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Simple Symbols (1999/2000)

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Students will define what a symbol is and identify symbols associated with pre-selected states.

Coin Type(s)

  • Quarter

Coin Program(s)

  • 50 State Quarters


Students will define what a symbol is and identify symbols associated with pre-selected states.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Art
  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies


  • Kindergarten
  • First grade

Class Time

Sessions: One
Session Length: 20-30 minutes
Total Length: 0-45 minutes


  • Whole group
  • Small groups

Terms and Concepts



  • I Read Symbols by Tana Hoban (optional)
  • “Select a Symbol” worksheet (page 12), one per student
  • “State the Facts” worksheet (page 13), one per student
  • “State Information Pages” (pages 26-29)
  • Crayons and pencils


  • Select state to focus on.
  • Enlarge quarter for focus state (using “Reproducible Coin Sheets,” pages 31 and 32).
  • Preview facts: name, symbol, bird, flower.
  • Make a chart of state facts using chart paper or a chalkboard. Include visuals, if possible.

Worksheets and Files

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

  1. Focus on the objective by asking: “Who can tell me what a symbol is?”
  2. Read I Read Symbols3 by Tana Hoban (optional). Ask if children can identify the symbols pictured in the book.
  3. Explain to the students that a symbol is something—a picture or a drawing—that stands for or represents something else.
  4. Remind the students that, with the 50 State QuartersTM Program, every state has selected a special symbol to represent that state. This symbol will appear on a quarter.
  5. Display your state fact chart about the focus state and discuss the facts listed. Also display the enlarged copy of the new quarter. Ask students why they think the symbol was chosen to represent the state. Provide the correct information, if necessary.
  6. Ask students to think about what type of symbol would best represent them. Provide students with the “Select a Symbol” worksheet (page 12).
  7. Have students share their symbols in small groups or as a class.
  8. Display the state facts visual and distribute the “State the Facts” activity (page 13)to a small group. Have students complete the worksheet, with teacher assistance if necessary.


The “State the Facts” activity can be used for every state. If a quarter for the state(s) you choose has not yet been released, have the children design a symbol that they feel represents that particular state and explain their choice. Display their designs on a bulletin board or on available wall space.

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

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

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

  • Build new mathematical knowledge through problem solving
  • Solve problems that arise in mathematics and in other contexts
  • Apply and adapt a variety of appropriate strategies to solve problems
  • Monitor and reflect on the process of mathematical problem solving

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: All Language Arts Standards
Cluster: Literature
Grade(s): Grades K–12

  • Students read a wide range of literature from many periods in many genres to build an understanding of the many dimensions (e.g., philosophical, ethical, aesthetic) of human experience. 

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–12

  • 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