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Flying High in Ohio

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Students will use a graphic organizer to explore the similarities and differences between two sets of “Aviation Pioneers.” Students will also read age appropriate texts related to the design of the Ohio quarter reverse.

Coin Type(s)

  • Quarter

Coin Program(s)

  • 50 State Quarters


  • Students will use a graphic organizer to explore the similarities and differences between two sets of “Aviation Pioneers.”
  • Students will also read age appropriate texts related to the design of the Ohio quarter reverse.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Language Arts
  • Science
  • Social Studies


  • Second grade
  • Third grade

Class Time

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


  • Whole group
  • Small groups

Background Knowledge

The students should have basic knowledge of:

  • Air and space travel
  • Preview and prediction skills (reading)

Terms and Concepts

  • Quarter
  • Reverse (back)
  • Symbol
  • Mysteries
  • Aviation
  • Pioneer
  • Compare


  • 1 overhead projector (optional)
  • 1 large brightly colored box
  • 1 sign reading “Mystery Box”
  • Box contents relating to aviation and space travel (such as pictures of air or spacecraft, toy planes or space ships, or airline tickets) as well as an Ohio quarter.
  • 1 class map of the United States of America
  • 1 photocopy (or overhead transparency) of the Ohio quarter reverse
  • 1 copy each of an age appropriate text that relates to the Wright brothers and a text that relates to one of Ohio’s famous astronauts, such as:
    • Taking Flight: The Story of the Wright Brothers (Ready-To-Read) by Stephen Krensky
    • First Flight: The Story of Tom Tate and the Wright Brothers by George Shea
    • One Giant Leap: The Story of Neil Armstrong by Don Brown
    • Man on the Moon by Anastasia Suen
    • Moonwalk: The First Trip to the Moon by Judy Donnelly
  • 1 piece of chart paper
  • Markers
  • Copies of the Venn diagram worksheet
  • 1 overhead transparency of the Venn diagram worksheet


  • Locate a text that relates to the Wright brothers and another that relates to an astronaut from Ohio (see suggestions under “Materials”).
  • Make an overhead transparency (or photocopy) of the Ohio quarter reverse.
  • Make copies of the Venn diagram worksheet (1 per student).
  • Make an overhead transparency of the Venn diagram worksheet.

Worksheets and Files

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

Session 1

  1. Place in plain view of the students a box labeled “Mystery Box.” Examine the box periodically throughout the morning. When students ask you what’s in it, respond with “You’ll have to wait and see.”
  2. When you’re ready for the lesson, bring the box to the front of the classroom and ask the students if they noticed the box. What made them curious? Tell the students that they can look into the box, but first ask “Who would look into this box if they thought it might have something spooky in it? Who would look into the box if they thought it might have something dangerous in it?”
  3. Introduce the Ohio quarter by taking it out of the Mystery Box. Tell them that this coin highlights some people who were curious about the unknown, just like they were with the Mystery Box.
  4. 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 Ohio quarter reverse.
  5. As a class, discuss the symbols on the coin’s reverse. Ask the students what types of things they think interested the people on the quarter. (They should guess that these people were interested in exploring ideas relating to flight.) Explain that these people knew that flight and space travel were dangerous, things that no one had ever done before, but they were brave and still wanted to learn all they could about these topics.
  6. Ask if your students know of any aviation pioneers. Briefly introduce the Wright brothers, John Glenn, and Neil Armstrong to your students as “aviation pioneers” who came from Ohio (Orville Wright was born there, both worked on flight there). Support this step with visuals from inside the Mystery Box (items related to aviation and space travel).

Session 2

  1. Introduce the students to the two stories that they will be reading and comparing on the Wright brothers and one of Ohio’s famous astronauts (suggested titles are listed under “Materials”).
  2. With the entire reading group, create a K-W-L chart to examine what students know and want to know about these pioneers. Leave the learn column empty for now.
  3. As a group, preview the text and illustrations to generate predictions about the selected story on the Wright brothers.
  4. Read this story as a group. During the reading, attend to any unfamiliar vocabulary. After reading, fill in the “L” column with all they learned about the Wright Brothers.

Session 3

  1. In small groups, have your students repeat steps 3 and 4 from session 2 with the selected book on an Ohio astronaut.
  2. Have the groups share what they learned. Add this to the “L” column of the chart.

Session 4

  1. Divide students into small groups and distribute a “Venn Diagram” sheet to each group. The groups will use the Venn diagrams to compare the lives and experiences of the Wright Brothers and an Ohio astronaut.
  2. On the lines above the ovals, have the students write the names of the pioneers being compared. Together, find at least one similarity and one difference between these aviation pioneers.
  3. Have students continue to add information to their Venn diagrams.
  4. As a class, using an enlarged or overhead version of the Venn diagram, have the students share and record the similarities and differences that they noticed.

Differentiated Learning Options

  • Provide students with abbreviated versions of texts by photocopying only certain pages or condensing them yourself.
  • Use a K-L chart rather than a K-W-L chart with your students.


  • Challenge interested students to write a letter to one of these men asking a question that was not answered in the books. Have these students trade letters with a partner, research the answers to the questions, and write a letter back sharing the answer.
  • To further use Venn diagrams, students can compare all the existing state quarters according to different rules that they develop (such as “people vs. trees”).
  • Have students research other flight or space pioneers and share the information with the rest of the class.

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

There are no related resources for this lesson plan.

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

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

  • Properties of Earth materials
  • Objects in the sky
  • Changes in earth and sky

Discipline: Science
Domain: K-4 Content Standards
Cluster: Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
Grade(s): Grades K–4

  • Personal health
  • Characteristics and changes in populations
  • Types of resources
  • Changes in environments
  • Science and technology in local challenges

Discipline: Social Studies
Domain: All Thematic Standards
Cluster: Science, Technology, and Society
Grade(s): Grades K–4

Teachers should:

  • enable learners to identify, describe, and examine both current and historical examples of the interaction and interdependence of science, technology, and society in a variety of cultural settings
  • provide opportunities for learners to make judgments about how science and technology have transformed the physical world and human society and our understanding of time, space, place, and human-environment interactions
  • have learners analyze the way in which science and technology influence core societal values, beliefs, and attitudes and how societal attitudes influence scientific and technological endeavors
  • prompt learners to evaluate various policies proposed to deal with social changes resulting from new technologies
  • help learners to identify and interpret various perspectives about human societies and the physical world using scientific knowledge, technologies, and an understanding of ethical standards of this and other cultures
  • encourage learners to formulate strategies and develop policy proposals pertaining to science/technology-society issues

Discipline: Social Studies
Domain: All Thematic Standards
Cluster: Time, Continuity, and Change
Grade(s): Grades K–4

Teachers should:

  • assist learners to understand that historical knowledge and the concept of time are socially influenced constructions that lead historians to be selective in the questions they seek to answer and the evidence they use
  • help learners apply key concepts such as time, chronology, causality, change, conflict, and complexity to explain, analyze, and show connections among patterns of historical change and continuity
  • enable learners to identify and describe significant historical periods and patterns of change within and across cultures, including but not limited to, the development of ancient cultures and civilizations, the emergence of religious belief systems, the rise of nation-states, and social, economic, and political revolutions
  • guide learners in using such processes of critical historical inquiry to reconstruct and interpret the past, such as using a variety of sources and checking their credibility, validating and weighing evidence for claims, searching for causality, and distinguishing between events and developments that are significant and those that are inconsequential
  • provide learners with opportunities to investigate, interpret, and analyze multiple historical and contemporary viewpoints within and across cultures related to important events, recurring dilemmas, and persistent issues, while employing empathy, skepticism, and critical judgment; and enable learners to apply ideas, theories, and modes of historical inquiry to analyze historical and contemporary developments, and to inform and evaluate actions concerning public policy issues.

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

  • Technological design ability
  • Understand science and technology
  • Ability to distinguish between natural objects and objects made by humans

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: All Language Arts Standards
Cluster: Use of Spoken, Written, and Visual Language
Grade(s): Grades K–4

  • 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 Text
Grade(s): Grades K–4

  • 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: Effective Communication
Grade(s): Grades K–4

  • 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: Science
Domain: K-4 Content Standards
Cluster: Science as Inquiry
Grade(s): Grades K–4

  • Ability necessary to do scientific inquiry
  • Understand scientific inquiry

Discipline: Social Studies
Domain: All Thematic Standards
Cluster: Individuals, Groups, and Institutions
Grade(s): Grades K–4

Teachers should:

  • help learners understand the concepts of role, status, and social class and use them in describing the connections and interactions of individuals, groups, and institutions in society
  • help learners analyze groups and evaluate the influences of institutions, people, events, and cultures in both historical and contemporary settings
  • help learners to understand the various forms institutions take, their functions, their relationships to one another and how they develop and change over time
  • assist learners in identifying and analyzing examples of tensions between expressions of individuality and efforts of groups and institutions to promote social conformity
  • help learners to describe and examine belief systems basic to specific traditions and laws in contemporary and historical societies
  • challenge learners to evaluate the role of institutions in furthering both continuity and change
  • guide learner analysis of the extent to which groups and institutions meet individual needs and promote the common good in contemporary and historical settings
  • assist learners as they explain and apply ideas and modes of inquiry drawn from the behavioral sciences in the examination of persistent social issues and problems

Discipline: Social Studies
Domain: All Thematic Standards
Cluster: People, Places, and Environment
Grade(s): Grades K–4

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