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Distinguished Discoveries

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Summary

Students will analyze the importance of selected discoveries. Students will then research the history and impact of historical discoveries, using this information to compare and contrast two.

Coin Type(s)

  • Quarter

Coin Program(s)

  • 50 State Quarters

Objectives

  • Students will analyze the importance of selected discoveries.
  • Students will then research the history and impact of historical discoveries, using this information to compare and contrast two.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Drama
  • Science
  • Social Studies

Minor/supporting Subject Area Connections

  • Language Arts
  • Technology

Grades

  • Fourth grade
  • Fifth grade
  • Sixth grade

Class Time

Sessions: Four
Session Length: 45-60 minutes
Total Length: 151-500 minutes

Groupings

  • Whole group
  • Pairs
  • Individual work

Background Knowledge

Students should have a basic knowledge of:

  • Research skills
  • Venn diagrams

Terms and Concepts

  • Quarter
  • Reverse (back)
  • Discovery
  • U.S. space program
  • Space race

Materials

  • 1 overhead transparency (or photocopy) of the Florida quarter reverse
  • 1 overhead projector (optional)
  • 1 class map of the United States
  • Copies of the “Moon Mania!” research guide
  • 1 copy of the “Moon Mania Key”
  • Copies of the “Spanish Exploration” research guide
  • 1 copy of the “Spanish Exploration Key”
  • Overhead transparencies of several state quarters

Preparations

  • Reserve computer lab for session 1 (and any additional time as needed).
  • Make an overhead transparency (or photocopy) of the Florida quarter reverse.
  • Make copies of the “Moon Mania!” research guide (1/2 class set).
  • Make copies of the “Spanish Exploration” research guide (1/2 class set).
  • Make overhead transparencies (or photocopies) of several new quarter reverses.

Worksheets and Files

Lesson plan, worksheet(s), and rubric (if any) at www.usmint.gov/kids/teachers/lessonPlans/pdf/331.pdf.

Session 1

  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 Florida quarter reverse. Locate Florida on a classroom map. Note its position in relation to your school’s location.
  2. Prompt students to discuss what is on the coin. Point out that the ship and the space shuttle are two very different images. Discuss the similarities and differences of the images. Ask students to consider why they think these two images were selected for this coin.
  3. Discuss the meaning of the phrase at the bottom of the coin, “Gateway to Discovery”.  Have students discuss the connection between the images on the coin and this phrase.  Ask the students what discoveries are related to the images on this coin.
  4. Review with students the definition of discovery (the first person in a group to see, find, or learn something that had been previously unknown).
  5. Address with students the issue of space travel, specifically traveling to the moon. Ask students why the first successful landing on the moon was a discovery if the moon had already been discovered (by astronomers).
  6. Ask students why these two radically different discoveries are on the same coin. Briefly review the reasons behind Florida’s selection of these particular images. Explain the symbolism of the ship and space shuttle as discoveries that greatly impacted the world.
  7. Separate the class into two halves. Introduce to students the research activity. The first half of the class will be researching the first Spanish exploration of Florida. The second half of the class will be researching the first walk on the moon.

Session 2

  1. With your class, visit the school library or computer lab.
  2. Distribute the appropriate research guide to each student. Instruct students to use their research guides in directing their research and to answer all of the questions in complete sentences. Before students conduct their research, explain that the information they gather will be used in a later project (so it is important that they do their best research).
  3.  Allow an appropriate amount of time for students to complete their research.

Sessions 3 and 4

  1. When all student research is complete, pair each Spanish exploration researcher with a moon walk researcher.
  2. Using the information from their research guides, students should take turns sharing their research findings with their partners.
  3. Direct each pair of students to create a Venn diagram in their notes, comparing and contrasting the two researched discoveries.
  4. Encourage the pairs to share their responses with the rest of the class. On a piece of chart paper, draw a Venn diagram and record student responses. Instruct students to add any new ideas they see on the class diagram onto their individual diagrams.
  5. Lead a class discussion on what would happen if the major players from each discovery were able to meet in real life. Allow students to imagine what these historical figures might talk about, or how their conversation might unfold. Address what the topic, tone, and circumstances of this conversation would be.
  6. Challenge each pair of students to create a short (2 minute) skit. Each student will play the role of one of the discoverers and, using accurate information from their research, develop adialogue with his/her partner. Encourage students to be creative, accurate, and to include humor!
  7. Have pairs perform their short skits for the class.

Differentiated Learning Options

Students struggling with the research can work with a partner or a small group in order to use a variety of methods of research and technology.

Enrichments/Extensions

  • Show students a video of the first successful “moon walk”. Make a list of the major scenes in the film (i.e. the journey, the discovery, the most important moment, the effect). Ask students why there is no such video documentation for the Spaniards’ momentous journey to Florida. As a class, recreate their landing in Florida. Be sure to use similar major scenes in your film. Videotape their performance and enjoy it together as a class.
  • Using photocopies of several other new quarter reverses, challenge students to identify any other discoveries depicted in the images on the quarters. As an extra credit assignment, invite students to research these discoveries. Students can present their research and teach the class about the discoveries on other new quarters.

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.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: L.4 Language
Grade(s): Grade 4
Cluster: Conventions of Standard English
Standards:

  • L.4.1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
    • Use relative pronouns (who, whose, whom, which, that) and relative adverbs (where, when, why).
    • Form and use the progressive (e.g., I was walking; I am walking; I will be walking) verb tenses.
    • Use modal auxiliaries (e.g., can, may, must) to convey various conditions.
    • Order adjectives within sentences according to conventional patterns (e.g., a small red bag rather than a red small bag).
    • Form and use prepositional phrases.
    • Produce complete sentences, recognizing and correcting inappropriate fragments and run-ons.
    • Correctly use frequently confused words (e.g., to, too, two; there, their).
  • L.4.2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
    • Use correct capitalization.
    • Use commas and quotation marks to mark direct speech and quotations from a text.
    • Use a comma before a coordinating conjunction in a compound sentence.
    • Spell grade-appropriate words correctly, consulting references as needed.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: L.5 Language
Grade(s): Grade 4
Cluster: Conventions of Standard English
Standards:

  • L.5.1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
    • Explain the function of conjunctions, prepositions, and interjections in general and their function in particular sentences.
    • Form and use the perfect (e.g., I had walked; I have walked; I will have walked) verb tenses.
    • Use verb tense to convey various times, sequences, states, and conditions.
    • Recognize and correct inappropriate shifts in verb tense.
    • Use correlative conjunctions (e.g., either/or, neither/nor).
  • L.5.2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
    • Use punctuation to separate items in a series.
    • Use a comma to separate an introductory element from the rest of the sentence.
    • Use a comma to set off the words yes and no (e.g., Yes, thank you), to set off a tag question from the rest of the sentence (e.g., It’s true, isn’t it?), and to indicate direct address (e.g., Is that you, Steve?).
    • Use underlining, quotation marks, or italics to indicate titles of works.
    • Spell grade-appropriate words correctly, consulting references as needed.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.4 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 4
Cluster: Text Types and Purposes
Standards:

  • W.4.1. Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.
    • Introduce a topic or text clearly, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure in which related ideas are grouped to support the writer’s purpose.
    • Provide reasons that are supported by facts and details.
    • Link opinion and reasons using words and phrases (e.g., for instance, in order to, in addition).
    • Provide a concluding statement or section related to the opinion presented.
  • W.4.2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
    • Introduce a topic clearly and group related information in paragraphs and sections; include formatting (e.g., headings), illustrations, and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
    • Develop the topic with facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples related to the topic.
    • Link ideas within categories of information using words and phrases (e.g., another, for example, also, because).
    • Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.
    • Provide a concluding statement or section related to the information or explanation presented.
  • W.4.3. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.
    • Orient the reader by establishing a situation and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally.
    • Use dialogue and description to develop experiences and events or show the responses of characters to situations.
    • Use a variety of transitional words and phrases to manage the sequence of events.
    • Use concrete words and phrases and sensory details to convey experiences and events precisely.
    • Provide a conclusion that follows from the narrated experiences or events.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.6 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 4
Cluster: Research to Build and Present Knowledge
Standards:

  • W.6.7. Conduct short research projects to answer a question, drawing on several sources and refocusing the inquiry when appropriate.
  • W.6.8. Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources; assess the credibility of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and providing basic bibliographic information for sources.
  • W.6.9. Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
    • Apply grade 6 Reading standards to literature (e.g., “Compare and contrast texts in different forms or genres [e.g., stories and poems; historical novels and fantasy stories] in terms of their approaches to similar themes and topics”).
    • Apply grade 6 Reading standards to literary nonfiction (e.g., “Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, distinguishing claims that are supported by reasons and evidence from claims that are not”).

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.5 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 4
Cluster: Production and Distribution of Writing
Standards:

  • W.5.4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3.)
  • W.5.5. With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of Language standards 1-3 up to and including grade 5 here.)
  • W.5.6. With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of two pages in a single sitting.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.6 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 4
Cluster: Production and Distribution of Writing
Standards:

  • W.6.4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3 above.)
  • W.6.5. With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of Language standards 1–3 up to and including grade 6.)
  • W.6.6. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of three pages in a single sitting.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: L.6 Language
Grade(s): Grade 4
Cluster: Conventions of Standard English
Standards:

  • L.6.1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
    • Ensure that pronouns are in the proper case (subjective, objective, possessive).
    • Use intensive pronouns (e.g., myself, ourselves).
    • Recognize and correct inappropriate shifts in pronoun number and person.
    • Recognize and correct vague pronouns (i.e., ones with unclear or ambiguous antecedents).
    • Recognize variations from standard English in their own and others' writing and speaking, and identify and use strategies to improve expression in conventional language.
  • L.6.2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
    • Use punctuation (commas, parentheses, dashes) to set off nonrestrictive/parenthetical elements.
    • Spell correctly.

Discipline: Science
Domain: 5-8 Content Standards
Cluster: Science and Technology
Grade(s): Grades 5–8
Standards:

  • Technological design ability
  • Understand science and technology

Discipline: Social Studies
Domain: All Thematic Standards
Cluster: Science, Technology, and Society
Grade(s): Grades 5–8
Standards:

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: Visual Arts and Music
Domain: 5-8 Theater
Cluster: Standard 2: Acting by developing basic acting skills to portray characters who interact in improvised and scripted scenes
Grade(s): Grades 5–8
Standards:

  • Students analyze descriptions, dialogue, and actions to discover, articulate, and justify character motivation and invent character behaviors based on the observation of interactions, ethical choices, and emotional responses of people
  • Students demonstrate acting skills (such as sensory recall, concentration, breath control, diction, body alignment, control of isolated body parts) to develop characterizations that suggest artistic choices
  • Students in an ensemble, interact as the invented characters