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Super Symbols

Printable view


Students will understand and apply the concept of a symbol.

Coin Type(s)

  • Quarter

Coin Program(s)

  • 50 State Quarters


  • Students will understand and apply the concept of a symbol.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Art
  • Language Arts
  • Math
  • Social Studies


  • Second grade
  • Third grade

Class Time

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


  • Whole group
  • Small groups

Terms and Concepts

  • The United States of America
  • Symbol
  • State


  • Copies of "Super Symbols" worksheet (page 9)
  • Copies of an outline of a map of the United States of America can be traced from page 30
  • Each quarter, enlarged to 8-1/2 " x 11" and displayed (use "Reproducible Coin Sheets," pages 31 and 32)
  • Crayons
  • Examples of symbols (page 8 can be copied or used as an overhead)


  1. Prepare various examples of symbols (Handicapped, No Smoking, and Stop signs, addition and subtraction signs, etc.). Page 8 can be used as a handout or overhead, or symbols can be drawn on a board.
  2. Review lesson.
  3. Set up 10 stations, each with one large picture of a quarter (each of the 1999 and 2000 quarters should be represented).

Worksheets and Files

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

  1. Show samples of common symbols or logos found in the community, and have students discuss what each symbol means.
  2. Have students share examples of other symbols they have seen and what they mean.
  3. Introduce the concept of a symbol, or remind students that a symbol is a picture that represents a larger idea.
  4. Divide the students into 10 groups. Assign each group to a station. Give each group one copy of the "Super Symbols" worksheet (page 8), and ask the group to select one student to serve as the recorder.
  5. Explain that the students are on a scavenger hunt to find as many symbols as they can. They will have one minute at each station to identify and write down as many symbols as they see on the quarter. Then, they will move to the next station and begin again.
  6. Once students understand the directions, tell them to begin. After one minute, have groups move to the next station. This process will continue until all the groups have seen the pictures for all 10 quarters.
  7. As a class, discuss the symbols that students found, and come up with an explanation of each symbol and why it might be important to that state.
  8. For any symbol the students were not able to correctly explain, give a brief explanation of its meaning (e.g., the horseman on the Delaware quarter is an important historical person from the state).
  9. Hand out the outline of the United States and have students trace it.
  10. Explain that there are many different symbols that can represent one larger idea. The symbols on each coin represent a part of the history or values of the United States of America. Ask students to draw some symbols for the United States of America on their map outline.
  11. Students are assessed based on their ability to draw at least four symbols on the map. On the back of their sheet, they may give a brief description of each symbol.


  1. As a group, have students brainstorm symbols they see in math. On a large piece of chart paper, have them choose a math symbol, draw it in bubble form, and decorate.
  2. Using clay, students can make a symbol that represents them or their class.
  3. Have students write a short story using symbols as much as possible instead of words to tell the story e.g., each child picked up a [pencil] to write a story.
  4. On a teacher-led walk around the school or school grounds, students can look for symbols and discuss their meaning.

Assess the students' ability to draw at least four symbols on the map and descriptions on the back of the sheet.

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

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

  • 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: Mathematics
Domain: All Communication
Cluster: Instructional programs from kindergarten through grade 12 should enable all students to
Grade(s): Grades K–4

  • organize and consolidate their mathematical thinking through communication 
  • communicate their mathematical thinking coherently and clearly to peers, teachers, and others;
  • analyze and evaluate the mathematical thinking and strategies of others; and
  • use the language of mathematics to express mathematical ideas precisely.