Educators across the nation have another tool in their arsenal thanks to the United States Mint’s new lesson plans relating to the America the Beautiful Quarters™ Program which debuted earlier this year.
With the first set of these plans recently announced by the U.S. Mint, students in grades kindergarten through 12 can get up close and personal with the five new quarters released in 2010 along with the sites they represent. These include:
- Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas
- Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming
- Yosemite National Park in Yellowstone
- Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona
- Mount Hood National Forest in Oregon
According to the Mint, the new lesson plans are an improvement on what they have offered in the past. Each one is delivered in an interactive format that the Mint describes as "easier to read and customized for students." Also, the plans offer different delivery mechanisms such as one computer per classroom, one computer per student, or even the old-school method of pen and paper without the benefit of a computer. All of these make them ideal for teachers to easily role them into their core curriculum.
The America the Beautiful Quarters Program is a new 11-year series of quarter dollars very similar to the Mint’s recent 50-State Quarter Program. Like that program and the more recent 2009 District of Columbia & US Territories Quarters Program, each state in the union along with Washington, D.C. and the five United States Territories (Guam, US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Northern Mariana Islands and American Samoa) are all featured. (See quarters schedule or the quarter sites map.)
However, this program is unique in the fact that the designs featured on the reverse of the coins must showcase a site of national interest such as a national park, national forest, national monument, etc. This gives educators the opportunity to not only teach about the selected state but also about the site and the history behind it.
The Mint offers this example:
"The new lesson plan for kindergarten and first grade is called "Memories from Parks." With this plan, teachers introduce the concept of writing. Students will research the national parks and sites honored in a particular year. They will take a virtual visit to the parks, and design and write a virtual postcard or create a virtual scrapbook of their trip."
Along with these new lesson plans, the Mint also redesigned its Educator Pages to offer better content to the teachers. Some of the changes include a central information space, classroom gadgets (with features such as timers and card generators) and Trivia Treasures (a database of coin related facts useful in planning additional lessons).
All of these opportunities are provided in response to the Mint’s H.I.P. Pocket Change Program which launched in 1999 and is based on former President Clinton’s mandate to "enrich the Internet as a learning tool." Through this program, the Mint hopes to spark an interest in coins and the history behind them.
Anyone interested in using the new America the Beautiful Quarters Lesson Plans or any of the other educational opportunities provided by the Mint can find them on the Mint’s website at http://www.usmint.gov/kids/teachers/lessonPlans/atb/ .