What are the Reasons?: Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park


Students will analyze the relationships between ecosystems and human activity and the factors that threaten or enhance species survival.

Coin Type(s)

  • Quarter

Coin Program(s)

  • America the Beautiful Quarters


Students will analyze the relationships between ecosystems and human activity and the factors that threaten or enhance species survival.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Science


  • 7th
  • 8th

Class Time

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


  • Whole group
  • Individual work

Terms and Concepts

  • Ecosystems
  • Species
  • Survival
  • Endangered


  • Internet
  • Related worksheets
  • Art supplies


  • Print out and copy related worksheets.
  • Create a rubric including the headings "Accuracy of Information," "Making Connections," "Use of Graphics," "Correct use of labels," "Organization," and "Attractiveness."
  • Bookmark related Web sites such as:


Worksheets and files (PDF)

Lesson Steps

  1. Display and examine the Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park 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. Explain there are many species of animals and plants that live in the Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. Despite their protected status, many of the species, including the Hawaiian petrel and the hawksbill turtle, are facing serious threats from nature and man. Review the definition of the terms "threatened," "endangered," and "extinct."
  3. Invite the students to visit the Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park and the El Yunque National Forest Web sites and research the threats to the different species. As a class and using the "What Are the Reasons" graphic organizer, compare the reasons for protected status of the animals and plants in these two national sites.
  4. Distribute the rubric for the final project. Have the students design a poster to inform and warn people about the reasons for the protected status of the species covered in the graphic organizer.
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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.
  • Use the rubric to evaluate the final project.

Common Core Standards

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

National Standards

Discipline: Science
Domain: 5-8 Content Standards
Cluster: Life Science
Grade(s): Grades 5–8

  • Structure and function in living systems
  • Reproduction and heredity
  • Regulation and behavior
  • Populations and ecosystems
  • Diversity and adaptations of organisms