Oh, the Life of a Tree


Starting with the Great Basin National Park quarter, students will identify natural resources. Students will understand the life cycle of a tree.

Coin Type(s)

  • Quarter

Coin Program(s)

  • America the Beautiful Quarters


  • Starting with the Great Basin National Park quarter, students will identify natural resources.
  • Students will understand the life cycle of a tree.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Language Arts
  • Science

Minor/supporting Subject Area Connections

  • Art


  • K
  • 1st

Class Time

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


  • Whole group
  • Individual work


  • Worksheets:
    • "Great Basin National Park Quarter"
    • "Oh, the Life of a Tree—Base"
    • "Oh, the Life of a Tree—Images"
  • Age-appropriate, relevant Web sites, such as:


  • Copy necessary materials.
  • Bookmark relevant Web sites (see "Materials").


Worksheets and files (PDF)

Lesson Steps

  1. Display and examine the "Great Basin National Park Quarter" page. or the image at www.usmint.gov/mint_programs/atb/?local=GreatBasin. Locate Great Basin National Park on a class map. Note its position in relation to your school's location.  Tell the students that the front of a coin is called the "obverse" and the back is called the "reverse." 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 reverse.  Each design will focus on a different national site—one from each state territory and the District of Columbia.
  2. Discuss the design of the coin and identify the tree on the coin as the Bristlecone Pine tree. Tell the students that these trees grow in rocky, glacial areas and some of the oldest of these trees are located in Great Basin National Park.
  3. Discuss and identify the natural resources that come from trees as well as the many uses of a tree. Record student responses on a class chart.
  4. Discuss life cycles. Have the students identify some life cycles that they know of, such as those of a frog or plant. Read aloud a text about the life cycle of a tree.  Discuss what trees need to live and grow and the stages of the life cycle of a tree.
  5.  Introduce the students to the "Oh, The Life of a Tree" worksheets. Tell the students that they are to complete the worksheets by cutting out and pasting, in order, the illustrations of the life cycle of a tree, then tracing the labels under the images. Review the worksheets as a class.
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  • Take anecdotal notes about the students' participation in class discussions.
  • Evaluate the students' worksheets and projects for understanding of the lesson objectives.

Common Core Standards

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: L.K Language
Grade(s): Grade K
Cluster: Conventions of Standard English

  • L.K.1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
    • Print many upper- and lowercase letters.
    • Use frequently occurring nouns and verbs.
    • Form regular plural nouns orally by adding /s/ or /es/ (e.g., dog, dogs; wish, wishes).
    • Understand and use question words (interrogatives) (e.g., who, what, where, when, why, how).
    • Use the most frequently occurring prepositions (e.g., to, from, in, out, on, off, for, of, by, with).
    • Produce and expand complete sentences in shared language activities.
  • L.K.2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
    • Capitalize the first word in a sentence and the pronoun I.
    • Recognize and name end punctuation.
    • Write a letter or letters for most consonant and short-vowel sounds (phonemes).
    • Spell simple words phonetically, drawing on knowledge of sound-letter relationships.

National Standards

This lesson plan is not associated with any National Standards.