- America the Beautiful Quarters
Students will describe the life of a Western homestead settler in the 1800s. Students will use addition and subtraction to calculate a budget.
Major Subject Area Connections
- Social Studies
- Sessions: Three
- Session Length: 30-45 minutes
- Total Length: 91-120 minutes
- Whole group
- Small groups
- Individual work
- Addition and subtraction
Terms and Concepts
- Reverse (back)
- Obverse (front)
- Homestead National Monument of America
- Homestead Act of 1862
- 1 projection technology or equivalent technology such as a computer or overhead projector
- 1 overhead transparency (or photocopy) of the "Homestead National Monument of America Quarter" page
- Copies of the following:
- "Homestead Life Reflections" worksheet
- "Homestead Life Reflections Answer Key"
- "Grow Your Own" worksheet
- "My Homestead Budget" worksheet
- "My Homestead Budget Checklist"
- 1 copy of an age-appropriate text that gives basic information about pioneer life in the West, such as:
- Cassie's Journey: Going West in the 1860s by Brett Harvey and Deborah Kogan Ray
- Life on a Pioneer Homestead (Picture the Past series) by Sally Senzell Isaacs
- By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder
- Elsie's Bird by Jane Yolen and David Small
- 1 copy of an age-appropriate text that gives basic information about gardening, such as:
- Blue Potatoes, Orange Tomatoes by Rosalind Creasy
- Eddie's Garden and How to Make Things Grow by Sarah Garland
- The Vegetables We Eat by Gail Gibbons
- Chart paper
- Online or print resources with prices for farming/gardening supplies
- Calculators (optional)
- Make an overhead transparency (or photocopy) of the "Homestead National Monument of America Quarter" page.
- Make copies of the following:
- "Homestead Life Reflections" worksheet (1 per student)
- "Grow Your Own" worksheet (1 per student)
- "My Homestead Budget" worksheet (1 per student)
- "My Homestead Budget Checklist" (1/2 sheet per student)
- Locate a text that gives basic information about pioneer life in the West (see examples under "Materials").
- Locate a text that gives basic information about gardening (see examples under "Materials").
- Create a T-chart with the columns labeled "Benefits" and "Challenges" for Session 1.
- Gather online or print resources with farming/gardening supplies and prices.
Worksheets and files (PDF)
- Display and examine the "Homestead National Monument of America Quarter" page. Locate this site on a class map. Note its position in relation to your school's location.
- As background information, 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.
- Tell the students that the front of a coin is called the "obverse" and the back is called the "reverse." Ask the students to tell you what they see in the image on the quarter's reverse. Explain that the image depicts a house, a water pump, and corn, representing the three fundamentals to survival: food, water, and shelter. Tell the students that they are going to be learning about the special features of Homestead National Monument of America, in Nebraska.
- Explain that the image on this coin celebrates Homestead National Monument of America, which was created in 1936 "to commemorate the people whose lives were forever altered by the Homestead Act and the settlement of the West." Tell them that the Homestead Act of 1862 granted land to Americans who agreed to settle this new territory in the West, build homes, and farm the land.
- Tell the students that the lands in the West then were largely new to explorers. Ask the students to think about what it might be like to move to a new area. Ask the students to briefly share with a partner, then follow with a brief class discussion.
- Introduce the students to the selected text about pioneer life in the West. Explain to the students that a pioneer is someone who is one of the first people to settle a region. Tell the students to listen carefully for factors that made pioneer life particularly challenging. Read the text aloud. Attend to any unfamiliar vocabulary
- Display the "Benefits and Challenges" T-chart. Ask the students to discuss with a partner the benefits and challenges of moving West as part of the homestead movement commemorated on the coin.
- Discuss these benefits and challenges and add student responses to the T-chart.
- Distribute a copy of the "Homestead Life Reflections" worksheet to each student. Review the directions with the students.
- Allow time for the students to complete the worksheet independently.
- Collect the worksheets. Explain to the students that they will be examining one aspect of homestead life more carefully in the next session.
Sessions 2 and 3
- Display the "Homestead National Monument of America Quarter" page. Review with the students the material covered in the previous session, including the chart of benefits and challenges of homesteading.
- Remind the students that one of the greatest responsibilities of homesteading was farming, or growing their own food. Explain to the students that they are going to have the opportunity to imagine one aspect of life as a homesteader and will be planning their own farm.
- Introduce the students to the selected text about gardening. Tell the students to listen carefully for materials needed to grow food. Read the text aloud and list farming/gardening materials on chart paper. Attend to any unfamiliar vocabulary.
- Distribute the "Grow Your Own" worksheet. Discuss the directions and allow time for the students to complete the worksheet independently.
- After the students have completed the worksheet, continue the discussion about farming on a homestead. Encourage the students to think about the homestead life and their own farming plans by asking questions, such as:
- What food would you need to grow?
- How big should your farm be? (size of classroom, football field, airport)
- What tools would you need to farm?
- How many people would be available to help you farm?
- Have the students discuss in small groups the choices they made about their own farm and then ask the students if any changes need to be made based on the discussion. After the small group sharing, allow time for the students to revise and complete the "Grow Your Own" worksheet to plan their own farms.
- Distribute the "My Homestead Budget" worksheet. Explain to students that they will be using real store prices to create a budget for their imagined homestead farms. Distribute the resources with pricing information. Allow time for the students to log all of their needs on the "My Homestead Budget" worksheet.
- Have the students calculate the cost of multiple units of the same item and also the grand total of the entire budget. Allow students to use calculators as needed. Ask the students to briefly share their budgets with a partner.
- After the students have completed the farm planning and budgets, ask them to consider how the planning process might have been different for the homesteaders. Guide the students to understand that the homesteaders would have been very limited in both supplies and budget and that grocery stores did not exist the way they do today. Ask the students to discuss with a partner how they would adjust their farm plan if they had to cut their budget in half.
- Distribute the "My Homestead Budget Checklist." Have the students evaluate their work using the checklist.
- Collect the worksheets.
Differentiated Learning Options
- Allow students to make the farm plan and create the budget with a partner.
- Provide students with a clear farm plan from which to create the budget.
- Provide students with a limited bank of items from which to choose.
- Have students create a food budget by keeping a journal of the food they eat and calculating the prices.
- Have students use multiplication in figuring their cost totals.
- Have students learn more about calculating money by visiting the "Alexander's Coin Conundrum" lesson for grades 2 and 3 at www.usmint.gov/kids/teachers/lessonPlans/viewLP.cfm?id=35.
- Have students explore the meaning of spending and learning by visiting the "Learn to Earn When You Tend to Spend" lesson for grades 2 and 3 at www.usmint.gov/kids/teachers/lessonPlans/viewLP.cfm?id=281.
- Have the students create their farm budgets based on a specific amount of money and justify their economic choices.
- Have students complete an expanded budget planning activity to include accommodating for raising a family, building a house, and transporting people and goods.
- Have students illustrate the best or most challenging parts of homestead life described on their "Homestead Life Reflections" worksheet.
- Take anecdotal notes about the students' participation in class discussions.
- Use the students' worksheets, budgets, and checklists to evaluate whether they have met the lesson objectives.
Common Core Standards
Domain: 2.MD Measurement and Data
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Work with time and money
- 2.MD.7. Tell and write time from analog and digital clocks to the nearest five minutes, using am and pm.
- 2.MD.8. Solve word problems involving dollar bills, quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies, using $ and ¢ symbols appropriately.
- Example: If you have 2 dimes and 3 pennies, how many cents do you have?
Domain: 2.OA Operations and Algebraic Thinking
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Represent and solve problems involving addition and subtraction.
- 2.OA.1. Use addition and subtraction within 100 to solve one- and two-step word problems involving situations of adding to, taking from, putting together, taking apart, and comparing, with unknowns in all positions, eg, by using drawings and equations with a symbol for the unknown number to represent the problem.
Discipline: Social Studies
Domain: All Disciplinary Standards
Grade(s): Grades K–12
- assist learners in utilizing chronological thinking so that they can distinguish between past, present, and future time; can place historical narratives in the proper chronological framework; can interpret data presented in time lines; and can compare alternative models for periodization
- enable learners to develop historical comprehension in order that they might reconstruct the literal meaning of a historical passage, identify the central question(s) addressed in historical narrative, draw upon data in historical maps, charts, and other graphic organizers; and draw upon visual, literary, or musical sources
- guide learners in practicing skills of historical analysis and interpretation, such as compare and contrast, differentiate between historical facts and interpretations, consider multiple perspectives, analyze cause and effect relationships, compare competing historical narratives, recognize the tentative nature of historical interpretations, and hypothesize the influence of the past; help learners understand how historians study history;
- assist learners in developing historical research capabilities that enable them to formulate historical questions, obtain historical data, question historical data, identify the gaps in available records, place records in context, and construct sound historical interpretations
- help learners to identify issues and problems in the past, recognize factors contributing to such problems, identify and analyze alternative courses of action, formulate a position or course of action, and evaluate the implementation of that decision
- assist learners in acquiring knowledge of historical content in United States history in order to ask large and searching questions that compare patterns of continuity and change in the history and values of the many peoples who have contributed to the development of the continent of North America
- guide learners in acquiring knowledge of the history and values of diverse civilizations throughout the world, including those of the West, and in comparing patterns of continuity and change in different parts of the world
- enable learners to develop historical understanding through the avenues of
- social, political, economic, and cultural history and the history of science and technology