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The Life of Lincoln

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Summary

Students will describe the social and political life of Abraham Lincoln with a focus on his contributions and how they changed the United States of America.

Coin Type(s)

  • Cent
  • Quarter

Coin Program(s)

  • 50 State Quarters

Objectives

Students will describe the social and political life of Abraham Lincoln with a focus on his contributions and how they changed the United States of America.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies

Minor/supporting Subject Area Connections

  • Technology

Grades

  • Fourth grade
  • Fifth grade
  • Sixth grade

Class Time

Sessions: Three
Session Length: 45-60 minutes
Total Length: 121-150 minutes

Groupings

  • Whole group
  • Individual work

Background Knowledge

Students should have a basic knowledge of:

  • Internet and textual research
  • Referencing Internet and text resources

Terms and Concepts

  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Penny
  • Sequential order
  • Civil War
  • Circulating coins

Materials

  • Cents (pennies), 1 per student
  • Magnifying device
  • 1 overhead projector (optional)
  • 1 overhead transparency (or photocopy) of the Illinois quarter reverse
  • 1 class map of the United States of America
  • Multiple copies of age-appropriate texts that outline the contributions of Abraham Lincoln and his life, such as:
    • Lincoln: A Photobiography by Russell Freedman
    • Abraham Lincoln: In Their Own Words by George Sullivan
    • America in the Time of Abraham Lincoln: The Story of Our Nation by Sally Senzell Isaacs
  • Classroom Social Studies text
  • Chart paper
  • Copies of the “Lincoln’s Life” timeline
  • Roll of large paper

Preparations

  • Make an overhead transparency (or photocopy) of the Illinois quarter reverse.
  • Locate a text that outlines Abraham Lincoln and his life (see examples under “Materials”).
  • Divide the chart paper into two columns labeled “Date” and “Event”.
  • Make copies of the “Lincoln’s Life” timeline (1 per group).
  • Arrange for the school librarian or media specialist to coordinate a set of appropriate reference materials which detail the life of Abraham Lincoln.
  • Bookmark appropriate Web sites, on classroom or computer lab computers, which describe events in Abraham Lincoln’s life.
  • Before session 3: Prepare a timeline on large paper that shows the years from 1800 to 2002. The timeline segments should be measured in increments that are proportionate across the entire timeline. Display the timeline in class.

Worksheets and Files

Lesson plan, worksheet(s), and rubric (if any) at www.usmint.gov/kids/teachers/lessonPlans/pdf/336.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 Illinois quarter reverse (with “The Land of Lincoln” motto obscured). Select a student to locate Illinois on a classroom map. Note its position in relation to your school’s location.
  2. Point out the Illinois state outline, as well as both the rural and urban scenes. Discuss the words “21st State/Century” and what this means to Illinois as a state. (Illinois was the 21st state to join the Union and the quarter commemorates it as a state for the 21st century with the modern Chicago skyline depicted.)
  3. Reveal “The Land of Lincoln” motto for students. Ask if they can surmise what this might mean to Illinois.
  4. After students have concluded that the man pictured is Abraham Lincoln and that hehad some important connection to the state of Illinois, share with them that this president of the United States came to consider Illinois his home state. When discussing Lincoln, relate his rise to the presidency to how he is depicted on the coin: dressed as a farm hand, setting aside his farm tools in favor of a law book.
    Note: Depending on your students’ background knowledge, you may need to explain that although President Lincoln was born in Kentucky and raised in Indiana, Lincoln moved to Illinois at the age of 21 where he studied and later became a lawyer. It is there that he rose to greatness and later was buried. Also describe how Lincoln began as a farm hand and laborer but then became a lawyer and later the President.
  5. Ask the students to name another circulating (everyday) coin on which Lincoln appears, soliciting the correct response.
  6. Distribute a penny to each student.
  7. Explain that the Lincoln penny was the first U.S. coin to feature a historic (real life) figure. President Abraham Lincoln has been on the penny since 1909, the 100th anniversary of his birth. (Later the coin was redesigned to depict the Lincoln Memorial on the reverse).
  8. Ask students which side of the coin Lincoln appears on—heads (called the obverse) or tails (also called the reverse).
  9. Tell the students that Lincoln actually appears on both sides. Using a magnifying device, have students locate Lincoln on the reverse. Tell the students that the Lincoln Memorial was added to the reverse of the one-cent coin in 1959 to mark Lincoln’s 150th birthday. If they inspect it carefully, they will see the statue of Lincoln inside the Memorial. With the release of the Illinois quarter, Lincoln is the first person to be pictured on two circulating coins at the same time: the penny and the quarter (with Illinois reverse).
  10. As this information is being shared with the students, write the dates and their corresponding events on a piece of chart paper divided into 2 columns titled “Date” and “Event.”
  11. Tell the students that they are going to learn more about this important man in future sessions.

Session 2

  1. Break students into groups of about four. Distribute a “Lincoln’s Life” timeline and an appropriate text to each group.
  2. Have each group read the selected text that chronicles Lincoln’s life.
  3. While reading this text, direct the students to raise their hands to stop the story when an important date or historical event is mentioned. The group should record their comments throughout the reading in the appropriate column (“Date” or “Event”).  Each date should have an event and vice versa.
  4. Tell the students that they are going to create a class timeline based on the life of Abraham Lincoln.

Session 3

Before session 3: Prepare a timeline on large paper that shows the years from 1800 to 2002. The timeline segments should be measured in increments that are proportionate across the entire timeline. Display the timeline in class.

  1. Put the students in the same groups as session 2. Each group should have its “Lincoln’s Life” timeline.
  2. Working a decade at a time, ask the class if any group has an entry.
  3. Discuss the dates and events and pick a student to record their group entry on the class timeline.
  4. Repeat this process until the class timeline is complete and prompt students to consider how he is dressed and what he is holding, etc.

Differentiated Learning Options

Have students create a quiz game based on the information they learned. Use the questions they developed as a review at the activity’s completion.

Enrichments/Extensions

  • Once students have completed the class timeline, invite them to create a timeline of their own life, citing dates and events that have been important to them.
  • Allow students to create a computer presentation based on the information they learned during this activity.

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.

This lesson plan is not associated with any Common Core Standards.

Discipline: Social Studies
Domain: All Thematic Standards
Cluster: Time, Continuity, and Change
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

Teachers should:

  • assist learners to understand that historical knowledge and the concept of time are socially influenced constructions that lead historians to be selective in the questions they seek to answer and the evidence they use
  • help learners apply key concepts such as time, chronology, causality, change, conflict, and complexity to explain, analyze, and show connections among patterns of historical change and continuity
  • enable learners to identify and describe significant historical periods and patterns of change within and across cultures, including but not limited to, the development of ancient cultures and civilizations, the emergence of religious belief systems, the rise of nation-states, and social, economic, and political revolutions
  • guide learners in using such processes of critical historical inquiry to reconstruct and interpret the past, such as using a variety of sources and checking their credibility, validating and weighing evidence for claims, searching for causality, and distinguishing between events and developments that are significant and those that are inconsequential
  • provide learners with opportunities to investigate, interpret, and analyze multiple historical and contemporary viewpoints within and across cultures related to important events, recurring dilemmas, and persistent issues, while employing empathy, skepticism, and critical judgment; and enable learners to apply ideas, theories, and modes of historical inquiry to analyze historical and contemporary developments, and to inform and evaluate actions concerning public policy issues.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: All Language Arts Standards
Cluster: Use of Spoken, Written, and Visual Language
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

  • Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: All Language Arts Standards
Cluster: Research
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

  • Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources (e.g., print and nonprint texts, artifacts, people) to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience. 

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: All Language Arts Standards
Cluster: Effective Communication
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

  • Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.

Discipline: Social Studies
Domain: All Thematic Standards
Cluster: People, Places, and Environment
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

Teachers should:

  • Enable learners to use, interpret, and distinguish various representations of Earth such as maps, globes, and photographs, and to use appropriate geographic tools
  • Encourage learners to construct, use, and refine maps and mental maps, calculate distance, scale, area, and density, and organize information about people, places, regions, and environments in a spatial context
  • Help learners to locate, distinguish, and describe the relationships among varying regional and global patterns of physical systems such as landforms, climate, and natural resources, and explain changes in the physical systems
  • Guide learners in exploring characteristics, distribution, and migration of human populations on Earth’s surface
  • Have learners describe how people create places that reflect culture, human needs, current values and ideals, and government policies
  • Provide opportunities for learners to examine, interpret, and analyze interactions of human beings and their physical environments, and to observe and analyze social and economic effects of environmental changes, both positive and negative
  • Challenge learners to consider, compare, and evaluate existing uses of resources and land in communities, regions, countries, and the world
  • Direct learners to explore ways in which Earth’s physical features have changed over time, and describe and assess ways historical events have influenced and been influenced by physical and human geographic features