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Nifty Fifty State Trivia

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Students will use critical thinking skills and memory recall to play a facts and information game about the states, capitals, new quarters, state symbols, money, and U.S. geography.

Coin Type(s)

  • Quarter

Coin Program(s)

  • 50 State Quarters


Students will use critical thinking skills and memory recall to play a facts and information game about the states, capitals, new quarters, state symbols, money, and U.S. geography.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Social Studies

Minor/supporting Subject Area Connections

  • Language Arts
  • Math


  • Fourth grade
  • Fifth grade
  • Sixth grade

Class Time

Sessions: One
Session Length: 45-60 minutes
Total Length: 46-90 minutes


  • Small groups

Terms and Concepts

  • Problem solving
  • History
  • Geography
  • Language Arts


  • Game sheets (pages 24 and 25)
  • Sounding device (optional)


  • Make copies of the game sheet (page 24), one for each player.
  • Make one copy of the game answer sheet (page 25) for each group.
  • Laminate, if desired.

Worksheets and Files

Lesson plan, worksheet(s), and rubric (if any) at

  1. Explain to the class that they will be using the knowledge and skills they’ve acquired through the U.S. Mint lessons to play the “Nifty Fifty State Trivia” game. Go over the rules of the game.
  2. Announce groups. In each group there should be three or four players and one game leader who will read questions and determine correct answers.
  3. Begin playing. Give students 20-30 minutes to play the game. Allow time for groups to tally points to see who won.
  4. Give student groups time to share interesting experiences from their games.

How to Play the “Nifty Fifty State Trivia” Game

  1. The first player begins by choosing a category and value (e.g., “State Capitals for 10”).
  2. The game leader reads the question.
  3. Any of the players may “ring in” to answer the question (by using bells, snapping, slapping the table, holding up a colored piece of paper).
  4. The first player to “ring in” gets the first chance to answer the question. If the correct answer is given, that player places a check mark in the corresponding square on his/her game sheet (for scoring) and chooses the next category and value. Other players should place an “X”over the question box on their sheets (to mark as completed).
  5. If an incorrect answer is given, any of the other players can ring in to answer. The player who gives the correct answer wins the points and chooses the next category.
  6. If no correct answer is given, the game leader reads the answer and no points are awarded.  The choice of category reverts to the last player who answered correctly.
  7. Once all questions have been asked, or when time is up, students should add up the values on their game cards to determine the winner.


Students can think of more categories/questions to create additional state trivia games.

Take anecdotal notes about game participation to assess whether students have met the lesson objectives.

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

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

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