Of Frogs and Parrots: El Yunque National Forest


Students will analyze how geography and ecology influence a region's wildlife.

Coin Type(s)

  • Quarter

Coin Program(s)

  • America the Beautiful Quarters


Students will analyze how geography and ecology influence a region's wildlife.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Social Studies
  • Science

Minor/supporting Subject Area Connections

  • Technology
  • Art


  • 9th
  • 10th
  • 11th
  • 12th

Class Time

  • Sessions: Three
  • Session Length: 45-60 minutes
  • Total Length: 121-150 minutes


  • Whole group
  • Individual work

Terms and Concepts

  • Geography
  • Ecology


  • Images of El Yunque National Forest
  • Internet
  • Art supplies
  • Worksheets



Worksheets and files (PDF)

Lesson Steps

  1. Review the basic geographic concepts that apply to this lesson.
  2. 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. Display and examine the El Yunque National Forest quarter design, focusing on the coqui tree frog and Amazona Vittata, the Puerto Rican parrot. Locate El Yunque National Forest on a map of Puerto Rico.
  4. Generate observations about the geography and climate of the area. Have the students predict the types of animals, insects, and birds that would be part of the ecosystem of this rainforest.
  5. Introduce the students to a virtual field trip to Puerto Rico by projecting pictures of El Yunque National Forest. Divide the class into three groups and assign each a separate research area: "The Rainforest El Yunque," "Disappearing Parrots," and "Raining Frogs." Have each group submit a summary and colored illustrations.
  6. Create a classroom scrap book or multimedia presentation. Compile the presentations and give each student a copy of the final product.
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  • Take anecdotal notes about the students' participation in class discussions.
  • Evaluate the students' worksheets and project for their understanding of the lesson objectives.

Common Core Standards

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

National Standards

Discipline: Social Studies
Domain: All Disciplinary Standards
Cluster: Geography
Grade(s): Grades K–12

Teachers should:

  • guide learners in the use of maps and other geographic representations, tools, and technologies to acquire, process, and report information from a spatial perspective
  • enable learners to use mental maps to organize information about people, places, and environments in a spatial context
  • assist learners to analyze the spatial information about people, places, and environments on Earth’s surface
  • help learners to understand the physical and human characteristics of places
  • assist learners in developing the concept of regions as a means to interpret Earth’s complexity
  • enable learners to understand how culture and experience influence people’s perceptions of places and regions
  • provide learners opportunities to understand and analyze the physical processes that shape Earth’s surface
  • challenge learners to consider the characteristics and spatial distribution of ecosystems on Earth’s surface
  • guide learners in exploring the characteristics, distribution, and migration of human populations on Earth’s surface
  • help learners to understand and analyze the characteristics, distribution, and complexity of Earth’s cultural mosaics
  • have learners explore the patterns and networks of economic interdependence on Earth’s surface
  • enable learners to describe the processes, patterns, and functions of human settlement
  • challenge learners to examine how the forces of cooperation and conflict among people influence the division and control of Earth’s surface; help learners see how human actions modify the physical environment
  • enable learners to analyze how physical systems affect human systems
  • challenge learners to examine the changes that occur in the meaning, use, distribution, and importance of resources
  • help learners to apply geography to interpret the past and present and to plan for the future
  • enhance learners’ abilities to ask questions and to acquire, organize, and analyze geographic information so they can answer geographic questions as they engage in the study of substantive geographic content

Discipline: Science
Domain: 9-12 Content Standards
Cluster: Life Science
Grade(s): Grades K–12

  • The cell
  • Molecular basis of heredity
  • Biological evolution
  • Interdependence of organisms
  • Matter, energy, and organization in living systems
  • Behavior of organisms