What Is Special About Me


The students will view photos of animals from the National Parks Service web sites and identify similarities and differences between pairs of animals. They will then select a project to do.

Coin Type(s)

  • Quarter

Coin Program(s)

  • America the Beautiful Quarters


Students will research animals at specific national sites and compare the physical features of those animals that help them survive.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Science

Minor/supporting Subject Area Connections

  • Technology


  • 2nd
  • 3rd

Class Time

  • Sessions: Five
  • Session Length: 30-45 minutes
  • Total Length: 151-500 minutes


  • Whole group
  • Individual work

Terms and Concepts

  • National site
  • National park
  • National forest
  • National seashore
  • National battlefield
  • National Park Service
  • Climate
  • Wildlife
  • Species
  • Same
  • Different
  • Animal
  • Feature
  • Survive


  • Internet access
  • Materials to create brochure, poster, card game, or other final project (construction paper, poster board, markers, colored pencils, glue, etc.)
  • Chart "What is Same or Different" copied onto white board or poster paper
  • "Same or Different" worksheet


  • Help the students with descriptive words throughout the lesson by using a word wall with useful example words.
  • In advance, select two animals from one of the national sites and research their characteristics to use as examples to guide the students in their work...such as the two named on the worksheet.
  • Print out and copy the related worksheets and rubric (below, 1 per student)
  • Bookmark relevant sites such as:
  • Provide examples of posters or brochures for the final project.

Lesson Steps

  1. Describe the America the Beautiful Quarters Program to provide background information.  Explain that the back of a coin is called the reverse and the front is called the obverse.
  2. Have the students examine both sides of the coins on the US Mint Web Site.  Using a class map, direct the students to locate each of the 2010 sites.
  3. Guide the students through a discussion on animals at one of the selected National Sites.
  4. Show the students photos of two animals from one of the National Parks Service web sites and have the students generate a list of the physical characteristics that the selected animals have in common and a list of the characteristics that the animals do not share on the class chart.  For example, if the animals were a rabbit and a mountain goat, the students might list long ears, four legs, and fur as characteristics in common.  They could list horns and possibly hooves as features that are different.
  5. Ask the students to share how some of these characteristics might help the animal survive where they live.
  6. Have the students research animals online and compare their features on the "Same or Different" worksheet.
  7. Have the students use their knowledge of similar and different characteristics to complete a project highlighting those features. Offer the option to produce a poster, a brochure, or a card game about their animal or animals and their characteristics

Differentiated Learning Options

  • Allow the students to work in pairs to research the national sites or create their products.
  • Teachers may help the students by pre-selecting the animals for comparison and generating sentence starters to help the students describe the features.
  • Provide templates for the students to use in completing their selected project.


  • Use the students' class participation, research, worksheets, and final products to evaluate whether they have met the lesson objectives.
  • Use the rubric to evaluate student performance on the project they select.

Common Core Standards

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

National Standards

Discipline: Science
Domain: K-4 Content Standards
Cluster: Science and Technology
Grade(s): Grades K–4

  • Technological design ability
  • Understand science and technology
  • Ability to distinguish between natural objects and objects made by humans