A Coin Out of Water


Students will identify, define and compare different types of water bodies.

Coin Type(s)

  • Quarter

Coin Program(s)

  • 50 State Quarters


Students will identify, define and compare different types of water bodies.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Social Studies
  • Science

Minor/supporting Subject Area Connections

  • Language Arts


  • K
  • 1st

Class Time

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


  • Whole group
  • Individual work

Background Knowledge

Students should have a basic knowledge that the Earth's surface is made of land and water.

Terms and Concepts

  • Quarter
  • Reverse (back)
  • Stream
  • River
  • Pond
  • Lake
  • Ocean


  • 1 overhead projector (optional)
  • 1 overhead transparency (or photocopy) of the Michigan quarter reverse
  • 1 class map of the United States
  • Copies of the Michigan quarter reverse
  • Blue and green crayons and/or colored pencils
  • Chart paper
  • Markers
  • Large photographs/pictures of different types of water bodies
  • Copies of the "Match the Water Body" worksheet


  • Make an overhead transparency (or photocopy) of the Michigan quarter reverse.
  • Make copies of the Michigan quarter reverse (1 per student).
  • Locate photographs/pictures of different types of water bodies.
  • Make copies of the "Match the Water Body" worksheet (1 per student).


Worksheets and files (PDF)

Lesson Steps

  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 Michigan quarter reverse. Locate Michigan on a classroom map. Note its position in relation to your school's location.
  2. Distribute a copy of the Michigan quarter reverse to each student.
  3. With the students, examine the design on this coin's reverse. Have the students point out the water and the land on this map. Instruct them to color the water blue and the land green on their copy of the coin design.
  4. Ask students what this image tells us about the state of Michigan. Answers should relate to the idea that Michigan is mostly surrounded by water.
  5. Closely look at the words "Great Lakes State" that appear on this coin. Read these words aloud with your students. Give students a very basic introduction to the Great Lakes, pointing them out on the class map.
  6. Divide a piece of chart paper into five columns and write the word "lake" at the top of the first column. Guide students to describe what they know about a lake, recording all comments in the first column of the chart.
  7. Ask students to name other types of water bodies and record responses as headers for the different columns on this same chart. Students should list bodies of water such as streams, ponds, oceans, and rivers.
  8. Ask students to name specific bodies of water that they know or that are near their home, such as the Atlantic Ocean, the Great Salt Lake, the Mississippi River, etc. If necessary, use the class map to locate major bodies of water. List student responses in the appropriate columns on the chart.
  9. Show students photographs/pictures of different bodies of water, working with students to identify them. As you examine each picture, ask the students to describe different attributes of each water body (ex.: "A river is long and narrow."). In their descriptions, students should make comparisons between the different water bodies (ex.: "A lake is bigger than a pond.").
  10. Distribute a "Match the Water Body" worksheet to each student.
  11. With the students, trace the word "lake" on your worksheet. Ask students to read this word, if necessary, explaining that it is one of the water bodies that they just discussed. Ask each student to point to the picture of the lake on the worksheet. After verifying that the students have all selected the correct picture, instruct them to draw a line from the word "lake" to its corresponding picture.
  12. As a class or independently, allow students an appropriate amount of time to complete this worksheet, and as a class review this page.

Differentiated Learning Options

Rather than using the pre-made "Match the Water Body" worksheet, instruct students to fold a piece of construction paper into four sections. In each section, students should draw and label a different body of water.


  • To extend students understanding about what constitutes each type of water body, read an age-appropriate text which describes each water body, such as:
    • Precious Water: A Book of Thanks by Brigitte Weninger
    • Follow the Water from Brook to Ocean by Arthur Dorros
    • Our Wet World by Sneed B. Collar III
    • Water by Frank Asch
  • Create a center where students must sort magazine images into piles according to the different types of water bodies.
  • Tie the study of water bodies to the importance of water to life. Have students create murals of different bodies of water and the animals/plants that live in or near each.


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

Common Core Standards

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.1 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 1
Cluster: Text Types and Purposes

  • W.1.1. Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or name the book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply a reason for the opinion, and provide some sense of closure.
  • W.1.2. Write informative/explanatory texts in which they name a topic, supply some facts about the topic, and provide some sense of closure.
  • W.1.3. Write narratives in which they recount two or more appropriately sequenced events, include some details regarding what happened, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide some sense of closure.

National Standards

This lesson plan is not associated with any National Standards.