Research one of the people found on the Web site of a national site depicted on the 2011 quarters.  Historical people can be found by clicking on the History & Culture link on the individual Web sites.  Write a newspaper article about the person.  Remember to follow the writing process and explain who, what, when, where, and why in your article.  Submit your article to a class or school newspaper or newsletter.

A Letter Home

Subject Area

Writing, Social Studies

Summary

Imagine that you were one of the soldiers who fought in the Battle of Gettysburg or Vicksburg, two of the national sites honored on the 2011 quarters.  Research the events of the battle using the Web sites for the military parks.  Also research the daily life of soldiers at these two sites.  Write a letter home from the perspective of the soldier.  Follow the writing process as you write your letter.

Significance

Subject Area

Social Studies, Writing

Summary

The United States Mint America the Beautiful Quarters Program features designs that depict national sites.  Choose one of the 2011 quarters and research the images featured on the reverse of the coins.  Write an essay on the significance of the images on the coin.  Describe the images, explain how they represent that particular site, and tell why the site is significant.

Assessment Ideas

  • Create a rubric using the rubric template, have students create a rubric, or use your favorite rubric modified for each lesson plan idea.  Rubric categories could include historical accuracy of information, grammar and mechanics, creativity, and overall quality of presentation.  If desired, each student could create a fifth category targeting the unique attributes of his/her product.
  • While the lesson starters above are designed to be used with technology, assignments can also be written out.  Some great technology infusion ideas include creating podcasts, recording video presentations, creating student-designed Web sites to showcase student work, and making dynamic multimedia presentations.
  • Self, peer, and teacher evaluations should be used.  Have students share their work outside of class to gain additional feedback.

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