Building America

Summary

Students will describe the Empire State Building and how Native Americans contributed to its construction. Students will research iconic American buildings and present their learning in a creative way.

Coin Type(s)

  • Dollar

Coin Program(s)

  • Native American $1 Coins

Objectives

Students will describe the Empire State Building and how Native Americans contributed to its construction. Students will research iconic American buildings and present their learning in a creative way.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Social Studies
  • Language Arts

Grades

  • 2nd
  • 3rd

Class Time

  • Sessions: Four
  • Session Length: 30-45 minutes
  • Total Length: 121-150 minutes

Groupings

  • Whole group
  • Pairs
  • Individual work

Background Knowledge

Students should have a basic knowledge of: Native Americans.

Terms and Concepts

  • Native American $1 Coin
  • Reverse (back)
  • Obverse (front)
  • Kahnawake Mohawk
  • Akwesasne Mohawk
  • Skyscraper
  • High iron construction
  • I-beam
  • Rivet
  • Iconic

Materials

  • 1 overhead projector or other classroom technology (optional)
  • 1 overhead transparency (or equivalent) of the "2015 Native American $1 Coin" page
  • Copies of the following:
    • "Skyscraper Stats" worksheet
    • "Building Basics" worksheet
    • "Learn It, Teach It" worksheet
  • 1 copy of an age-appropriate text (or internet article) that gives basic information about the building of famous American skyscrapers including the Empire State Building
  • Chart paper
  • Markers, pencils and crayons
  • Sticky notes

Preparations

  • Make an overhead transparency (or equivalent) of the "2015 Native American $1 Coin" page.
  • Make copies of the following:
    • "Skyscraper Stats" worksheet (1 per student)
    • "Building Basics" worksheet (1 per student)
    • "Learn It, Teach It" worksheet (1 per student)
  • Locate a text that gives basic information about the building of famous American skyscrapers including the Empire State Building (see examples under "Materials"). Select appropriate portions of the text to read aloud as necessary.
  • Arrange to use the school computer lab for one session.
  • Prepare a large chart in the same format as the "Skyscraper Stats" worksheet.
  • Prepare a large outline of the Empire State Building on chart paper. Title the image "The most amazing thing about the Empire State Building is…"
  • Gather print or digital images of iconic American buildings, such as the Chrysler Building, the Statue of Liberty, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Sears Tower, the United States Capitol, and the Lincoln Memorial.

Worksheets

Worksheets and files (PDF)

Lesson Steps

Session 1

  1. Describe the Native American $1 Coin Program.
  2. Display the "2015 Native American Coin Reverse" overhead transparency or photocopy. Tell the students that the back of a coin is called the "reverse", and "obverse" is another name for the front.
  3. Ask the students to examine the coin image and tell you what they see in this image. Explain to the students that the theme of this coin is "Mohawk Ironworkers" as can be seen written on the coin. Have students brainstorm what is happening in the image and where it might be taking place.
  4. Explain to the students that this coin image honors two Native American communities, the Kahnawake Mohawk and Akwesasne Mohawk, for their "high iron" construction work and the building of skyscrapers in New York City. Describe for the students the coin's image which includes a Mohawk ironworker reaching for an I-beam that is swinging into position high above the city. Two rivets decorate the border, one on each side, and "Mohawk Ironworkers" is inscribed at the bottom. Write each of the key terms on chart paper and record the definitions.
    •  Kahnawake Mohawk and Akwesasne Mohawk – Native American communities from which many ironworkers came
    •  Skyscraper – a very tall building
    •  High iron construction – construction work high in the sky to build skyscraper
    •  I-beam – a long, straight piece of iron used for building
    •  Rivet – a short, metal bolt used to hold two pieces of metal together
  5. Using a Think-Pair-Share format, ask the students to discuss and share their ideas about the possible challenges of being a Mohawk ironworker.
  6. Explain to the students that one of the most famous buildings that the Mohawk ironworkers helped build was the Empire State Building in New York City. Tell the students you will be reading a text to help them learn about the famous Empire State Building and the danger involved in building skyscrapers. Introduce the student to the selected text.
  7. Distribute the "Skyscraper Stats" worksheet. Explain that students should listen carefully as the text is read aloud and take notes about key people, places and things related to the Empire State Building and the building of other skyscrapers. Make sure the students include Mohawk ironworkers in the People section. Read the text aloud, pausing for students to make notes on the worksheet.
  8. After reading, ask students to share what they learned about the Empire State Building and the building of other skyscrapers. Add student ideas to a class "Skyscraper Stats" chart. Discuss how Native Americans contributed to the building of the Empire State Building and add this information to the chart.
  9. Explain to the students that they will be researching other iconic American buildings like the Empire State Building over the next few sessions and then sharing their findings in a creative way. Explain that iconic means symbolic or representative. Add this term to the list started earlier in the session.
  10. Distribute a sticky note to each student and have them complete the prompt, "The most amazing thing about the Empire State Building is…" After each student has an opportunity to share, have them add the sticky notes to the large Empire State Building outline on chart paper to represent the windows.

Session 2

  1. Display the "2015 Native American $1 Coin Reverse" image. Review with the students the material covered in the previous session, including the term definitions, the "Skyscraper Stats" chart and the Empire State Building image with sticky notes. Review the importance of the Mohawk ironworkers to the building of American skyscrapers.
  2. Explain to the students that they will be researching iconic American buildings. Ask the students to name any buildings they can think of and list them on chart paper. Display the images of famous American buildings and tell the students the name of each while adding these to the list on chart paper.
  3. Explain to the students that they will be working in pairs to select one building and use the Internet to research that structure. Distribute the "Building Basics" worksheet to each student and explain that they will use this worksheet to guide their research and take notes.
  4. Allow the students time to work with partners to conduct their research and take notes on the worksheet.
  5. Explain to the students that in the next session they will be choosing a creative way to display what they have learned about an iconic American building.

Sessions 3 and 4

  1. Display the "2015 Native American $1 Coin Reverse" image. Review with the students the material covered in the previous sessions.
  2. Explain to the students that they will be summarizing their building research in a creative way. Tell the students that it is their job to share their learning with other students in the class. Distribute the "Teach It, Learn It" worksheet to all students and review the directions, checklist and general expectations. Answer all student questions as needed.
  3. Allow the students time to prepare and complete their final products.
  4. Invite students to present their final products to the class.

Differentiated Learning Options

  • Allow students to use a scribe, computer program or drawings to complete their worksheets.
  • Provide adult support for selecting and creating the final product.
  • Allow students to complete their final product about the Empire State Building.
  • Allow students to work in pairs or small groups to create their final products.
  • Provide a template for students to use when creating the brochure or invitation.

Enrichments/Extensions

  • Have students research other iconic American buildings, as well as iconic structures in other countries.
  • Have students learn more about Native Americans through other Native American $1 Coin lesson plans for grades 2 through 3.

Assess

  • Take anecdotal notes about the students' participation in class discussions.
  • Evaluate the students' worksheets and checklist for understanding of the lesson objectives.

Common Core Standards

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.3 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 3
Cluster: Text Types and Purposes
Standards:

  • W.3.1. Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons.
    • Introduce the topic or text they are writing about, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure that lists reasons.
    • Provide reasons that support the opinion.
    • Use linking words and phrases (e.g., because, therefore, since, for example) to connect opinion and reasons.
    • Provide a concluding statement or section.
  • W.3.2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
    • Introduce a topic and group related information together; include illustrations when useful to aiding comprehension.
    • Develop the topic with facts, definitions, and details.
    • Use linking words and phrases (e.g., also, another, and, more, but) to connect ideas within categories of information.
    • Provide a concluding statement or section.
  • W.3.3. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.
    • Establish a situation and introduce a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally.
    • Use dialogue and descriptions of actions, thoughts, and feelings to develop experiences and events or show the response of characters to situations.
    • Use temporal words and phrases to signal event order.
    • Provide a sense of closure.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.3 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 3
Cluster: Research to Build and Present Knowledge
Standards:

  • W.3.7. Conduct short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.
  • W.3.8. Recall information from experiences or gather information from print and digital sources; take brief notes on sources and sort evidence into provided categories.
  • W.3.9. begins in grade 4.

National Standards

Discipline: Social Studies
Domain: All Thematic Standards
Cluster: Individual Development and Identity
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

Teachers should:

  • assist learners in articulating personal connections to time, place, and social/cultural systems
  •  help learners to appreciate and describe the influence of cultures, past and  present, upon the daily lives of individuals
  • assist learners to describe how family, religion, gender, ethnicity, nationality, socioeconomic status, and other group and cultural influences contribute to the development of a sense of self
  • have learners apply concepts, inquiry, methods, and theories in the study of human growth and development, learning, motivation, behavior, perception, and personality
  • guide learners as they analyze the interactions among ethical, ethnic, national, and cultural factors in specific situations
  • help learners to analyze the role of perceptions, attitudes, values, and beliefs in the development of personal identity and their effect upon human behavior
  • have learners compare and evaluate the impact of stereotyping, conformity, acts of altruism, discrimination, and other behaviors on individuals and groups
  • help learners understand how individual perceptions develop, vary, and can lead to conflict
  • assist learners as they work independently and cooperatively within groups and institutions to accomplish goals
  • enable learners to examine factors that contribute to and damage one’s mental health; and analyze issues related to mental health and behavioral disorders in contemporary society