The new Arkansas quarter uses several symbols to represent the diverse natural resources of the state. These resources are particular to their region of the United States. Using a Venn diagram, the students will compare and contrast the natural resources of Arkansas and Vermont, another state displaying natural resources on their quarter design. Then, the students will infer from their Venn diagrams (and using a map) how regions differ across the United States.
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Using the Venn Diagram handout, the students can compare the natural resources represented on the Arkansas and Vermont quarters. After completing the Venn Diagram, have students discuss their observations. Lead the class in a discussion, asking the students why natural resources might vary from state to state.
Have students look at a class map of the United States and discuss the location of Arkansas in comparison to Vermont. Ask students if they can observe any geographical reasons why the natural resources in Arkansas are not the same as those in Vermont. Students can now write a paragraph about why natural resources might vary from state to state, taking into consideration regional geographic factors.
Using a map and the new quarters, have students compare and contrast other states (including, of course, their own!) in different regions of the United States. For example, how would the resources of Kentucky and Massachusetts be similar and/or different? Have students research and develop a list of natural resources for the state they are examining. What key factors affect that state's natural resources?
The project described above reflects some of the national standards of learning as defined by the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), the National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE), and the International Society for Technology in Education. These standards are listed below:
Language Arts Standards
Demonstrate competence in the general skills and strategies of the writing process: The students will practice using a Venn diagram to find similarities and differences between two new quarters. The students will compose a well-written paragraph about the factors leading to natural resource variance between states.
Social Studies Standards
People, Places, and Environment: Students will explore the location of different states in the United States. They will also compare environments and natural resources among different states, looking for similarities and differences.