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Land of the Midnight Sun: Denali National Park and Preserve

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Summary

Students will demonstrate an understanding of the sun and how hours of daylight change depending on the Earth’s location and season. Students will describe the effects of these variations.

Coin Type(s)

  • Quarter

Coin Program(s)

  • America The Beautiful Quarters

Objectives

  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of the sun and how hours of daylight change depending on the Earth’s location and season.
  • Students will describe the effects of these variations.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Science

Minor/supporting Subject Area Connections

  • Language Arts

Grades

  • Second grade
  • Third grade

Class Time

Sessions: One
Session Length: 30-45 minutes
Total Length: 0-45 minutes

Groupings

  • Whole group
  • Individual work

Terms and Concepts

  • Rotation
  • Revolution
  • Seasons

Materials

  • Text about Alaska
  • Writing tools
  • Basketball
  • Flashlight

Preparations

Worksheets and Files

Lesson plan, worksheet(s), and rubric (if any) at www.usmint.gov/kids/teachers/lessonPlans/pdf/102.pdf.

  1. Display and examine the Denali National Park quarter design. Locate this site on a class map. As background information, explain to the students that the United States Mint began to issue the quarters in the America the Beautiful Quarters® Program in 2010. By the time the program ends in 2021, there will be a total of 56 designs on the back of the coin. Each design will focus on a different national site—one from each state, territory, and the District of Columbia.
  2. Read aloud the chosen text on Alaska. Brainstorm reasons why days can be so long in Alaska.
  3. Tell the students that Alaska is called “the land of the midnight sun” because there is a time of year when the daylight lasts all night and there is also a time of year when it is light outside for only short periods. Demonstrate how the days can be short or long using a flashlight and basketball to represent the Earth rotating around the sun.
  4. Read the students a text about the sun. Discuss the effects that the Earth’s position in relation to the sun has on both day and night. Share some examples with the students. Discuss how this affects the Dahl sheep and other animals that are found in Alaska.
  5. Introduce the students to the “Life in the Midnight Sun” worksheet. Review the directions together.
  6. Have the students complete the “Life in the Midnight Sun” worksheets and present them to the class.
There are no modification options for this lesson plan.
  • Take anecdotal notes about the students’ participation in class discussions.
  • Evaluate the students’ worksheets and projects for understanding of the lesson objectives.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.3 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 3
Cluster: Text Types and Purposes
Standards:

  • W.3.1. Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons.
    • Introduce the topic or text they are writing about, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure that lists reasons.
    • Provide reasons that support the opinion.
    • Use linking words and phrases (e.g., because, therefore, since, for example) to connect opinion and reasons.
    • Provide a concluding statement or section.
  • W.3.2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
    • Introduce a topic and group related information together; include illustrations when useful to aiding comprehension.
    • Develop the topic with facts, definitions, and details.
    • Use linking words and phrases (e.g., also, another, and, more, but) to connect ideas within categories of information.
    • Provide a concluding statement or section.
  • W.3.3. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.
    • Establish a situation and introduce a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally.
    • Use dialogue and descriptions of actions, thoughts, and feelings to develop experiences and events or show the response of characters to situations.
    • Use temporal words and phrases to signal event order.
    • Provide a sense of closure.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.2 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 3
Cluster: Text Types and Purposes
Standards:

  • W.2.1. Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply reasons that support the opinion, use linking words (e.g., because, and, also) to connect opinion and reasons, and provide a concluding statement or section.
  • W.2.2. Write informative/explanatory texts in which they introduce a topic, use facts and definitions to develop points, and provide a concluding statement or section.
  • W.2.3. Write narratives in which they recount a well-elaborated event or short sequence of events, include details to describe actions, thoughts, and feelings, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide a sense of closure.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: L.2 Language
Grade(s): Grade 3
Cluster: Conventions of Standard English
Standards:

  • L.2.1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
    • Use collective nouns (e.g., group).
    • Form and use frequently occurring irregular plural nouns (e.g., feet, children, teeth, mice, fish).
    • Use reflexive pronouns (e.g., myself, ourselves)
    • Form and use the past tense of frequently occurring irregular verbs (e.g., sat, hid, told).
    • Use adjectives and adverbs, and choose between them depending on what is to be modified.
    • Produce, expand, and rearrange complete simple and compound sentences (e.g., The boy watched the movie; The little boy watched the movie; The action movie was watched by the little boy).
  • L.2.2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
    • Capitalize holidays, product names, and geographic names.
    • Use commas in greetings and closings of letters.
    • Use an apostrophe to form contractions and frequently occurring possessives.
    • Generalize learned spelling patterns when writing words (e.g., cage --> badge; boy --> boil).
    • Consult reference materials, including beginning dictionaries, as needed to check and correct spellings.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: L.3 Language
Grade(s): Grade 3
Cluster: Conventions of Standard English
Standards:

  • L.3.1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
    • Explain the function of nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs in general and their functions in particular sentences.
    • Form and use regular and irregular plural nouns.
    • Use abstract nouns (e.g., childhood).
    • Form and use regular and irregular verbs.
    • Form and use the simple (e.g., I walked; I walk; I will walk) verb tenses.
    • Ensure subject-verb and pronoun-antecedent agreement.
    • Form and use comparative and superlative adjectives and adverbs, and choose between them depending on what is to be modified.
    • Use coordinating and subordinating conjunctions.
    • Produce simple, compound, and complex sentences.
  • L.3.2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
    • Capitalize appropriate words in titles.
    • Use commas in addresses.
    • Use commas and quotation marks in dialogue.
    • Form and use possessives.
    • Use conventional spelling for high-frequency and other studied words and for adding suffixes to base words (e.g., sitting, smiled, cries, happiness).
    • Use spelling patterns and generalizations (e.g., word families, position-based spellings, syllable patterns, ending rules, meaningful word parts) in writing words.
    • Consult reference materials, including beginning dictionaries, as needed to check and correct spellings.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: SL.2 Speaking and Listening
Grade(s): Grade 3
Cluster: Comprehension and Collaboration
Standards:

  • SL.2.1. Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 2 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
    • Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., gaining the floor in respectful ways, listening to others with care, speaking one at a time about the topics and texts under discussion).
    • Build on others’ talk in conversations by linking their comments to the remarks of others.
    • Ask for clarification and further explanation as needed about the topics and texts under discussion.
  • SL.2.2. Recount or describe key ideas or details from a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.
  • SL.2.3. Ask and answer questions about what a speaker says in order to clarify comprehension, gather additional information, or deepen understanding of a topic or issue. 

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: SL.2 Speaking and Listening
Grade(s): Grade 3
Cluster: Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas
Standards:

  • SL.2.4. Tell a story or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking audibly in coherent sentences.
  • SL.2.5. Create audio recordings of stories or poems; add drawings or other visual displays to stories or recounts of experiences when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.
  • SL.2.6. Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification. (See grade 2 Language standards 1 and 3 for specific expectations.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: All Language Arts Standards
Cluster: Applying Knowledge to Language
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

  • Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: All Language Arts Standards
Cluster: Use of Spoken, Written, and Visual Language
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

  • Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: All Language Arts Standards
Cluster: Applying Strategies to Writing
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

  • Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.