Representing the National Parks and Forest


In many businesses and organizations, people often give presentations to show information about projects or events, sell a product or idea, or give information to the public, often including graphs because they visually display data to highlight relationships in the data. Students research and design graphs to compare national sites depicted on the 2010 America the Beautiful Quarters Program coins.

Coin Type(s)

  • Quarter

Coin Program(s)

  • America the Beautiful Quarters


  • Students, given a problem situation, will collect, organize, display, and interpret data from a variety of graphs.
  • Students will collect data using research, observations, surveys, and experiments.
  • Students will represent data using tables and graphs such as line plots, bar graphs, circle graphs, and line graphs
  • Students will and recognize different types of data.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Math

Minor/supporting Subject Area Connections

  • Technology


  • 4th
  • 5th
  • 6th

Class Time

  • Sessions: Two
  • Session Length: 45-60 minutes
  • Total Length: 91-120 minutes


  • Whole group
  • Individual work

Background Knowledge

Spreadsheet software

Terms and Concepts

  • Obverse
  • Reverse
  • Data
  • National park
  • National forest
  • Acreage
  • Budget
  • Graph
  • Bar graph
  • Line graph
  • Circle graph
  • Line plot



Print out and copy relevant worksheets (1 per student)

Lesson Steps

  1. Explain to the students that our country has many beautiful national parks and forests.  Have the students brainstorm some examples of sites they have visited or heard about.
  2. Introduce the students to the America the Beautiful Quarters® Program by visiting  Tell the students that the back of a coin is called the reverse, and "obverse" is another name for the front.
  3. With the students, examine each of the five 2010 quarter designs.  Discuss who is on the obverse of the quarters.  Discuss the sites depicted on the reverse of the quarters.  Locate each of the sites on a class map.  Answer any student questions.
  4. Visit the Web site for one of the national sites.  Have the students list some categories of information they see on the site.  Introduce the idea that information is known as data.
  5. Discuss some of the ways that data can be represented.  Review the different types of graphs that can be used to display data.  Review the types of graphs and which types of data are most appropriate for each one.
  6. Explain to the students that they will be researching and recording data related to national sites from the America the Beautiful Quarters® Program and present this data in the form of an appropriate graph.
  7. Display and review with the students the "Park and Forest Data Collection" worksheet.  Have the students choose the four categories they want to research and list them in the appropriate box on the worksheet.  Using Internet resources, allow the students time to research and record the data from the various sites.
  8. Display and review the "Representing the National Parks and Forest Rubric."  Review the use of spreadsheet software and creating graphs using this software.  Allow students time to create their graphs using the software.
  9. Review the options for presenting the graphs by displaying the project plan sheet.  Allow students time to create and share their presentations.

Differentiated Learning Options

  • Work as a class to practice the process of collecting data and selecting an appropriate graph.
  • Have students work in pairs to complete their research and/or graphs.

Technology Extensions

Have the students do an original multimedia presentation highlighting the key points for each area.


Use the "Representing the National Parks and Forest Rubric" to evaluate whether the students have met the lesson objectives.

Common Core Standards

Discipline: Math
Domain: 4.MD Measurement and Data
Grade(s): Grade 4
Cluster: Represent and interpret data

  • 4.MD.4. Make a line plot to display a data set of measurements in fractions of a unit (1/2, 1/4, 1/8). Solve problems involving addition and subtraction of fractions by using information presented in line plots. For example, from a line plot find and interpret the difference in length between the longest and shortest specimens in an insect collection.

National Standards

Discipline: Mathematics
Domain: 3-5 Data Analysis and Probability
Cluster: Formulate questions that can be addressed with data and collect, organize, and display relevant data to answer them.
Grade(s): Grades 3–5

In grades 3–5 all students should

  • design investigations to address a question and consider how data-collection methods affect the nature of the data set;
  • collect data using observations, surveys, and experiments;
  • represent data using tables and graphs such as line plots, bar graphs, and line graphs; and
  • recognize the differences in representing categorical and numerical data.