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Simple Symbols (1999/2000)

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Students will define what a symbol is and identify symbols associated with pre-selected states.

Coin Type(s)

  • Quarter

Coin Program(s)

  • 50 State Quarters


Students will define what a symbol is and identify symbols associated with pre-selected states.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Art
  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies


  • Kindergarten
  • First grade

Class Time

Sessions: One
Session Length: 20-30 minutes
Total Length: 0-45 minutes


  • Whole group
  • Small groups

Terms and Concepts



  • I Read Symbols by Tana Hoban (optional)
  • “Select a Symbol” worksheet (page 12), one per student
  • “State the Facts” worksheet (page 13), one per student
  • “State Information Pages” (pages 26-29)
  • Crayons and pencils


  • Select state to focus on.
  • Enlarge quarter for focus state (using “Reproducible Coin Sheets,” pages 31 and 32).
  • Preview facts: name, symbol, bird, flower.
  • Make a chart of state facts using chart paper or a chalkboard. Include visuals, if possible.

Worksheets and Files

Lesson plan, worksheet(s), and rubric (if any) at

  1. Focus on the objective by asking: “Who can tell me what a symbol is?”
  2. Read I Read Symbols3 by Tana Hoban (optional). Ask if children can identify the symbols pictured in the book.
  3. Explain to the students that a symbol is something—a picture or a drawing—that stands for or represents something else.
  4. Remind the students that, with the 50 State QuartersTM Program, every state has selected a special symbol to represent that state. This symbol will appear on a quarter.
  5. Display your state fact chart about the focus state and discuss the facts listed. Also display the enlarged copy of the new quarter. Ask students why they think the symbol was chosen to represent the state. Provide the correct information, if necessary.
  6. Ask students to think about what type of symbol would best represent them. Provide students with the “Select a Symbol” worksheet (page 12).
  7. Have students share their symbols in small groups or as a class.
  8. Display the state facts visual and distribute the “State the Facts” activity (page 13)to a small group. Have students complete the worksheet, with teacher assistance if necessary.


The “State the Facts” activity can be used for every state. If a quarter for the state(s) you choose has not yet been released, have the children design a symbol that they feel represents that particular state and explain their choice. Display their designs on a bulletin board or on available wall space.

Use the worksheets and class participation to assess whether the students have met the lesson objectives.

This lesson plan is not associated with any Common Core Standards.

Discipline: Mathematics
Domain: All Problem Solving
Cluster: Instructional programs from kindergarten through grade 12 should enable all students to
Grade(s): Grades K–12

  • Build new mathematical knowledge through problem solving
  • Solve problems that arise in mathematics and in other contexts
  • Apply and adapt a variety of appropriate strategies to solve problems
  • Monitor and reflect on the process of mathematical problem solving

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

  • Students read a wide range of literature from many periods in many genres to build an understanding of the many dimensions (e.g., philosophical, ethical, aesthetic) of human experience. 

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–12

  • 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: Social Studies
Domain: All Thematic Standards
Cluster: Individual Development and Identity
Grade(s): Grades K–12

Teachers should:

  • assist learners in articulating personal connections to time, place, and social/cultural systems
  •  help learners to appreciate and describe the influence of cultures, past and  present, upon the daily lives of individuals
  • assist learners to describe how family, religion, gender, ethnicity, nationality, socioeconomic status, and other group and cultural influences contribute to the development of a sense of self
  • have learners apply concepts, inquiry, methods, and theories in the study of human growth and development, learning, motivation, behavior, perception, and personality
  • guide learners as they analyze the interactions among ethical, ethnic, national, and cultural factors in specific situations
  • help learners to analyze the role of perceptions, attitudes, values, and beliefs in the development of personal identity and their effect upon human behavior
  • have learners compare and evaluate the impact of stereotyping, conformity, acts of altruism, discrimination, and other behaviors on individuals and groups
  • help learners understand how individual perceptions develop, vary, and can lead to conflict
  • assist learners as they work independently and cooperatively within groups and institutions to accomplish goals
  • enable learners to examine factors that contribute to and damage one’s mental health; and analyze issues related to mental health and behavioral disorders in contemporary society

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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

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