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It’s a Bear Out There

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Summary

Students will examine and understand common characteristics of ecosystems. Students will research characteristics, behaviors, and adaptations of the brown bear.

Coin Type(s)

  • Quarter

Coin Program(s)

  • 50 State Quarters

Objectives

  • Students will examine and understand common characteristics of ecosystems.
  • Students will research characteristics, behaviors, and adaptations of the brown bear.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Language Arts
  • Science

Grades

  • Second grade
  • Third grade

Class Time

Sessions: Four
Session Length: 30-45 minutes
Total Length: 151-500 minutes

Groupings

  • Whole group
  • Small groups
  • Pairs
  • Individual work

Background Knowledge

Students should have a basic knowledge of:

  • Ecosystem
  • Compare and contrast
  • Similarities and differences

Terms and Concepts

  • Quarter
  • Obverse (front)
  • Reverse (back)
  • Characteristic
  • Behavior
  • Adaptation
  • Tundra

Materials

  • 1 overhead projector
  • 1 overhead transparency of each of the following:
    • "Alaska Quarter Reverse" page
    • "Name that Ecosystem!" page
    • "Animal ABC" worksheet
  • "Animal ABC" worksheet
  • 1 class map of the United States
  • 1 copy of a text that gives information about tundra ecosystems. For example:
    • Life in the Tundra (Ecosystems in Action) by Cherie Winner
    • Arctic Tundra by Donald M. Silver
    • The Arctic Tundra by Michael H. Forman
    • Frozen Tundra: A Web of Life by Philip Johansson
    • Arctic Tundra: Land With No Trees (Rookie Read-About Science) by AllanFowler
  • Computers with Internet access
  • Chart paper
  • Markers
  • Pictures showing various ecosystems
  • Pencils and paper
  • White construction paper (11x14)
  • Markers
  • Colored pencils

Preparations

  • Make an overhead transparency (or photocopy) of each of the following:
    • "Alaska Quarter Reverse" page
    • "Name That Ecosystem!" page
    • "Animal ABC" worksheet?
  • Make copies of "Animal ABC" worksheet (1 per student and 1 per pair of students)
  • Locate a text that gives information about the tundra ecosystems (see examples under "Materials").
  • Gather pictures showing various ecosystems for sessions 1 and 2.
  • Reserve the computer lab for two sessions.
  • Bookmark Internet sites that contain information about the brown bear, including its behaviors and adaptations.
  •  Gather various texts about the ecosystem and animals in your location to use in sessions 4 and 5.

Worksheets and Files

Lesson plan, worksheet(s), and rubric (if any) at www.usmint.gov/kids/teachers/lessonPlans/pdf/255.pdf.

Sessions 1 and 2

  1. Describe the 50 State Quarters® Program for background information, if necessary, using the example of your own state, if available. Then display the transparency or photocopy of the "Alaska Quarter Reverse" page. Locate Alaska on a classroom map. Note its position in relation to your school’s location.
  2. Ask the students to examine the Alaska quarter and tell you what they know about the picture. Explain to the students that the image features a brown bear clutching a salmon in its jaws. Explain to the students that they will be learning about ecosystems. Ask the students for the definition of the term "ecosystem." The definition should reflect that an ecosystem describes the interaction between living and nonliving parts of an environment. Write the definition and briefly discuss examples of living and nonliving parts of an ecosystem on a piece of chart paper. Guide the students to understand that the living parts of an ecosystem depend on the nonliving.
  3. Remind the students that there are many kinds of ecosystems where plants and animals live. Display various pictures showing the variety of ecosystems. As each one is shown, write the name the ecosystem on the chart paper followed by a symbol of it. Ecosystems named should include desert, grassland, tundra, ocean, forest, rainforest, and wetland.
  4. Display the "Name That Ecosystem!" overhead transparency. Ask the students to identify each ecosystem and explain why they made each choice. The students should state what is unique about each. (The ecosystems are, left to right, top to bottom: aquatic/ocean, grassland, desert, rainforest, tundra, and wetland.)
  5. Explain to the students that tundra is an ecosystem of Alaska. Read the selected text to the class, having the students listen for clues about the ecosystem of Alaska. Attend to any unfamiliar vocabulary and concepts. Chart the students’ ideas. After concluding the selected text, review the students’ ideas about the tundra ecosystem. Record responses on chart paper.
  6. Ask the students to think about the tundra ecosystem and the brown bear from the Alaska quarter. Distribute a "Animal ABC" worksheet to each student. Explain to the students that they will be doing research about the brown bear and one of the ecosystems where it can be found. Explain that brown bears can live in several different ecosystems but the students will be focusing mainly on the tundra ecosystem.
  7. Tell the students they will be researching three topics: the characteristics (distinguishing traits), behaviors (things animals do), and adaptations (traits that help an animal meet its needs in the place where it lives) of the brown bear in the tundra ecosystem.
  8. Take the students to the computer lab and allow them time to complete their "Animal ABC" worksheet.
  9. As a class, review the students’ findings. Record the student responses on the "Animal ABC" overhead transparency. Discuss the characteristics, behaviors, and adaptations of the brown bear and why they are all important to life in a tundra.
  10. Collect the students’ worksheets.

Sessions 3 and 4

  1. Display the chart paper and review the material covered in the previous sessions.
  2. Display the transparency or photocopy of the "Alaska Quarter Reverse" page. Remind the students that living parts of an ecosystem depend on the nonliving. Guide the students to also see how the food chain is reflected in the bear and the fish on the coin. The students should see the relationship between the various animals and the environment in the ecosystem.
  3. Explain to the students that they will be choosing an ecosystem other than the tundra to show its similarities and differences as compared to the tundra.
  4. Redistribute the students’ "Animal ABC" worksheets from Sessions 1 and 2. Divide the class into pairs and distribute another "Animal ABC" worksheet to each pair.
  5. Explain to the students that they will be doing the same type of research and reporting activity as they did in the previous sessions. They will show their findings by creating a poster and writing a descriptive paragraph.
  6. As a class, create a list of animals that the pairs of students want to research.
  7. Allow the students time to visit the computer lab, look through texts, and complete their worksheets.
  8. Review the students’ worksheets. Allow time for the each pair to create its poster and for each student to write his or her paragraph.
  9. Collect the students’ worksheets.
  10. Have the students share their posters and paragraphs with the class. Display them in the classroom.

Differentiated Learning Options

  • Allow students to work in small groups for Sessions 3 and 4.
  • Allow students to record the information using a scribe.

Enrichments/Extensions

  • Have students research other quarter reverse images and find one to match each of the ecosystems.
  • Have students research other animals from another ecosystem and create a picture book of animals to share with book buddies.
  • Analyze the students’ worksheets for understanding of the animals and ecosystems.
  • Use the students’ class participation to evaluate whether they have met the lesson objectives.
  • Assess the completed posters and paragraphs.
There are no related resources for this lesson plan.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: L.2 Language
Grade(s): Grade 2
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 2
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 2
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 2
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 2
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 2
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 2
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 2
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 2
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 2
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 2
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 2
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.3 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 2
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: All Language Arts Standards
Cluster: Applying Strategies to Text
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

  • Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound–letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).

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: Research
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

  • Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources (e.g., print and nonprint texts, artifacts, people) to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience. 

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.