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Teacher Feature

Teacher Feature

Pix of the Park


Students will use the Shenandoah National Park quarter to learn about its geologic formations, flora, and fauna.  Students will demonstrate research skills and knowledge of art terms. 


Display the Shenandoah National Park quarter coloring page to show details of the coin image.  Tell the students that the quarter’s design features a day hiker taking in the view from Little Stony Man summit.  

Visit the America the Beautiful Quarters® Program page to find more information about the quarter and the park, including a map with the park’s location within the state of Virginia. 

Display the April Coin of the Month and read it as a class.  If possible, locate or create an enlarged map of Shenandoah National Park.  Identify and discuss specifics of Little Stony Man summit, the Appalachian Trail, and Skyline Drive with the students. 

Discuss the term "sketch."  Provide examples of sketches for the students and tell them they will complete five to eight sketches of items in Shenandoah National Park.  Their sketches must include at least one geological feature, one plant, and one animal; the rest are their choice and can include man-made features.  Use Little Stony Man summit as an exemplar for the students. 

Have the students choose one area of the park to focus on.  The students should take on the imaginary role of a day hiker exploring their chosen area. 

Have the students use available online and classroom resources to research park features in their area.  Have them use a graphic organizer to record examples of geologic formations, wildlife, and plants within the area.  Discuss the research findings as a class and record general information on chart paper. 

Have the students use their findings to create sketches of their chosen area accompanied by written or recorded descriptive summaries of the area.  The students should apply the results of their research and their knowledge of art terminology throughout the writing and sketching processes. 

Turn the classroom into an art gallery so others can enjoy these "pix of the park."  Challenge other students to use the enlarged map and the student summaries and sketches to locate each student’s portrayed area in the park. 

As an extension, have the students portray four versions of one of their sketches pinpointing the changes in the feature during each of the four seasons. 

Make a Connection

See the lesson plans that focus on the Shenandoah quarter: Mountain Museum (grades 2 and 3) and Hiking Proportion (7 and 8).  Or use the lesson plans search feature to locate other plans that relate to art, national parks, quarters, etc. 

Be sure to use all the America the Beautiful Quarters® Program lesson plans to explore the rich history of the states and of other national sites with your students.  There are more than 80 of these free downloadable lesson plans available for grades K through 12. 

Have students learn about important safety precautions for outdoor activities with the Safety First! lesson plan for grades 2 and 3. 

Invite students to analyze and choose items appropriate for a hiking trip with the Let’s Take A Hike lesson plan for grades 2 and 3. 

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