Try these fun activities to bring the excitement of State Quarter Day right into your classroom!
Explore your mottos with your students through coins. Give each of your students a penny to examine for its traits. When they mention the writing that says, “E Pluribus Unum,” ask if they know what that means. Discuss the phrase’s meaning (Out of many, one) and what a motto is supposed to do. Ask if they think that this is a good motto for our country. After this discussion, display a picture of your new state quarter. Many states chose to add inscriptions that are different from their state’s actual motto. Find your state’s real motto and examine the inscription on the coin. Ask your students which words they feel better represent the state. Take a poll and graph the responses as a class. If your students feel that neither phrase represents their state well, have them develop new mottos that would!
Develop a state timeline as a class. Staple a piece of yarn at one end of a classroom bulletin board and stretch it across to the other end of the board. As you are studying about your state’s history, add interesting events and their dates to the timeline. Start with the day that your state was admitted to the United States, and end with the day your state got its very own quarter!
Sing about your state! Does your state have its own song? Do you know its words or its tune? This may require a bit of preparation, but locate your state song (your school’s music teacher may be able to help you with this one) and learn the song. Teach this song to your students and on “State Quarter Day” arrange for your students to sing it over the school’s intercom at the start or end of the day!
Create a state mobile! As a class, brainstorm a list of symbols, items, people, places and events from your state. Have your students each select 5 words from the list that they feel best represent the state. Give each student 5 index cards (unlined) and have them write the word on one side. On the other side of the card, have your students draw a representation of that word. Using a hole-punch, string (different lengths), wire hangers, yarn (long enough to be wrapped around the edge of the hanger), and small pieces of bulletin board paper (large enough to cover the center of the hanger) have your students wrap their hangers and attach their state images. On one side of the paper that covers the center of the hanger, have your students write the name of their state. On the other side of this paper, your students can draw a picture of their new state quarter. Hang these state mobiles around your classroom or in the hallway for all to see!
Using the same list of items your students brainstormed for their mobiles, have your class design posters that would make strangers want to visit your state. If this seems too easy for your students, invite them to create a state travel brochure that would entice visitors. Be sure to have your students include the State’s motto on their poster/brochure.
Every town has a story! Assign your students the name of a town within your state and have them locate facts about that town. Some facts to research may include the name or names of the people who founded the town, when it was founded, how the town got its name, what part of the state it is in, what county it is in, what kind of businesses are in the town (or maybe it’s an agricultural town). They also may find it interesting to locate any famous occurrences, or the names of celebrities or inventions, that came from this town. If possible, have your students provide a picture from this town (this could be a drawing, or a photograph).
- Once the research and illustrations have been completed, compile the information into a “State Traits” book that is kept in your class library.
- Instead of creating the “State Traits” book, have your students each create a postcard about the town that they have researched. On the front of the postcard they could draw a picture of something from the town they researched, and on the back they could describe what they learned about the town.
Have your students write a poem about their state or the design on the new state quarter. This can be a fun opportunity to learn more about your state while also teaching your students about a new type of poetry (such as a cinquain, diamante, acrostic, etc.). Arrange for some of your students to read their poems over the school’s intercom throughout the day.
Invite your students to create illustrations on a square piece of paper (6″ x 6″) that shows something important about their state – ideas may come from brainstorming sessions about the state, and/or books about their state. With other classes, or just on your own, create a state quilt that will be displayed in the hallway for all to see!
Have you been studying your state’s history in class this year? Then today would be the perfect day to hold a “What’s Great About My State” Trivia bee! Prepare questions about the history and symbols of your state and your local surroundings, and even throw in a few spelling words that have significance for your state. Set up this game as you would a spelling bee. What could the prize be? A laminated paper medal in the shape of your state, or a product that is native to your state!
Teachers, if we’ve piqued your interest with the activities above, please sign up for the Teachers’ Network. Here you can receive information about all of the educational resources available from the United States Mint!