I See a Great Blue Heron!

Summary

Students will gather and categorize information about the animal and plant species found in Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. Students will create an illustrated scavenger hunt of living things to observe for visitors in Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.

Coin Type(s)

  • Quarter

Coin Program(s)

  • America the Beautiful Quarters

Objectives

Students will gather and categorize information about the animal and plant species found in Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. Students will create an illustrated scavenger hunt of living things to observe for visitors in Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Language Arts
  • Science

Minor/supporting Subject Area Connections

  • Language Arts
  • Science

Grades

  • 2nd
  • 3rd

Class Time

  • Sessions: Three
  • Session Length: 30-45 minutes
  • Total Length: 91-120 minutes

Background Knowledge

Students should have a basic knowledge of:

  • Plants and animals
  • Environments

Terms and Concepts

  • Quarter
  • Reverse (back)
  • Obverse (front)
  • Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
  • Species

Materials

  • 1 overhead projector or equivalent other classroom technology (optional)
  • 1 overhead transparency (or photocopy) of the following:
    • "Harpers Ferry National Historical Park Quarter Reverse" page
    • "I See Example" worksheet
  • Copies of the following:
    • "Seeing Species in Harpers Ferry" worksheet
    • "I See Guide to Harpers Ferry" worksheet
    • "Visitor Guide Checklist" worksheet
    • "I See Reflection" worksheet
  • Access to age-appropriate websites that provide images and information about plants and animals species found in Harpers Ferry National Historical Park including an image of a Great Blue Heron for the exemplar exercise
  • United States class map             
  • Chart paper
  • Markers
  • Pencils
  • Crayons
  • Internet access

Preparations

  • Make an overhead transparency (or photocopy) of the following:
    • "Harpers Ferry National Historical Park Quarter Reverse" page
    • "I See Example" worksheet
  • Make copies of the following:
    • "Seeing Species in Harpers Ferry" worksheet (5 per pair)
    • "I See Guide to Harpers Ferry" worksheet (2 per student)
    • "Visitor Guide Checklist" worksheet (1 per pair)
    • "I See Reflection" worksheet (1 per student)
  • Bookmark Internet sites that provide images and information about Harpers Ferry National Historical Park (see examples under "Materials").
  • Arrange to use school computers.

Worksheets

Worksheets and files (PDF)

Lesson Steps

SESSION 1

  1. Describe the America the Beautiful Quarters® Program for background information.  The program is described at /learn/coin-and-medal-programs/america-the-beautiful-quarters.  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 2016 quarter designs.  Locate each of this year's sites on a class map.  Answer any student questions.
  2. Display and examine the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park Quarter design. Locate this site in West Virginia 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.
  3. Ask the students to examine the coin image and tell you what they see in this image. Explain to the students that the image represents a famous event in American history that took place soon before the Civil War. Tell the students: A few years before the Civil War, there lived an American named John Brown. He was an abolitionist (someone who wanted to abolish slavery).  John Brown led a rebellion against slavery at the fort displayed on this coin.  
  4. Explain to the students that in addition to being an important location in American history, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park has a wide variety of interesting animal and plant species. Tell the students that species means a type of living things with specific characteristics. Record both the term and definition on chart paper.
  5. Tell the students that they will be researching to find out what kinds of plant and animal species visitors might see on a visit to Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. Explain that they will use their researched information to create an "I See" game for park visitors. Discuss student experiences with "I See" games and play briefly as a group in the classroom. In this game, the teacher gives a clue about an object they can see in an "I See" format and the students try to guess what the object is such as, "I see something that is yellow." Additional clues can also be given such as, "It is long and skinny and has a sharp point." Students would be given chances until they guess a pencil.
  6. Display the "I See Example" worksheet for students and discuss the features. Note that the example provides three clues and a realistic image of the great blue heron.
  7. Divide students into pairs to conduct research and create the "I See" visitor guides. Distribute the "Seeing Species in Harpers Ferry" worksheets to each pair of students. Explain to the students that they will be accessing bookmarked websites to learn about the plant and animal species found in Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. Guide students to select at least 10 species including a variety of plants and animals. For each species selected, students should record at least 3 interesting facts. Students may need to access additional websites to learn more about the plants and animals they select. Pairs may need multiple copies of this worksheet depending on how much information they collect about each species.
  8. Explain to the students that in the next session they will be using their notes to create the guides for visitors to Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.

SESSION 2

  1. Display the image of the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park Quarter reverse. Review with the students the material covered in the previous session. Invite students to share some of the interesting plant and animal species they discovered on their virtual tours of the park.
  2. Tell the students that each pair will use their notes on the "Seeing Species in Harpers Ferry" worksheet to create a guide for potential visitors in the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. Visitors would be able to use the guide to look for specific plant and animal species and then check then off as they find them.
  3. Distribute the "I See Guide to Harpers Ferry" and the "Visitor Guide Checklist" worksheets to students. Explain all directions and use the rubric to clarify expectations.

SESSION 3

  1. Display the image of the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park Quarter reverse. Review with the students the material covered in the previous sessions.
  2. Allow the students time to share with peers the "I See Guide to Harpers Ferry" that they created for visitors.
  3. Allow each pair to present one of their favorite species and allow the class to guess the plant or animal being described.
  4. Distribute the "I See Reflection" worksheet to students and allow time to respond.

Differentiated Learning Options

  • Allow students to dictate written responses on the worksheets.
  • Allow students to complete worksheets and products with a partner.
  • Provide pre-written statements for students to match with plant and animal species.

Enrichments/Extensions

  • Have students create visitor guides in the same style for other national sites.
  • Have students conduct detailed research about the characteristics and adaptations of one animal found in Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.
  • Have students learn more about the life needs and adaptations of plants and animals by visiting Montana quarter lesson plan for grades 2 and 3 found at "Can You Adapt?"
  • Have students learn about plants and animals in a different environment by visiting the Arizona quarter lesson plan for grades 2 and 3 found at "Desert Dwellers"

Assess

  • Take anecdotal notes about the students' participation in class discussions.
  • Use the students' worksheets, completed visitor guides, and the "Visitor Guide Checklist" worksheet to evaluate whether they have met 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.

National Standards

Discipline: Science
Domain: NGSS-2-3 Next Generation Science Standard
Cluster: Life Science Disciplinary Core Concepts
Grade(s): Grades 2–3
Standards:

  • 2LS4-1 Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats. 

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: All Language Arts Standards
Cluster: Applying Strategies to Writing
Grade(s): Grades 2–3
Standards:

  • Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.

Discipline: Visual Arts and Music
Domain: K-4 Visual Arts
Cluster: Standard 4: Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures
Grade(s): Grades 2–3
Standards:

  • Students know that the visual arts have both a history and specific relationships to various cultures
  • Students identify specific works of art as belonging to particular cultures, times, and places
  • Students demonstrate how history, culture, and the visual arts can influence each other in making and studying works of art