Conserving the World Around Us: Theodore Roosevelt’s Legacy

Summary

Students will describe the role of Theodore Roosevelt in the creation of the National Park System. Students will define and discuss conservation. Students will write a proposal to promote conservation of an area of their town or state using scientific information.

Coin Type(s)

  • Quarter

Coin Program(s)

  • America the Beautiful Quarters

Objectives

Students will describe the role of Theodore Roosevelt in the creation of the National Park System. Students will define and discuss conservation. Students will write a proposal to promote conservation of an area of their town or state using scientific information.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Language Arts
  • Science

Minor/supporting Subject Area Connections

  • Language Arts
  • Science

Grades

  • 4th
  • 5th
  • 6th

Class Time

  • Sessions: Three
  • Session Length: 45-60 minutes
  • Total Length: 151-500 minutes

Groupings

  • Whole group
  • Small groups
  • Pairs
  • Individual work

Background Knowledge

Students should have a basic knowledge of:

  • conservation
  • types of landforms
  • housing development
  • writing process

Terms and Concepts

  • Quarter
  • Reverse (back)
  • Obverse (front)
  • Badlands
  • Vegetation
  • Canyon
  • Ravine
  • Gully
  • Butte
  • Mesa
  • Proposal

Materials

  • One overhead projector or other classroom technology (optional)
  • One overhead transparency (or equivalent) of the America the Beautiful quarter reverse
  • Copies of the following:
    • "Theodore Roosevelt: Nature Lover" worksheet (one per student)
    • "A Place to Preserve" worksheet (one per student)
    • "Save this Place Proposal" worksheet (one per student)
    • "Save this Place Proposal" rubric (one per student)
  • One class map of the United States
  • Chart paper and markers
  • Locate excerpts from texts that give information about Theodore Roosevelt.
  • Locate quotes from texts by Theodore Roosevelt.
  • Locate Web sites that give information about Theodore Roosevelt and conservation.
  • Locate pictures of badlands.

Preparations

  • Make copies of the following:
    • "Theodore Roosevelt: Nature Lover" worksheet (one per student)
    • "A Place to Preserve" worksheet (one per student)
    • "Save this Place Proposal" worksheet (one per student)
    • "Save this Place Proposal" rubric (one per student)
  • Locate a text that gives basic information about Theodore Roosevelt (see examples under "Materials").
  • Locate quotes from texts by Theodore Roosevelt that demonstrate his love for nature and his ideas about conservation. (see examples under "Materials").
  • Make a chart of eight quotes by Theodore Roosevelt that demonstrate his love for nature.
  • Make a chart of eight quotes by Theodore Roosevelt that demonstrate his feelings about the importance of conservation.
  • Bookmark Internet sites that contain information about Theodore Roosevelt and national parks (see examples under "Materials").
  • Locate a list of National Parks near your location.

Worksheets

Worksheets and files (PDF)

Lesson Steps

SESSION #1

Step 1. Display and examine the Theodore Roosevelt National Park reverse quarter design.

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 on the back of the coin. Each design will focus on a different national site—one from each state, territory and the District of Columbia.

Step 2. 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 coin image depicts a young Theodore Roosevelt surveying the Badlands terrain at an area near the Little Missouri River. Tell the students that they are going to be learning about the special features of Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota.

Step 3. Ask the students to examine the coin image again. Explain to the students that the image displays a special kind of geography called Badlands. With the class, define Badlands, buttes, ravines, coulees and prairie floodplain.Explain to the students that early humans found this a difficult place to travel in. There is little water to drink and the buttes and ravines make moving through it slow and dangerous. Show students pictures of the Badlands. Ask students why they think this place is called "badlands". List student responses on chart paper. Share excerpts from texts that include Theodore Roosevelt's description of the Badlands.  Ask students to reexamine the coin image to note what landforms they see. Guide students to note the river, the hills in the background over Theodore Roosevelt's left shoulder, and the flat, prairie floodplain, or low-lying ground around the river. These were all features of the wilderness Theodore Roosevelt explored in the 1880s.

Step 4. Explain to students they are going to learn more about Theodore Roosevelt and his experiences with nature. Explain that as a young boy, Theodore Roosevelt loved playing outside, listening to birds, and collecting small animals. When he was 24, he visited the Badlands to hunt, and become a western rancher. Distribute the "Theodore Roosevelt: Nature Lover" worksheet to students. Explain that they will be making notes on the worksheet about Theodore Roosevelt and his relationship with nature based on what they learn from the selected text. Review the directions for the worksheet. Introduce the students to the selected text about Theodore Roosevelt. As a group, preview the text and illustrations to generate observations about what is occurring at different points in the text. Read the selected text to the class and attend to any unfamiliar vocabulary. As the text is read aloud, provide students time to make notes. After reading, ask students to turn to a partner and share one way that Theodore Roosevelt interacted with nature and one way they have personally interacted with nature.

Step 5. Display the chart of quotes by Theodore Roosevelt that demonstrate his love of nature. Read the quotes aloud and attend to any unfamiliar vocabulary. Ask students to work with a partner and choose one of the quotes from the chart to read, discuss, and illustrate together.  When all students have completed their illustrations, have students form groups based on the quote they chose. Allow the groups to present their illustrations and understanding of the quotes. Lead a class discussion on what these quotes tell the students about Theodore Roosevelt and his feelings about nature. List student responses on chart paper. Ask students to share what they like about nature.

SESSION #2

Step 1. Ask the students to examine the coin image again. Review the activities and discussions from the previous session. Ask students to share what they would do if they saw something they liked being wasted or destroyed. Explain that since Theodore Roosevelt loved nature, he worked hard to protect it. This type of protection is called conservation. Using information from websites, share Theodore Roosevelt's contributions to the conservation effort in the United States.

Step 2. Display the chart of quotes by Theodore Roosevelt that demonstrate his ideas about conservation. Read the quotes aloud and attend to any unfamiliar vocabulary. Allow time for students to read and order the quotes from one to eight with one being the quote that they feel best explains the importance of conservation to eight being the least.

Step 3. Divide the class into groups based on the quote they chose as their number one choice. Allow time for groups to discuss why they chose that quote and why it best explains the importance of conservation. Allow time for groups to share and defend their choices with the whole class. Share information about the closet national parks in your location. Ask students to think about an area of land in their neighborhood, town, or state that they would want to see saved from development for future generations. Distribute the "A Place to Preserve" worksheet to students. Assign homework in which the students have time to think about the place they want to preserve and to research and complete the "A Place to Preserve" worksheet.

SESSION #3

Step 1. Review the activities and discussions from the previous sessions and how Theodore Roosevelt helped to save special places by creating national forests, reserves, monuments and parks. Distribute the "Save this Place Proposal" worksheet to students. Explain to students that a proposal is a usually a written plan or suggestion put forward for consideration or discussion by others.  Distribute the "Save This Place Proposal" rubric. Review the rubric and writing process. Using the information from the previous session, allow time for students to complete the worksheet and type a final draft.

Step 2. Provide paper for students to draw a picture of their special place in nature.  Have the students complete the rubric when finished.

Step 3. Allow time for students to share their proposals and drawings.

Differentiated Learning Options

  • Allow students to dictate written responses on the worksheets.
  • Allow students to complete worksheets and proposals with a partner.
  • Provide students with sentence starters for their proposal.

Enrichments/Extensions

  • Have students research other famous conservationists such as Jeff Corwin, Jacques Cousteau, and Jane Goodall to compare their work to Theodore Roosevelt.
  • Have students compare the types of landforms found in other national parks.
  • Have students learn more about community service and philanthropy at another national park by visiting the 2012 Acadia National Park quarter lesson plan for grades 4-6.

Assess

  • Take anecdotal notes about the students' participation in class discussions.
  • Use the students' worksheets, anecdotal notes, and the "Save this Place Proposal" rubric to evaluate whether they have met the lesson objectives.

Common Core Standards

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.4 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade 4
Cluster: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
Standards:

  • RI.4.7. Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g., in charts, graphs, diagrams, time lines, animations, or interactive elements on Web pages) and explain how the information contributes to an understanding of the text in which it appears.
  • RI.4.8. Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text.
  • RI.4.9. Integrate information from two texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.5 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 4
Cluster: Research to Build and Present Knowledge
Standards:

  • W.5.7. Conduct short research projects that use several sources to build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.
  • W.5.8. Recall relevant information from experiences or gather relevant information from print and digital sources; summarize or paraphrase information in notes and finished work, and provide a list of sources.
  • W.5.9. Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
    • Apply grade 5 Reading standards to literature (e.g., "Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or a drama, drawing on specific details in the text [e.g., how characters interact]").
    • Apply grade 5 Reading standards to informational texts (e.g., "Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text, identifying which reasons and evidence support which point[s]").

National Standards

Discipline: Science
Domain: NGSS-4-6 Next Generation Science Standard
Cluster: Earth and Space Science Disciplinary Core Concepts
Grade(s): Grades 4–6
Standards:

  • ESS2.D: Weather and Climate
  • ESS3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems