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Tree Detectives

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Summary

Starting with the Great Basin National Park quarter, students will understand the life cycle of the Bristlecone Pine tree. Students will demonstrate an understanding of the graphic novel writing process.

Coin Type(s)

  • Quarter

Coin Program(s)

  • America The Beautiful Quarters

Objectives

  • Students will understand the life cycle of the Bristlecone Pine tree.
  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of the graphic novel writing process.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Language Arts
  • Science

Grades

  • Second grade
  • Third grade

Class Time

Sessions: Two
Session Length: 30-45 minutes
Total Length: 46-90 minutes

Groupings

  • Whole group
  • Small groups
  • Pairs
  • Individual work

Materials

Preparations

  • Copy necessary materials.
  • Bookmark related Web sites.

Worksheets and Files

Lesson plan, worksheet(s), and rubric (if any) at www.usmint.gov/kids/teachers/lessonPlans/pdf/383.pdf.

  1. Display and examine the "Great Basin National Park Quarter" page. Locate this site on a class map. Note its position in relation to your school’s location. Tell the students that the front of a coin is called the "obverse" and the back is called the "reverse." Explain to the students that the United States Mint began to issue the quarters in the America the Beautiful Quarters® Program in 2010. By the time the program ends in 2021, there will be a total of 56 designs. Each design will focus on a different national site—one from each state, territory and the District of Columbia.
  2. 2. Locate and bookmark Web sites and age-appropriate texts that give information and images of Bristlecone pine trees. As a class, examine these images and share background information about Bristlecone pines, which are among the oldest trees in the world. Inform the students that these trees can live up to 5,000 years.
  3. Ask the students to consider how scientists can determine the age of trees. Introduce the students to the science of dating and studying tree age, also known as "dendrochronology." Ask the students to brainstorm ideas about what we can learn by studying tree rings. Lead students to understand that tree rings can tell us the age of a tree, as well as climate and environmental conditions that this tree endured, including droughts, fires, infestations and lightning strikes.
  4. Divide the class into pairs or small groups. Introduce the students to the "Tree Ring Clues" worksheet. Review the directions together. Have the students complete the worksheet. Ask the students to share their observations and findings with the rest of the class. Key: At year 4, fire damage; year 6, bad growing conditions (thin ring); year 9, good growing conditions; year 11, insect damage.
  5.  Lead a discussion about how trees, through their rings, can tell us stories of the past. Ask students to select a tree at their home, in their neighborhood or on the school grounds. Alternatively, show students an image of a tree. Encourage the students to spend some time observing the tree and imagining its history. Introduce the students to the "A Tree’s Story" worksheet. Review the directions together and lead a discussion on the graphic novel format.
  6. Have the students complete the worksheet. In small groups, provide time for the students to share their tree stories and discuss the ways they interpreted their story graphically.
There are no modification options for this lesson plan.
  • Take anecdotal notes about the students’ participation in class discussions and activities.
  • Evaluate the students’ worksheets for understanding of the lesson objectives.
  • Utilize the "A Tree’s Story Checklist" to assess students’ work.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.3 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 3
Cluster: Text Types and Purposes
Standards:

  • W.3.1. Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons.
    • Introduce the topic or text they are writing about, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure that lists reasons.
    • Provide reasons that support the opinion.
    • Use linking words and phrases (e.g., because, therefore, since, for example) to connect opinion and reasons.
    • Provide a concluding statement or section.
  • W.3.2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
    • Introduce a topic and group related information together; include illustrations when useful to aiding comprehension.
    • Develop the topic with facts, definitions, and details.
    • Use linking words and phrases (e.g., also, another, and, more, but) to connect ideas within categories of information.
    • Provide a concluding statement or section.
  • W.3.3. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.
    • Establish a situation and introduce a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally.
    • Use dialogue and descriptions of actions, thoughts, and feelings to develop experiences and events or show the response of characters to situations.
    • Use temporal words and phrases to signal event order.
    • Provide a sense of closure.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.2 Reading: Literature
Grade(s): Grade 3
Cluster: Craft and Structure
Standards:

  • RL.2.4. Describe how words and phrases (e.g., regular beats, alliteration, rhymes, repeated lines) supply rhythm and meaning in a story, poem, or song.
  • RL.2.5. Describe the overall structure of a story, including describing how the beginning introduces the story and the ending concludes the action.
  • RL.2.6. Acknowledge differences in the points of view of characters, including by speaking in a different voice for each character when reading dialogue aloud.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.2 Reading: Literature
Grade(s): Grade 3
Cluster: Key Ideas and Details
Standards:

  • RL.2.1. Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.
  • RL.2.2. Recount stories, including fables and folktales from diverse cultures, and determine their central message, lesson, or moral.
  • RL.2.3. Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.3 Reading: Literature
Grade(s): Grade 3
Cluster: Craft and Structure
Standards:

  • RL.3.4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, distinguishing literal from nonliteral language.
  • RL.3.5. Refer to parts of stories, dramas, and poems when writing or speaking about a text, using terms such as chapter, scene, and stanza; describe how each successive part builds on earlier sections.
  • RL.3.6. Distinguish their own point of view from that of the narrator or those of the characters.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.3 Reading: Literature
Grade(s): Grade 3
Cluster: Key Ideas and Details
Standards:

  • RL.3.1. Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.
  • RL.3.2. Recount stories, including fables, folktales, and myths from diverse cultures; determine the central message, lesson, or moral and explain how it is conveyed through key details in the text.
  • RL.3.3. Describe characters in a story (e.g., their traits, motivations, or feelings) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.2 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 3
Cluster: Text Types and Purposes
Standards:

  • W.2.1. Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply reasons that support the opinion, use linking words (e.g., because, and, also) to connect opinion and reasons, and provide a concluding statement or section.
  • W.2.2. Write informative/explanatory texts in which they introduce a topic, use facts and definitions to develop points, and provide a concluding statement or section.
  • W.2.3. Write narratives in which they recount a well-elaborated event or short sequence of events, include details to describe actions, thoughts, and feelings, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide a sense of closure.

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

  • Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.

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: 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.

Discipline: Science
Domain: K-4 Content Standards
Cluster: Science as Inquiry
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

  • Ability necessary to do scientific inquiry
  • Understand scientific inquiry