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America the Beautiful Quarters® Program
Lesson Plan Starters

Grades 9 through 12

Objectives

To explore the rich history and environment of national sites using the United States Mint's America the Beautiful Quarters® Program.

Honoring Battles of the Past

Subject Area

Language Arts, Social Studies

Summary

Read about the battles at Vicksburg and Gettysburg and design a modern-day monument to the men who fought in these battles. Include a detailed drawing of your monument along with a meaningful inscription.  Include key points of the battles reinforcing the reason for your design.  Write a persuasive letter to the National Park Service telling why your monument should be built at one of these parks.

National Sites Careers

Subject Areas

Language Arts

Summary

What education or experience would you need in order to apply for a job at one of our national sites? Many talented people work at a wide variety of jobs in our national sites every day.  Research some of these unique jobs, such as geologist, hydrologist, historian, and botanist.  Create a spreadsheet of occupations from the national sites (usajobs.gov gives some of the specific requirements) and show what classes/majors or work experience are required to pursue these occupations.  Create a sample resume detailing sample education and job experience that would make someone a good candidate for one of the positions.

Civilian Conservation Corps

Subject Areas

Language Arts, Social Studies

Summary

Become a historian and create a presentation that highlights the Civilian Conservation Corps, the “Men Who Built the Parks.“ View the Platt Historic District and the “remarkable and inviting landscape….whose features reflect the hard work of young men.”   Present the legacy and history of this special group of men and why they're so important to Chickasaw National Park.

Natural Defense

Subject Areas

Language Arts, Social Studies

Summary

Demonstrate how natural resources were beneficial to the military in the 1800s.  Visit the Vicksburg National Park site to learn more.  Create a diagram depicting the resources that can be found in Vicksburg that played a role in the American Civil War Battle of Vicksburg.  Write a detailed summary explaining how the natural resources became an effective defense strategy and a “natural link” between nature and the soldiers.

Gettysburg Twist

Subject Areas

Language Arts, Social Studies

Summary

Locate a copy of the Gettysburg Address.  Read and, if possible, listen to this famous speech.  Analyze the speech and summarize Abraham Lincoln's main points.  Talk about its importance to the famous battle.  Present your findings in class.

Go 3-D

Subject Area

Language Arts, Science

Summary

Choose a national site from among the 2011 quarters and learn about the flora, various landscapes, and natural resources that can be found there.  Create a pop-up picture book with a catchy title.  Your target audience will be young students, focusing on kids in grades K through 3.  The audience should enjoy the 3-D aspect, learn more about the environment, and appreciate nature by reading your book.  You also need to look for an unexpected fact from the site that can be an added surprise for your readers.

Walk with Me

Subject Areas

Language Arts, Social Studies

Summary

Visit the Gettysburg National Military Park (or the park's Web site) and take the gallery walk through the David Wills House.  Learn about its historical importance in the story of Lincoln and the Gettysburg Address.  Create a multimedia presentation to take viewers back in time and learn more about this special house.

Game Time

Subject Areas

All

Summary

Visit the Web sites of national sites and gather some fun facts and trivia about our national parks based on images found on America the Beautiful Quarters.  Learn about famous people, landmarks, natural resources, flora, and fauna, and then create a trivia-based board game to show off what you learned.

Conserve and Preserve

Subject Areas

Language Arts, Science

Summary

Our national sites preserve what we have today for tomorrow's visitors.  Contact and interview a scientist or ranger who works at one of the national sites to find out what our national sites are doing to conserve and preserve their nature and beauty for the future.  To tell us all about your findings, write a magazine article that gives the details of your research.  Design a colorful, attention-grabbing cover for the magazine, encouraging readers to read your article.

Natural Resources

Subject Area

Language Arts, Science

Summary

Our national sites are home to many beautiful natural resources and ecosystems.  Research your top 10 site choices and create a multimedia presentation highlighting each site and its resources using striking images, background music, and narration or captions.

Landscape Changes

Subject Areas

Science

Summary

Earth is always changing, a situation that's clear in places like Glacier National Park.  The park is named for its glacier-carved terrain and actual glaciers descended from ice ages of 10,000 years ago.  To demonstrate the geological process that helped define the park, research the park's geological landscape and create an interactive demonstration and a timeline showing how the glaciers have receded over the years.  Highlight the different causes of this effect.

Past and Present

Subject Areas

Language Arts, Social Studies

Summary

Research items from the past in the virtual museums at five of the national sites.  Choose 5 to 7 museum pieces that you feel best symbolize those national sites in the past.  Then select 5 to 7 modern items that you feel best represent the natural beauty and special features of those sites today.  Recreate the historic items and present them using the medium of your choice.  Design a time capsule to house them and explain where the time capsule should be buried.  Create a visual presentation showing both the historic and modern items so tomorrow's public has a better understanding of what makes our national sites so special.

Take Us There

Subject Area

Language Arts, Science, Social Studies

Summary

Be the expert! Research one of the national sites shown on an America the Beautiful Quarter and prepare a history lesson.  Present the highlights of the site and its history, people, and natural beauty.  Include information about why it became a national site, what the land is like, and what makes it such a special place to visit.  Design a brochure and include a timeline of the site's development in your presentation.

Move It!

Subject Areas

Language Arts

Summary

There are many ways people can enjoy our national sites.  Getting outside and viewing beautiful scenery, learning about our history, and seeing various plants and animals are just a few.  Research to learn more about the various recreational activities available at five national sites and create a “move it” brochure and billboard encouraging people get out and walk, bike, hike, and otherwise move through the sites.

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 websites 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.

Related Links


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