F is for Forest Communities


Students will learn about forest communities and the plants and animals that live in such communities in our National Parks. Students will create a picture on the computer identifying a plant or animal found in the forest of a National Park.

Coin Type(s)

  • Quarter

Coin Program(s)

  • America the Beautiful Quarters


Students will identify and sort different plants and animals that live in a forest.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Science

Minor/supporting Subject Area Connections

  • Technology


  • K
  • 1st

Class Time

  • Sessions: Two
  • Session Length: 20-30 minutes
  • Total Length: 46-90 minutes


  • Whole group
  • Individual work

Terms and Concepts

  • National Parks
  • Forest
  • Community
  • Habitat
  • Plants
  • Animals


  • Copies of the following:
  • 1 copy of a text that gives information about a forest
  • Markers
  • Scissors
  • Crayons
  • Glue sticks
  • Computer
  • Digital drawing software



Project Plan Guide

Lesson Steps

  1. Describe the America the Beautiful Quarters® Program for background information. Tell the students that the back of a coin is called the reverse, and "obverse" is another name for the front.  With the students, examine each of the five 2010 quarter designs.  Locate each of the depicted sites on a class map.  Answer any student questions.
  2. Read aloud and discuss a selected text about forests or display and discuss the information about national parks and forests at www.nps.gov/olym/naturescience/forests.htm.
  3. Using the pictures from the Grand Canyon National Park Web site at www.nps.gov/grca/forteachers/upload/Web%20Of%20Life-4perPage.pdf, distribute a picture to each student.  Have the students sort themselves into "plants" or "animals."
  4. Using the "What Am I?" worksheet, have the students sort the pictures under the headings "Plants" or "Animals."
  5. For homework, have the students read the "Yellowstone Animal Alphabet Book" with their parents at www.nps.gov/yell/forkids/yellowstoneanimalalphabetbook.htm.
  6. Review the information about plants, animals, and forests from the previous lesson.  Display and discuss the link to Yosemite National Park Forest Communities at www.nps.gov/yose/naturescience/index.htm.
  7. Allow time for the students to choose a plant or animal from the bookmarked Yosemite National Park sites.  Using drawing software, have the students create a forest scene with their plant or animal included in the picture or use the "I Belong in the Forest" worksheet.  Allow the students to share their completed picture.

Differentiated Learning Options

  • Provide pre-cut pictures for the students for the "Who Am I?" worksheet.
  • Allow students to work with a partner.


Have students visit the University of Illinois Extension Web site to go on a virtual walk through the woods at urbanext.illinois.edu/woods/.


Use the students' class participation, worksheets/computer sorting, and "I Belong in the Forest" page to evaluate whether they have met the lesson objectives.

Common Core Standards

This lesson plan is not associated with any Common Core Standards.

National Standards

Discipline: Technology
Domain: All Creativity and Innovation
Cluster: Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology.
Grade(s): Grades K–12

  • Apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes
  • Create original works as a means of personal or group expression
  • Use models and simulations to explore complex systems and issues
  • Identify trends and forecast possibilities