Tally Up!: Denali National Park and Preserve


Students will demonstrate an understanding of tally marks.

Coin Type(s)

  • Quarter

Coin Program(s)

  • America the Beautiful Quarters


Students will demonstrate an understanding of tally marks.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Math


  • K
  • 1st

Class Time

  • Sessions: One
  • Session Length: 20-30 minutes
  • Total Length: 0-45 minutes


  • Whole group
  • Individual work

Background Knowledge


Terms and Concepts

Tally mark


  • Related worksheets
  • Related Web sites
  • A quarter to flip, unless you use the online "Coin Toss" Classroom Gadget



Worksheets and files (PDF)

Lesson Steps

  1. Display and examine the Denali National Park and Preserve quarter design. Locate this site on a class map. 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.
  2. While looking at the image of the quarter, ask the students how they could keep track of the number of letters in the words "ALASKA" and "DENALI." Tell the students that tally marks are used to keep track of the number of items you have.
  3. Read aloud a text that gives information about tally marks.
  4. Model for the students how to make tally marks by flipping quarters and recording on chart paper whether the quarter lands on "heads" or "tails." Show the students how to make groups of five tally marks. Demonstrate how to count using tally marks and count the total number of tally marks.
  5. Look at the America the Beautiful quarter images for 2010 and 2011 and tally how many quarters have animals and how many quarters do not have animals.
  6. Display the Denali National Park photo page of animals at www.nps.gov/media/photo/gallery.htm?id=36106C88-1DD8-B71C-077DEFF02AB3189D. Have students work with a partner to tally animals with fur and animals with feathers.
  7. Have students work with a partner to create a survey. Have them compose a question and three possible answers and then survey the class, then record the responses using tally marks.

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  • Take anecdotal notes about the students' participation in class discussions.
  • Evaluate the students' surveys for understanding of the lesson objectives.

Common Core Standards

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

National Standards

Discipline: Mathematics
Domain: K-2 Number and Operations
Cluster: Compute fluently and make reasonable estimates.
Grade(s): Grades K–2

In K through grade 2 all students should

  • develop and use strategies for whole-number computations, with a focus on addition and subtraction;
  • develop fluency with basic number combinations for addition and subtraction; and
  • use a variety of methods and tools to compute, including objects, mental computation, estimation, paper and pencil, and calculators.