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Physical Features

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Students will identify the physical features that define where people live.

Coin Type(s)

  • Quarter

Coin Program(s)

  • 50 State Quarters


Students will identify the physical features that define where people live.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • 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

Terms and Concepts

  • Rural
  • Urban
  • Physical features (lakes, rivers, etc.)
  • Landmark


  • Large paper for chart
  • Copies of "Our Great States" booklet (pages 10-14)
  • Copies of the "Physical Features" worksheet (page 16)
  • Crayons (optional)
  • If possible, pictures of different regions in the United States where people live (plains, cities, communities by water, mountain communities, etc.)


  • Read over lesson.
  • Make "Our Great States" booklets (pages 10-14).
  • Label chart with three columns: Our State; The Same Physical Features; and Other States.
  • Draw large outline of home state.

Worksheets and Files

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

  1. Hand out copies of the "Our Great States" booklet (pages 10-14).
  2. Read through the booklet as a class. Have a class discussion in which students list the physical features they see on the coin representations (water, trees, buildings, mountains, birds, leaves, etc.). Explain what a landmark is and have students attempt to identify landmarks on the quarters.
  3. The teacher should list these features on the chart in the section labeled "Other States."
  4. Following are some sample questions that may be useful for discussion:
    • Why did Virginia and New Jersey show bodies of water on their coins?
    • Why did South Carolina, Connecticut, and Maryland include trees and leaves?
    • Why would they be an important feature?
  5. Have the class talk about the physical features and landmarks of their surrounding areas (these need not be natural objects). List these features on the chart in the section labeled "Our State."
  6. If there are similarities between the physical features displayed on the coins and those in the students' surroundings, list them in the middle section of the chart labeled "The Same Physical Features." Have the students attempt to explain why the physical features are similar.
  7. Distribute the "Physical Features" worksheet (page 16). Have students look at the pictures of rural and urban areas and communities on the page and have them list the physical features of each one.
  8. Students will be assessed by listing at least two physical features for each picture.


  1. Have students write an essay about where they would like to live and why.
  2. Students can research more information about a state and compare and contrast it with their own state. 
  3. Students can ask their families about what they like best about their region and share it with the class.

Assess the students' ability to list at least two physical features for each picture.

There are no related resources for this lesson plan.

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

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

  • 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.