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Using Your Senses

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Summary

Students will read an age-appropriate text to learn about the woman featured on Alabama’s quarter reverse, Helen Keller. They will also conduct a science exploration of the five senses.

Coin Type(s)

  • Quarter

Coin Program(s)

  • 50 State Quarters

Objectives

  • Students will read an age-appropriate text to learn about the woman featured on Alabama’s quarter reverse, Helen Keller.
  • They will also conduct a science exploration of the five senses.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Language Arts
  • Science
  • Social Studies

Grades

  • Kindergarten
  • First grade

Class Time

Sessions: Two
Session Length: 20-30 minutes
Total Length: 46-90 minutes

Groupings

  • Whole group
  • Small groups

Background Knowledge

Students should have a basic knowledge of the five senses.

Terms and Concepts

  • Reverse (back)
  • Helen Keller
  • Blind
  • Deaf
  • Courage
  • Brave
  • Braille
  • The five senses (sight, smell, touch, taste, and hearing)

Materials

  • 1 overhead projector (optional)
  • 1 overhead transparency (or photocopy) of the Alabama quarter reverse
  • 1 class map of the United States of America
  • 1 copy of an age-appropriate text that relates to the life of Helen Keller, such as:
    • Young Helen Keller: Woman of Courage by Anne Benjamin
    • A Picture Book of Helen Keller by David A. Adler
    • A Girl Named Helen Keller by Margo Lundell
    • Helen Keller: Courage in the Dark by Johanna Hurwitz
  • Chart paper
  • Markers
  • 1 set of headphones per student (optional)
  • 4 paper bags per group of students
  • Small items to place in the paper bags (1 item per bag), such as:
    • Coins
    • Pine cones
    • Cotton balls
    • Peppermint, cinnamon stick, or, if necessary, other items that are recognizable but not allergenic to your students
    • Dominoes
    • Batteries
    • Checker pieces
  • Copies of the “What’s in the Bag” worksheet
  • Copies of “The Spirit of Courage” worksheet

Preparations

  • Make an overhead transparency (or photocopy) of the Alabama quarter reverse.
  • Locate a text that relates to the life of Helen Keller (see examples under “Materials”).
  • Make copies of the “What’s in the Bag?” worksheet (1 copy per student).
  • Make copies of “The Spirit of Courage” worksheet (1 copy per student).
  • Number the bags from 1 to 4.
  • Put an item in each bag, making sure that bags with the same number contain the same objects.

Worksheets and Files

Lesson plan, worksheet(s), and rubric (if any) at www.usmint.gov/kids/teachers/lessonPlans/pdf/229.pdf.

Session 1

  1. Describe the 50 State Quarters® Program for background information, if necessary, using the example of your own state, if available. Then display the transparency or photocopy of the Alabama quarter reverse. Locate Alabama on a classroom map. Note its position in relation to your school’s location.
  2. With the students, examine the design on this coin’s reverse. Ask students to point out what they see on this coin, paying particular attention to the image of Helen Keller, the braille writing, and the words “Spirit of Courage.” Ask students if they know who the woman is on the coin.
  3. Select an appropriate children’s text about the life of Helen Keller and, as a group, preview the text and illustrations. Invite students to generate predictions about what is occurring at different points in the story.
  4. Read this story aloud to the group. During the reading attend to any unfamiliar vocabulary.

Session 2 (and 3 if necessary)

  1. With the students, revisit the story about Helen Keller. In discussing the loss of Helen Keller’s sight and hearing, ask students if they’ve ever been in a dark place where there was very little light. How were they able to find their way around? Students should mention the use of different senses to move through the room.
    Note: This is a good opportunity to introduce or review the 5 senses with students.
  2. Discuss whether students have ever known anyone who is missing their vision or hearing. Explain that the class will explore what senses could be relied on if the sense of sight or hearing couldn’t be used.
  3. Divide the students into groups of four and assign each group to a science station.
  4. At the science stations, distribute four numbered paper bags, each containing a different item (ideas for these items are listed in the Materials section). Each group’s bags should contain the same items.
  5. Distribute a “What’s in the Bag?” worksheet, and a set of headphones to each student. Explain that the students will close their eyes and wear the headphones as they make observations about the items in the paper bags to make use of their senses other than sight and hearing.
    Note: At this point, introduce the idea that in a science exploration like this, one should never use the sense of taste, because the item may not be good for your body.
  6. Using an item not utilized in the science stations, model how students are to make observations.
  7. Give students a short period of time to fill in their observations of each item on their worksheet, and alert them when it is time to rotate their bag to the next student in the group.
    Note: Beginning writers may need to employ inventive spelling or illustrations to describe what is in the bag.
  8. When students have made observations of the items in all four bags, review the observation sheets as a class. Ask students what they wrote in each blank.
  9. After discussing student guesses, reveal the items in the bags one at a time. Have the students draw a picture of what was in each bag on their worksheets.
  10. As a group discuss the five senses and adaptations people make to compensate for missing senses.
  11. Revisit the Alabama quarter and look at the words that say “Spirit of Courage.” Prompt students to think about the difficulty of the exploration they just conducted and discuss why Helen Keller is considered courageous.
  12. As a class, discuss times when students feel they were brave. List responses on the board.
  13. Distribute the “Spirit of Courage” worksheet and have students choose a time when they were brave. Have them complete the sentence on this worksheet and draw a picture to accompany their writing.

Differentiated Learning Options

  • Students can dictate their sentences about their courageous experience to their teacher and trace over those letters, before illustrating their words.
  • Make connections to the strategies used by exceptional students within the school or classroom to make the lesson more meaningful for the students.

Enrichments/Extensions

  • For advanced students, place 2 items in each bag that have similar physical qualities (such as a postcard and a photograph, or a marble and a gumball). Have students use their senses of smell and touch to try to tell the differences between the items in the bag. Once the two items have been revealed, have your students explain (whether through written or oral expression) their experience with this puzzle.
  • Introduce students to braille as a method of communication that requires the sense of touch. Share a sample of braille text (such as the braille alphabet) and instruct your students to write their names in braille using raised circular objects such as Cheerios, M&Ms, or metal washers.

Use the worksheets and class participation to assess whether the students have met the lesson objectives.

There are no related resources for this lesson plan.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: L.K Language
Grade(s): Grade K
Cluster: Conventions of Standard English
Standards:

  • L.K.1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
    • Print many upper- and lowercase letters.
    • Use frequently occurring nouns and verbs.
    • Form regular plural nouns orally by adding /s/ or /es/ (e.g., dog, dogs; wish, wishes).
    • Understand and use question words (interrogatives) (e.g., who, what, where, when, why, how).
    • Use the most frequently occurring prepositions (e.g., to, from, in, out, on, off, for, of, by, with).
    • Produce and expand complete sentences in shared language activities.
  • L.K.2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
    • Capitalize the first word in a sentence and the pronoun I.
    • Recognize and name end punctuation.
    • Write a letter or letters for most consonant and short-vowel sounds (phonemes).
    • Spell simple words phonetically, drawing on knowledge of sound-letter relationships.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: L.1 Language
Grade(s): Grade K
Cluster: Conventions of Standard English
Standards:

  • L.1.1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
    • Print all upper- and lowercase letters.
    • Use common, proper, and possessive nouns.
    • Use singular and plural nouns with matching verbs in basic sentences (e.g., He hops; We hop).
    • Use personal, possessive, and indefinite pronouns (e.g., I, me, my; they, them, their, anyone, everything).
    • Use verbs to convey a sense of past, present, and future (e.g., Yesterday I walked home; Today I walk home; Tomorrow I will walk home).
    • Use frequently occurring adjectives.
    • Use frequently occurring conjunctions (e.g., and, but, or, so, because).
    • Use determiners (e.g., articles, demonstratives).
    • Use frequently occurring prepositions (e.g., during, beyond, toward).
    • Produce and expand complete simple and compound declarative, interrogative, imperative, and exclamatory sentences in response to prompts.
  • L.1.2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
    • Capitalize dates and names of people.
    • Use end punctuation for sentences.
    • Use commas in dates and to separate single words in a series.
    • Use conventional spelling for words with common spelling patterns and for frequently occurring irregular words.
    • Spell untaught words phonetically, drawing on phonemic awareness and spelling conventions.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.1 Writing
Grade(s): Grade K
Cluster: Production and Distribution of Writing
Standards:

  • W.1.4. begins in grade 3.
  • W.1.5. With guidance and support from adults, focus on a topic, respond to questions and suggestions from peers, and add details to strengthen writing as needed.
  • W.1.6. With guidance and support from adults, use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.K Writing
Grade(s): Grade K
Cluster: Production and Distribution of Writing
Standards:

  • W.K.4. begins in grade 3.
  • W.K.5. With guidance and support from adults, respond to questions and suggestions from peers and add details to strengthen writing as needed.
  • W.K.6. With guidance and support from adults, explore a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.1 Writing
Grade(s): Grade K
Cluster: Text Types and Purposes
Standards:

  • W.1.1. Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or name the book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply a reason for the opinion, and provide some sense of closure.
  • W.1.2. Write informative/explanatory texts in which they name a topic, supply some facts about the topic, and provide some sense of closure.
  • W.1.3. Write narratives in which they recount two or more appropriately sequenced events, include some details regarding what happened, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide some sense of closure.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.K Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade K
Cluster: Craft and Structure
Standards:

  • RI.K.4. With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about unknown words in a text.
  • RI.K.5. Identify the front cover, back cover, and title page of a book.
  • RI.K.6. Name the author and illustrator of a text and define the role of each in presenting the ideas or information in a text.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.K Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade K
Cluster: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
Standards:

  • RI.K.7. With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the text in which they appear (e.g., what person, place, thing, or idea in the text an illustration depicts).
  • RI.K.8. With prompting and support, identify the reasons an author gives to support points in a text.
  • RI.K.9. With prompting and support, identify basic similarities in and differences between two texts on the same topic (e.g., in illustrations, descriptions, or procedures).

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.1 Reading: Informational Text
Grade(s): Grade K
Cluster: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
Standards:

  • RI.1.7. Use the illustrations and details in a text to describe its key ideas.
  • RI.1.8. Identify the reasons an author gives to support points in a text.
  • RI.1.9. Identify basic similarities in and differences between two texts on the same topic (e.g., in illustrations, descriptions, or procedures).

Discipline: Social Studies
Domain: All Thematic Standards
Cluster: Science, Technology, and Society
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

Teachers should:

  • enable learners to identify, describe, and examine both current and historical examples of the interaction and interdependence of science, technology, and society in a variety of cultural settings
  • provide opportunities for learners to make judgments about how science and technology have transformed the physical world and human society and our understanding of time, space, place, and human-environment interactions
  • have learners analyze the way in which science and technology influence core societal values, beliefs, and attitudes and how societal attitudes influence scientific and technological endeavors
  • prompt learners to evaluate various policies proposed to deal with social changes resulting from new technologies
  • help learners to identify and interpret various perspectives about human societies and the physical world using scientific knowledge, technologies, and an understanding of ethical standards of this and other cultures
  • encourage learners to formulate strategies and develop policy proposals pertaining to science/technology-society issues

Discipline: Science
Domain: K-4 Content Standards
Cluster: Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

  • Personal health
  • Characteristics and changes in populations
  • Types of resources
  • Changes in environments
  • Science and technology in local challenges

Discipline: Science
Domain: K-4 Content Standards
Cluster: Science as Inquiry
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

  • Ability necessary to do scientific inquiry
  • Understand scientific inquiry