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Rainforest Writers

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Summary

Students will identify the characteristics of a tropical rainforest. Students will use reading skills and the letter writing process to display and deepen their understanding.

Coin Type(s)

  • Quarter

Coin Program(s)

  • DC and Territory Quarters

Objectives

  • Students will identify the characteristics of a tropical rainforest.
  • Students will use reading skills and the letter writing process to display and deepen their understanding.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Science
  • Social Studies

Minor/supporting Subject Area Connections

  • Language Arts

Grades

  • Second grade
  • Third grade

Class Time

Sessions: Three
Session Length: 30-45 minutes
Total Length: 121-150 minutes

Groupings

  • Whole group
  • Individual work

Background Knowledge

Students should have a basic knowledge of:

  • Τhe writing process
  • Main idea and details
  • Flora and fauna

Terms and Concepts

  • Quarter
  • Obverse (front)
  • Reverse (back)
  • Territory
  • Island
  • Endangered
  • Rainforest

Materials

  • 1 overhead projector (optional)
  • 1 overhead transparency (or photocopy) of the following:
    • “Puerto Rico Quarter Reverse” page
    • “Tropical Rainforest Topics” worksheet
    • “Unique El Yunque” page
    • “Unique El Yunque” worksheet
    • “Unique El Yunque” key
    • “Friendly Forest Letter” worksheet
  • Copies of the following:
    • “Tropical Rainforest Topics” worksheet
    • “Unique El Yunque” page
    • “Unique El Yunque” worksheet
    • “Unique El Yunque” key
    • “Forest Friendly Letter” worksheet
  • 1 class map of the United States
  • 1 copy of a text that includes general information about Puerto Rico, such as:
    • Puerto Rico (True Books-Geography) by Elaine Landau
    • Puerto Rico (Ticket To) by Jo Ann Milivojevic
    • A–Z Puerto Rico by Jeff Reynolds
    • U.S. Atlas for Young People by Tom Smith
  • 1 copy of a text that gives information about rainforests, such as:
    • Rainforests: An Activity Guide for Ages 6–9 by Nancy F. Castaldo
    • A Walk in the Rainforest by Kristin Joy Pratt
    • Tropical Rainforest by Donald M. Silver
  • Chart paper
  • Markers
  • Construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue or paste

Preparations

  • Make an overhead transparency (or photocopy) of the following:
    • “Puerto Rico Quarter Reverse” page
    • “Tropical Rainforest Topics” worksheet
    • “Unique El Yunque” page
    • “Unique El Yunque” worksheet
    • “Friendly Forest Letter” worksheet
  • Make copies of the following:
    • “Tropical Rainforest Topics” worksheet (one per student)
    • “Unique El Yunque” page (one per student)“Unique El Yunque” worksheet (one per student)
    • “Forest Friendly Letter” worksheet (one per student)
  • Locate a text that gives information about Puerto Rico (see examples under “Materials”).
  • Locate a text that gives information about rainforests (see examples under “Materials”).

Worksheets and Files

Lesson plan, worksheet(s), and rubric (if any) at www.usmint.gov/kids/teachers/lessonPlans/pdf/146.pdf.

Session 1

  1. Describe the 50 State Quarters® Program and the District of Columbia and U.S. Territories Quarters Program for background information, if necessary, using the example of your own state’s or territory’s quarter. Then display the “Puerto Rico quarter reverse” overhead transparency or photocopy. Locate Puerto Rico on a classroom map. Note its position in relation to your school’s location.
  2. When defining “US territory” (lowercase “t”) for your students, the United States Mint recognizes and uses the Department of the Interior’s definitions found at www.doi.gov/oia/Islandpages/political_types.htm.
  3. Ask the students to examine the coin image and tell you what they see. List their responses on chart paper. Explain to the students that the guard tower represents the stone walls and forts built long ago in Puerto Rico as protection from attacks. Explain that the flower in the design is the Puerto Rico hibiscus, the national flower of Puerto Rico, which can be found growing in forests in Puerto Rico.
  4. Ask the students to share what they may already know about Puerto Rico. List their responses on chart paper.
  5. Introduce the students to the selected text about Puerto Rico. During the brief reading, add information about Puerto Rico to the chart as it is presented.
  6. After the reading, review the charted information about Puerto Rico. Note any mention of Puerto Rico’s rainforests, flora, or fauna. Tell the students that Puerto Rico is home to El Yunque (el YOON-kay) National Forest, a tropical rainforest.
  7. Introduce the students to the selected text about rainforests. As a group, preview the text. Display the “Tropical Rainforest Topics” overhead transparency. Briefly review the directions so the students will be prepared to complete the worksheet after listening to the selected text. During the reading, attend to any unfamiliar vocabulary and concepts.
  8. Make sure to discuss the unique features of rainforests, specifically of tropical rainforests.
  9. Distribute a “Tropical Rainforest Topics” worksheet to each of the students. Allow the students time to complete the worksheet.
  10. Explain to the students that in the next session they will be learning about two unique animals found in El Yunque National Forest.

Sessions 2 and 3

  1. Display the transparency of the Puerto Rico quarter reverse. Review with the students the material collected about Puerto Rico in the previous session.
  2. Review the “Tropical Rainforest Topics” worksheet and the information about rainforests covered in the previous session. Ask the students what animals might live in a rainforest. Record student ideas on an overhead transparency or on chart paper.
  3. Explain to the students that they will be reading about two unique animals that live in El Yunque National Forest.
  4. Distribute a “Unique El Yunque” page and a “Unique El Yunque” worksheet to each student. Display and preview the “Unique El Yunque” worksheet overhead transparency.
  5. Display the “Unique El Yunque” page overhead transparency. As class, read about the two unique animals that live in the El Yunque National Forest. While reading, have the students answer the questions on the worksheet.
  6. After reading the “Unique El Yunque” page, have the students share what they have written on the worksheet.
  7. Distribute a “Forest Friendly Letter” worksheet to each of the students and review the directions. Display the “Forest Friendly Letter” overhead transparency as an example and review the writing process and components of a letter with the students. Have the students complete the worksheet by writing a friendly letter about El Yunque National Forest.
  8. Allow the students time to complete the “Forest Friendly Letter” worksheet. Have the students cut out their friendly letter and paste it onto colorful construction paper.
  9. Display the letters around the room.

Differentiated Learning Options

  • Allow students to work in pairs to complete the reading guides.
  • Provide a scripted friendly letter format for students.
  • Allow students to dictate their written responses.

Enrichments/Extensions

Use the students’ class participation, worksheets, and final products to evaluate whether they have met the lesson objectives.

There are no related resources for this lesson plan.

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: 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: 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: 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: SL.3 Speaking and Listening
Grade(s): Grade 3
Cluster: Comprehension and Collaboration
Standards:

  • SL.3.1. Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
    • Come to discussions prepared, having read or studied required material; explicitly draw on that preparation and other information known about the topic to explore ideas under discussion.
    • 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).
    • Ask questions to check understanding of information presented, stay on topic, and link their comments to the remarks of others.
    • Explain their own ideas and understanding in light of the discussion.
  • SL.3.2. Determine the main ideas and supporting details of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
  • SL.3.3. Ask and answer questions about information from a speaker, offering appropriate elaboration and detail.
  • SL.3.4. Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.
  • SL.3.5. Create engaging audio recordings of stories or poems that demonstrate fluid reading at an understandable pace; add visual displays when appropriate to emphasize or enhance certain facts or details.
  • SL.3.6. Speak in complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification. (See grade 3 Language standards 1 and 3 here for specific expectations.) 

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.2 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 3
Cluster: Key Ideas and Details
Standards:

  • RI.2.1. Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.
  • RI.2.2. Identify the main topic of a multi-paragraph text as well as the focus of specific paragraphs within the text.
  • RI.2.3. Describe the connection between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text. 

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.2 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 3
Cluster: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
Standards:

  • RI.2.7. Explain how specific images (e.g., a diagram showing how a machine works) contribute to and clarify a text.
  • RI.2.8. Describe how reasons support specific points the author makes in a text.
  • RI.2.9. Compare and contrast the most important points presented by two texts on the same topic.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.2 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 3
Cluster: Craft and Structure
Standards:

  • RI.2.4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 2 topic or subject area.
  • RI.2.5. Know and use various text features (e.g., captions, bold print, subheadings, glossaries, indexes, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text efficiently.
  • RI.2.6. Identify the main purpose of a text, including what the author wants to answer, explain, or describe.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.3 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 3
Cluster: Craft and Structure
Standards:

  • RI.3.4. Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 3 topic or subject area.
  • RI.3.5. Use text features and search tools (e.g., key words, sidebars, hyperlinks) to locate information relevant to a given topic efficiently.
  • RI.3.6. Distinguish their own point of view from that of the author of a text.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.3 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 3
Cluster: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
Standards:

  • RI.3.7. Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur).
  • RI.3.8. Describe the logical connection between particular sentences and paragraphs in a text (e.g., comparison, cause/effect, first/second/third in a sequence).
  • RI.3.9. Compare and contrast the most important points and key details presented in two texts on the same topic.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.3 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 3
Cluster: Key Ideas and Details
Standards:

  • RI.3.1. Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.
  • RI.3.2. Determine the main idea of a text; recount the key details and explain how they support the main idea.
  • RI.3.3. Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.2 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 3
Cluster: Research to Build and Present Knowledge
Standards:

  • W.2.7. Participate in shared research and writing projects (e.g., read a number of books on a single topic to produce a report; record science observations).
  • W.2.8. Recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.
  • W.2.9. begins in grade 4.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.2 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 3
Cluster: Production and Distribution of Writing
Standards:

  • W.2.4. begins in grade 3.
  • W.2.5. With guidance and support from adults and peers, focus on a topic and strengthen writing as needed by revising and editing.
  • W.2.6. With guidance and support from adults, use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.3 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 3
Cluster: Research to Build and Present Knowledge
Standards:

  • W.3.7. Conduct short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.
  • W.3.8. Recall information from experiences or gather information from print and digital sources; take brief notes on sources and sort evidence into provided categories.
  • W.3.9. begins in grade 4.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.3 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 3
Cluster: Production and Distribution of Writing
Standards:

  • W.3.4. With guidance and support from adults, produce writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task and purpose. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3.)
  • W.3.5. With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of Language standards 1-3 up to and including grade 3.)
  • W.3.6. With guidance and support from adults, use technology to produce and publish writing (using keyboarding skills) as well as to interact and collaborate with others.

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: Science
Domain: K-4 Content Standards
Cluster: Life Science
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

  • Characteristics of organisms
  • Life cycles of organisms
  • Organisms and environments

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.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: All Language Arts Standards
Cluster: Effective Communication
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

  • Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.

Discipline: Social Studies
Domain: All Thematic Standards
Cluster: People, Places, and Environment
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

Teachers should:

  • Enable learners to use, interpret, and distinguish various representations of Earth such as maps, globes, and photographs, and to use appropriate geographic tools
  • Encourage learners to construct, use, and refine maps and mental maps, calculate distance, scale, area, and density, and organize information about people, places, regions, and environments in a spatial context
  • Help learners to locate, distinguish, and describe the relationships among varying regional and global patterns of physical systems such as landforms, climate, and natural resources, and explain changes in the physical systems
  • Guide learners in exploring characteristics, distribution, and migration of human populations on Earth’s surface
  • Have learners describe how people create places that reflect culture, human needs, current values and ideals, and government policies
  • Provide opportunities for learners to examine, interpret, and analyze interactions of human beings and their physical environments, and to observe and analyze social and economic effects of environmental changes, both positive and negative
  • Challenge learners to consider, compare, and evaluate existing uses of resources and land in communities, regions, countries, and the world
  • Direct learners to explore ways in which Earth’s physical features have changed over time, and describe and assess ways historical events have influenced and been influenced by physical and human geographic features

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