Researching the 50 State Quarters

cover of instructions

I like to use the states to research with different types of resources because there are fifty states, and I have never had more than fifty students at once, (48 once!) so every student can be working on a different state at the same time.  Besides reading for information, I like students to practice writing bibliography citations for different kinds of resources. I wanted them to research using the computers, but I don’t have enough computers for everyone to work on at once, so I decided to print out information from the internet for them to use. Information about the state quarters is not information readily available in books, encyclopedias or almanacs, so it is a good subject for internet research.  Plus, nearly every class has a least one student whose family collects state quarters, so I was hoping it would be a high-interest subject too.

I printed out information for each state quarter from World Book Online, which my school has a subscription to, but I found a really nice print out from the U.S. Mint, which you can get here. I made sure the bibliography citation was on every sheet, and I laminated each one.

powerpoint sample

I introduce this lesson with a PowerPoint presentation that describes the program and how to write a bibliography citation from the Internet.  Then I give them the booklet to record their research. This is a full page booklet, folded in half and placed on two boxes in the lapbook. The book takes three pages of paper and provides space to research ten quarters. You certainly can put more or less pages in the book.

Cover of Book

Cover of Book

thumbnail sample page

Students randomly select a laminated copy of the state quarter print outs and take it back to their seats to start researching. They draw a picture of the quarter in the box, find three facts about the quarter to write and copy down the bibliography citation. The facts about the quarter should talk about the symbols on the quarter and why they were chosen to include in the design.  When they finish, they exchange their print out for another state quarter, until they have filled out all the pages of their book.

Another lesson I use with the state quarters requires using the atlas. Students glue the unlabeled United States Map on the back of their lapbook. Gluing a paper to the back of the lapbook really makes the lapbook sturdier, besides providing a lesson. On the PowerPoint presentation, I have a chart with the years each state quarter was released. Students need to use an atlas to locate the state, make a key on their map for each year, and color each state released that year. For instance, Nevada, Nebraska, Colorado, North Dakota, and South Dakota all had their quarters released in 2006. So in the key, the box next to 2006 is colored red, and then the student finds those five states in the atlas, locates them on his unlabeled map and colors them all red.  I’ve seen students using different strategies for this. Some start in California, find the year in the chart, color it and work their way across the United States. Some students use the chart and find all the states for each year, locate each one on the map and color them.

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So, students practice reading a chart, using an atlas, reading a map, using a key and finally end up with a colorful map on the back of their lapbook.

To purchase the PowerPoint presentation, the booklet and the map, go to my TPT store.