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Super Saguaro

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Summary

Students will understand the life cycle of the saguaro cactus and identify different animals which call the saguaro home.

Coin Type(s)

  • Quarter

Coin Program(s)

  • 50 State Quarters

Objectives

Students will understand the life cycle of the saguaro cactus and identify different animals which call the saguaro home.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Science

Minor/supporting Subject Area Connections

  • Art
  • Math

Grades

  • Kindergarten
  • First grade

Class Time

Sessions: Three
Session Length: 20-30 minutes
Total Length: 46-90 minutes

Groupings

  • Whole group
  • Small groups
  • Individual work

Background Knowledge

Students should have a basic knowledge of:

  • Plants
  • Deserts, desert environment
  • Symbols

Terms and Concepts

  • Quarter
  • Life cycle
  • Saguaro cactus (plural: cacti or cactuses)
  • Obverse (front)
  • Decay
  • Reverse (back)
  • Features

Materials

  • 1 overhead projector (optional)
  • 1 overhead transparency of each of the following:
    • "Arizona Quarter Reverse" page
    • "Life Cycle of the Saguaro" page
    • "From Seed to Giant" worksheets (set of 3)
  • Copies of the following:
    • "Arizona Quarter Reverse" page
    • "Life Cycle of the Saguaro" worksheet
    • "From Seed to Giant" worksheets (set of 3 pages)
  • 1 class map of the United States
  • 1 copy of a text that gives information about the saguaro cactus. For example:
    • Cactus Hotel by Brenda Z. Guiberson
    • The Seed and the Giant Saguaro by Jennifer Ward
    • Saguaro Cactus by Paul and Shirley Berquist
    • Desert Giant by Barbara Bash
  • Chart paper
  • Markers, pencils, crayons
  • Paper plates
  • String
  • Yardstick or tape measure

Preparations

  • Make an overhead transparency (or photocopy) of each of the following:
    • "Arizona Quarter Reverse" page
    • "Life Cycle of the Saguaro" worksheet
    • "From Seed to Giant" worksheets (3 pages)
  • Make copies of each of the following:
    • "Arizona Quarter Reverse" page (1 per student)
    • "Life Cycle of the Saguaro" worksheet (1 per student)
    • "From Seed to Giant" worksheets (6 half pages, 1 set per student, cut and as-sembled)
  • Locate a text that gives information about the saguaro cactus (see examples under"Materials").
  • Locate an image of a mature saguaro cactus.
  • Locate an image of a decaying saguaro cactus.

Worksheets and Files

Lesson plan, worksheet(s), and rubric (if any) at www.usmint.gov/kids/teachers/lessonPlans/pdf/200.pdf.

Session 1

  1. Describe the 50 State Quarters® Program for background information, if necessary,using the example of your own state, if available. Locate Arizona on a classroommap. Note its position in relation to your school’s location.
  2. Display the "Arizona Quarter Reverse" overhead transparency. Tell the studentsthat the back of a coin is called the reverse, and "obverse" is another name for thefront of a coin. With the students, examine the coin design. Identify the saguaro(suh-WAH-row) cactus and Grand Canyon as symbols of the state of Arizona. Askthe students if they know what a cactus is.
  3. Display the image of a mature saguaro cactus. Explain that the saguaro cactusgrows in the Sonoran desert in Arizona. Ask the students to describe a cactus.Discuss the characteristics of a cactus and record responses on chart paper.
  4. Ask the students what a life cycle is. Write the term "life cycle" and a definition onchart paper. Tell the students that they will learn about the life cycle of the saguarocactus.
  5. Introduce the students to the selected text about the saguaro cactus. Preview the textand illustrations and allow students to generate observations about the saguarocactus. Review what a desert environment is.
  6. Read the selected text, focusing on the life cycle of the saguaro cactus. Attend toany unfamiliar vocabulary. During the reading, display the "Life Cycle of theSaguaro" transparency. Cover up the images on the transparency. Uncover eachimage, one at a time, as you read the text.
  7. Distribute the "Life Cycle of the Saguaro" worksheet to each student. Have thestudents color in the pictures on the "Life cycle of the Saguaro" worksheets, cut outthe pictures, and then paste the shapes in order on a paper plate. Display the "LifeCycle of the Saguaro" transparency as an example. Have the students draw arrowsfrom one picture to the next to form a circle. Have the students write the title "LifeCycle of the Saguaro" in the middle of the paper plate. Attach a piece of string toeach paper plate.
  8. Display the "Life Cycle of the Saguaro" projects in the classroom.

Sessions 2 and 3

  1. Review the information about the life cycle of the saguaro cactus from the previoussession.
  2. Display the image of the mature saguaro cactus. Ask the students if anyone noticedhow old and tall saguaro cacti can grow. Tell the students saguaro cacti grow veryslowly compared to people.
  3. Display a yard stick or tape measure. Select a student and measure his or her height.
  4. Review the selected text, focusing on the sections that discuss the growth of thesaguaro cactus. During the review, display and overlay the "From Seed to Giant"transparencies (numbered 1 through 6) to correspond with the information in thebook. Make anecdotal comparisons with students about the size of the saguarocactus at different stages of the saguaro’s life cycle.
    • At 10 years, the cactus is between 2 to 4 inches tall, about the size of a largepaper clip.
    • At 25 years, the cactus is about 2 feet tall, which is about the height of a studentdesk.
    • At 35 years, the cactus begins to produce flowers and may be 3 feet tall.
    • At 50 years, the cactus is about 10 feet tall, which is about the height of a bas-ketball hoop.
    • At 50 to 70 years, branches begin to grow.
    • An adult at around 125 years, the saguaro cactus can grow to as tall as 50 feet(which is about the height of a four story house).
    • The cactus usually lives between 150 and 175 years, although some scientistsbelieve some may live more than 200 years!
    • The plant’s growth rate depends on the amount of rainfall it receives.
  5. Display the image of the mature saguaro cactus. Tell the students that the grownsaguaro cactus is as big as a four-story house. Tell the students that the saguarocactus can help desert animals. Just like a big house or an apartment building, thesaguaro cactus can have different animals using it as a home.
  6. Review the selected text to locate animals that make their homes in the saguarocactus. Write the names of animals that use the growing saguaro cactus as a homeon the "From Seed to Giant" transparencies or list them on chart paper (for example:Gila woodpecker, elf owl, Harris’ hawk, red-tailed hawk, horned owl, white wingeddove, lizards, spiders, bats, and even pack rats and mice).
  7. Discuss what happens at the end of the life cycle of the saguaro cactus. Ask thestudents what happens to the cactus when it dies. Discuss the term "decay" with thestudents and add the term and definition to the chart paper.
  8. Tell the students that the decaying saguaro cactus can still help plants and animalsjust as it did when it was growing. The decaying saguaro cactus can protect andshade a tiny new saguaro cactus from the sun, heat, and animals. The decayingsaguaro cactus is also a new home for other animals.
  9. Ask the students which animals and insects use the decaying saguaro cactus for ahome (for example: ants, termites, spiders, centipedes, lizards, mice, snakes, scorpi-ons, giant millipedes, and beetles).?
  10. Explain to the students that they will create a book about the life cycle of thesaguaro cactus. Display the "From Seed to Giant" worksheets, which are the pagesof the book.
  11. Distribute a set of the "From Seeds to Giant" worksheets to each student. Explainthat they are to color the different stages of the life cycle of the saguaro cactus,adding details. Have the students draw three different animals or insects that callthe saguaro home and label each animal.
  12. Allow an appropriate amount of time for the students to complete the book.
  13. Collect the finished books. Share them with the class.

Differentiated Learning Options

  • Provide pictures of different animals and insects for the students to use, including labels.
  • Allow students to work with a partner.

Enrichments/Extensions

  • Have students observe a tree in your area for signs of animal life and have them draw what they noticed.
  • Have students create a life cycle of their state tree or a local tree.
  • Have students create a life-size saguaro out of paper or draw it with chalk on a blacktop area and include animals that live in the saguaro.

Use the students’ class participation, life cycle displays, and life cycle books to evaluatewhether they have met the lesson objectives.

There are no related resources for this lesson plan.

Discipline: Math
Domain: 1.MD Measurement and Data
Grade(s): Grade 1
Cluster: Measure lengths indirectly and by iterating length units
Standards:

  • 1.MD.1. Order three objects by length; compare the lengths of two objects indirectly by using a third object.
  • 1.MD.2. Express the length of an object as a whole number of length units, by laying multiple copies of a shorter object (the length unit) end to end; understand that the length measurement of an object is the number of same-size length units that span it with no gaps or overlaps. Limit to contexts where the object being measured is spanned by a whole number of length units with no gaps or overlaps.

Discipline: Math
Domain: K.MD Measurement and Data
Grade(s): Grade 1
Cluster: Describe and compare measurable attributes
Standards:

  • K.MD.1. Describe measurable attributes of objects, such as length or weight.
    • Describe several measurable attributes of a single object

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: L.K Language
Grade(s): Grade 1
Cluster: Conventions of Standard English
Standards:

  • L.K.1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
    • Print many upper- and lowercase letters.
    • Use frequently occurring nouns and verbs.
    • Form regular plural nouns orally by adding /s/ or /es/ (e.g., dog, dogs; wish, wishes).
    • Understand and use question words (interrogatives) (e.g., who, what, where, when, why, how).
    • Use the most frequently occurring prepositions (e.g., to, from, in, out, on, off, for, of, by, with).
    • Produce and expand complete sentences in shared language activities.
  • L.K.2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
    • Capitalize the first word in a sentence and the pronoun I.
    • Recognize and name end punctuation.
    • Write a letter or letters for most consonant and short-vowel sounds (phonemes).
    • Spell simple words phonetically, drawing on knowledge of sound-letter relationships.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: L.1 Language
Grade(s): Grade 1
Cluster: Conventions of Standard English
Standards:

  • L.1.1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
    • Print all upper- and lowercase letters.
    • Use common, proper, and possessive nouns.
    • Use singular and plural nouns with matching verbs in basic sentences (e.g., He hops; We hop).
    • Use personal, possessive, and indefinite pronouns (e.g., I, me, my; they, them, their, anyone, everything).
    • Use verbs to convey a sense of past, present, and future (e.g., Yesterday I walked home; Today I walk home; Tomorrow I will walk home).
    • Use frequently occurring adjectives.
    • Use frequently occurring conjunctions (e.g., and, but, or, so, because).
    • Use determiners (e.g., articles, demonstratives).
    • Use frequently occurring prepositions (e.g., during, beyond, toward).
    • Produce and expand complete simple and compound declarative, interrogative, imperative, and exclamatory sentences in response to prompts.
  • L.1.2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
    • Capitalize dates and names of people.
    • Use end punctuation for sentences.
    • Use commas in dates and to separate single words in a series.
    • Use conventional spelling for words with common spelling patterns and for frequently occurring irregular words.
    • Spell untaught words phonetically, drawing on phonemic awareness and spelling conventions.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.1 Reading: Literature
Grade(s): Grade 1
Cluster: Craft and Structure
Standards:

  • RL.1.4. Identify words and phrases in stories or poems that suggest feelings or appeal to the senses.
  • RL.1.5. Explain major differences between books that tell stories and books that give information, drawing on a wide reading of a range of text types.
  • RL.1.6. Identify who is telling the story at various points in a text.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.1 Reading: Literature
Grade(s): Grade 1
Cluster: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
Standards:

  • RL.1.7. Use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, setting, or events.
  • RL.1.8. Not applicable to literature.
  • RL.1.9. Compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of characters in stories.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.1 Reading: Literature
Grade(s): Grade 1
Cluster: Key Ideas and Details
Standards:

  • RL.1.1. Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
  • RL.1.2. Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson.
  • RL.1.3. Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: SL.1 Speaking and Listening
Grade(s): Grade 1
Cluster: Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas
Standards:

  • SL.1.4. Describe people, places, things, and events with relevant details, expressing ideas and feelings clearly.
  • SL.1.5. Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.
  • SL.1.6. Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation. (See grade 1 Language standards 1 and 3 for specific expectations.)

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.K Reading: Literature
Grade(s): Grade 1
Cluster: Craft and Structure
Standards:

  • RL.K.4. Ask and answer questions about unknown words in a text.
  • RL.K.5. Recognize common types of texts (e.g., storybooks, poems).
  • RL.K.6. With prompting and support, name the author and illustrator of a story and define the role of each in telling the story.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.K Reading: Literature
Grade(s): Grade 1
Cluster: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
Standards:

  • RL.K.7. With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the story in which they appear (e.g., what moment in a story an illustration depicts).  
  • RL.K.8. not applicable to literature.
  • RL.K.9. With prompting and support, compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of characters in familiar stories.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.K Reading: Literature
Grade(s): Grade 1
Cluster: Key Ideas and Details
Standards:

  • RL.K.1. With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
  • RL.K.2. With prompting and support, retell familiar stories, including key details.
  • RL.K.3. With prompting and support, identify characters, settings, and major events in a story.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: SL.K Speaking and Listening
Grade(s): Grade 1
Cluster: Comprehension and Collaboration
Standards:

  • SL.K.1. Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about kindergarten topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
    • Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., listening to others and taking turns speaking about the topics and texts under discussion).
    • Continue a conversation through multiple exchanges.
  • SL.K.2. Confirm understanding of a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media by asking and answering questions about key details and requesting clarification if something is not understood.
  • SL.K.3. Ask and answer questions in order to seek help, get information, or clarify something that is not understood.
  • SL.K.4. Describe familiar people, places, things, and events and, with prompting and support, provide additional detail.
  • SL.K.5. Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions as desired to provide additional detail.
  • SL.K.6. Speak audibly and express thoughts, feelings, and ideas clearly.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.K Writing
Grade(s): Grade 1
Cluster: Text Types and Purposes
Standards:

  • W.K.1. Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose opinion pieces in which they tell a reader the topic or the name of the book they are writing about and state an opinion or preference about the topic or book (e.g., My favorite book is...).
  • W.K.2. Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose informative/explanatory texts in which they name what they are writing about and supply some information about the topic.
  • W.K.3. Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to narrate a single event or several loosely linked events, tell about the events in the order in which they occurred, and provide a reaction to what happened.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.1 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 1
Cluster: Text Types and Purposes
Standards:

  • W.1.1. Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or name the book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply a reason for the opinion, and provide some sense of closure.
  • W.1.2. Write informative/explanatory texts in which they name a topic, supply some facts about the topic, and provide some sense of closure.
  • W.1.3. Write narratives in which they recount two or more appropriately sequenced events, include some details regarding what happened, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide some sense of closure.

Discipline: Visual Arts and Music
Domain: K-4 Visual Arts
Cluster: Standard 6: Making connections between visual arts and other disciplines
Grade(s): Grades K–4
Standards:

  • Students understand and use similarities and differences between characteristics of the visual arts and other arts disciplines
  • Students identify connections between the visual arts and other disciplines in the curriculum

Discipline: Visual Arts and Music
Domain: K-4 Visual Arts
Cluster: Standard 1: Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes
Grade(s): Grades K–4
Standards:

  • Students know the differences between materials, techniques, and processes
  • Students describe how different materials, techniques, and processes cause different responses
  • Students use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories
  • Students use art materials and tools in a safe and responsible manner

Discipline: Mathematics
Domain: K-2 Measurement
Cluster: Understand measurable attributes of objects and the units, systems, and processes of measurement.
Grade(s): Grades K–4
Standards:

In K through grade 2 all students should

  • recognize the attributes of length, volume, weight, area, and time;
  • compare and order objects according to these attributes;
  • understand how to measure using nonstandard and standard units; and
  • select an appropriate unit and tool for the attribute being measured.

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

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