Baltimore Curriculum Project Draft Lessons

Introductory Notes

These lessons generally follow the grade-by-grade topics in the Core Knowledge Sequence, but they have been developed independent of the Core Knowledge Foundation. While the Core Knowledge Foundation encourages the development and sharing of lessons based on the Core Knowledge Sequence, it does not endorse any one set of lesson plans as the best or only way that the knowledge in the Sequence should be taught.

You may feel free to download and distribute these lessons, but please note that they are currently in DRAFT form. At this time the draft lessons on this web site do NOT have accompanying graphics, such as maps or cut-out patterns. Graphics will be added to this site later.

In participating BCP schools, these lessons are used in conjunction with the Direct Instruction skills programs in reading, language, and math. If you use or adapt these lessons, keep in mind that they are meant to address content and the application of skills. You will need to use other materials to ensure that children master skills in reading, language, and math.


Second Grade -American Civilization/Geog - Overview

The lessons in this unit interconnect under the broad topic Immigration. The books Where Did Your Family Come From? and Coming to America are referenced in several of the lessons. They are excellent books that help build a strong foundation for this unit. If it is possible for you to secure them, it would be wise to hold on to them for the entire unit.

Use the book People and the recommended titles by Ann Morris and Norah Dooley to enhance your study. If possible play samples of the music of the countries studied, provide a tasting of native foods, and display artifacts and pictures.

The read alouds about immigrants and their experiences should be intersperced with the lessons. Students may be able to read some of the books independently so it would be useful to provide as many as possible of the titles.

The lessons should be covered in this sequence:

1. Lesson 23 - AmCiv - Immigration

2. Lesson 24 - AmCiv - Ellis Island

3. Lesson 8 - Geog - Immigration

4. Lesson 25 - AmCiv - Citizenship

5. Lesson 26 - AmCiv - Statue of Liberty

6. Lesson 27 - AmCiv - e pluribus unum

7. Lesson 9 - Geog - Central America

8. Lesson 10 - Geog - South America


Second Grade -American Civilization - Lesson 23 - Immigration


Identify tasks facing an immigrant.

Design a poster encouraging people to come to America (optional).

Write a letter about going to America (optional).


World map

Travel posters

Pictures of immigrants (circa 1800s-see suggestions below)

Suggested Books

Berger, Melvin and Gilda. Where Did Your Family Come From?- A Book About Immigrants. Nashville: Ideals Children's Books, 1993.

Excellent choice for this unit. Includes rules to become a citizen as well as reasons

people emigrate, stories of four children included.

Kroll, Steven. Ellis Island-Doorway to Freedom. New York: Holiday House, 1995.

Good book for description of the use of Ellis Island. Beautiful illustrations, a bit technical to be a read aloud.

Lawlor, Veronica. I Was Dreaming of Coming to America - Memories from the Ellis Island Oral History Project. New York: Penguin, 1995.

Words of immigrants of various ages from various lands, biographies included. Artwork is collage using hand-painted paper--stunning.

Levine, Ellen. ...If Your Name Was Changed at Ellis Island. New York: Scholastic,

Immigration story from the 1800s to 1914 in a question and answer format.

Maestro, Betsy. Coming to America: The Story of Immigration. New York: Scholastic, 1996.

The story of immigration from the crossing of the land bridge up to present day. Read aloud with beautiful illustrations by Susannah Ryan.


Gallagher, Patricia, ed. Images of America. Washington, D.C., Smithsonian Books, 1989.

Outstanding photographs.

Sandler, Martin W. Immigrants-A Library of Congress Book. New York: HarperCollins, 1995.

Excellent book filled with photographs of immigrants who entered the United States in the 1800s to early 1900s. Not a read aloud, but certainly useful in the classroom.

Read Alouds

Bartone, Elisa. Peppe the Lamplighter. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1993.

Peppe takes a job lighting lamps to support his family in America.

Bunting, Eve. A Day's Work. New York: Clarion Books, 1994.

Tender story of a young Mexican-American boy who helps his grandfather, who is newly arrived in America, find work.

Bunting, Eve. Going Home. New York: HarperCollins, 1996.

This beautifully illustrated book tells the story of a family of migrant workers in America, who return to Mexico, their first home.



Second Grade -American Civilization - Lesson 23 - Immigration

Caseley, Judith. Apple Pie and Onions. New York: Greenwillow, 1987.

Nice story of a girl and her grandmother as grandmother recollects first coming to America from Russia.

Coerr, Eleanor. Chang's Paper Pony. New York: Harper & Row, 1988.

Story takes place in San Francisco in the 1850's - Chinese immigrants.

Cohen, Barbara. Molly's Pilgrim. New York: William Morrow, 1983.

In a third grade classroom, Molly's pilgrim represents the Russian pilgrim who has come to America for religious freedom.

Levine, Ellen. I Hate English. New York: Scholastic, 1989.

Mei Mei from Hong Kong finds it difficult to learn English in this wonderful book.

Moss, Marissa. In America. New York: Dutton Children's Books, 1994.

Wonderful story told by a grandfather of how he decided to leave Lithuania while his brother decided to stay behind.

Polacco, Patricia. The Keeping Quilt. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1988.

Quilt that joins four generations of immigrant Jews from Russia. Beautiful illustrations of Polacco's family throughout.

Pryor, Bonnie. The Dream Jar. New York: Morrow Junior Books, 1996.

Each member of a Russian family, including little Valentina, saves money for the dream of a store in America. Beautiful illustrations by Mark Graham.

Sandin, Joan. The Long Way to a New Land. New York: Harper & Row, 1981.

A Swedish family emigrates to America on board a steamship named the City of Baltimore. The story takes place during the famine of 1868. An I Can Read Book.

Sandin, Joan. Long Way Westward. New York: Harper & Row, 1989.

Story of a Swedish family's trip first to New York then on to Minnesota. An I Can Read Book.

Say, Allen. Grandfather's Journey. New York: Scholastic, 1993.

Story of Japanese man's love of two cultures.

Wing, Natasha. Jalapeno Bagels. New York: Atheneum, 1996.

Bagels symbolize the cultures that make up a family in this wonderful story that takes place in an actual Mexican-Jewish-American bakery; great illustrations and recipe.

Teacher Information

This lesson should be used with Geography Lesson 8 - Immigration. At the completion of these lessons students should know reasons why people emigrated (and continue to do so) to the United States. Students should also be able to identify some of the places from which people emigrated, and they should be able to identify some of the contributions made by immigrants.

Use the read alouds suggested throughout the unit. Help the children to see the difficulties and joys faced by immigrants.


Write the word migrate on the board and remind the students of the poem "Something Told the Wild Geese" that they studied earlier this school year. Have them recall that migrate means to travel. Tell them that a migrant is someone who travels from one place to another. Have the children recall westward movement. Say: When people moved from the east coast to the western part of the country they could be called migrants.


Second Grade -American Civilization - Lesson 23 - Immigration

Next, write the words immigrant and emigrant on the board. Underline the word migrant in each and explain that the word migrant is the root of these two words. Next to the word

immigrant write "someone who comes to another country"; next to the word emigrant write "someone who goes from a country." Explain that people can be both. Show on a world map that someone leaving France is a French emigrant (from) and when they travel to the United States they become a French immigrant (to).

Remind the students that originally all people were immigrants to North America. Primitive man first crossed the Arctic land bridge thousands of years ago and became the people we call Native Americans or Indians, as Christopher Columbus incorrectly named them. If possible, read the book Coming to America to the class and discuss. If you are not able to obtain the book discuss the following points with the class.

Tell the children that in the years that followed the Europeans coming to this continent, many people came to North America and the land that became the United States of America. They came for many reasons. Ask: Do you remember some of the reasons people came to America? (religious freedom, chance for a new beginning, adventure, etc.) Where did these people come from? (England, France, northern Europe)

Discuss with the children the long and arduous trip that the immigrants were forced to make when coming to this new land. Remind them that the people were forced to travel in a very cramped space with little, if any, privacy.

Tell the children that even though the trip was very hard and much hard work awaited them, people still considered America the land of opportunity. Ask: What made America sound so good? (land, fresh air, religious freedom, gold, a chance to be part of the government [no kings or queens], chance to start a business, be with your family)

Tell the children that many of the immigrants settled in the cities (point out several on the map). Ask: Can you think of the advantages of living in the city? (stores, groups of people who spoke the same language, jobs, everything within walking distance)

Ask: How do you think the people living in America felt about more and more immigrants coming in? (mixed feelings, wanted some to do jobs such as building the railroads and working in the mines, worried that land might run out, worried there might be too many people)

Tell the children that even though all the people in America had begun as immigrants (or people forced to come here as slaves), some Americans wanted to stop more immigrants from coming. Ask the children to think about the problems that could occur if too many people tried to come to America (run out of space, food, etc).

Remind the children that when the immigrants arrived there were things they needed to do. Have the children consider what someone would need to do if they moved to a new area (find a home, get a job, learn the area); then expand this idea to the scale of arriving as an immigrant. Have the children recognize that an immigrant would have to learn the language and American ways as well.




Tell the students to imagine that they have a job advertising America and encouraging immigrants to come. Show travel posters and point out how size and bright colors are used in BCP DRAFT HIST 57

Second Grade -American Civilization - Lesson 23 - Immigration

advertising. Remind the students that they are making a poster to represent the 1800s. Tell them

to think about what was available that would bring people to this new country: land, jobs, freedom of religion and speech.

On the board write a list of words the students might want to use. Encourage the children to make suggestions and ask them to also tell what types of pictures they would make.

Letter to America

Tell the students to pretend that they are writing about coming to America, to a cousin who is already there. They should tell how both worried and excited they are about going to a new land. The Long Way to a New Land provides a letter from America that could be used as the invitation to come.


Second Grade -American Civilization - Lesson 24 - Ellis Island


Trace the steps an immigrant took through Ellis Island.

Relate to the emotions felt by new immigrants at Ellis Island.


Classroom map of the United States

Photographs of immigrants at Ellis Island

Several of the suggested books

Happy and sad face cards (optional)


Suggested Books

Kroll, Steven. Ellis Island-Doorway to Freedom. New York: Holiday House, 1995.

Good book for description of the use of Ellis Island. Beautiful illustrations, a bit technical to be a read aloud.

Lawlor, Veronica. I Was Dreaming of Coming to America - Memories from the Ellis Island Oral History Project. New York: Penguin, 1995.

Words of immigrants of various ages from various lands, biographies included. Artwork is collage using hand-painted paper--stunning.

Levine, Ellen. ...If Your Name Was Changed at Ellis Island. New York: Scholastic,

Immigration story from the 1800s to 1914 in a question and answer format.

Maestro, Betsy. Coming to America: The Story of Immigration. New York: Scholastic, 1996.

The story of immigration from the crossing of the land bridge up to present day. Read aloud with beautiful illustrations by Susannah Ryan.

Sandler, Martin W., ed. Immigrants: A Library of Congress Book. New York: HarperCollins, 1995.

Excellent book filled with photographs of immigrants who entered the United States in the 1800s to early 1900s. Not a read aloud, but certainly useful in the classroom.


Stein, R. Conrad. The Story of Ellis Island. Chicago: Children's Press, 1979.

A Cornerstones of Freedom book, useful for information, but not a read aloud.


Immigration is a very large concept for many children whose families have lived in America for many generations. The idea of having to go through a process (longer than a wait at the airport or favorite amusement park) to enter a country may be too much to fully grasp.

Be certain that students recognize that this was the process that people went through years ago. Today most people enter our country by plane with all their paperwork completed.


Have the children recall some of the reasons that immigrants came to America. Tell them that a stop at Ellis Island was the usual procedure for most. Explain that the immigration center at Ellis Island was built to provide a large place for the many people who were coming to


Second Grade -American Civilization - Lesson 24 - Ellis Island

America to enter. Here officials would check to see if people had a reason to come to America and if they were healthy enough to come. (If you have already read Coming to America, the students will be familiar with the process new immigrants years ago had to endure.)

Say: Long ago millions of people went through the buildings at Ellis Island on their way to a new home. Locate New York on the map and explain that Ellis Island is in the New York harbor.

Show pictures of the immigrants, especially the children. Tell the students that many children made the trip to America alone. Ask them to imagine how it felt to be so far from the place you call home going to a place you didn't know.

Tell the students to continue to imagine that they have just arrived by ship. It has been a long and difficult ride. Say: Many people have gotten sick and you are tired from being cramped in the cabin with all the noise and horrible smells. Your next step now is to leave the ship and travel through the buildings of Ellis Island.

As you read each step in the process, ask the children to evaluate their feelings as an immigrant child. You may wish to have them use a thumbs-up, thumbs-down, or make cards that show a happy face and a sad face to use for responses. Tell them that they are to signal how they would feel after you have read the scene.

1. You arrive at New York Harbor and see the Statue of Liberty.


2. Your ship docks (sits in harbor) and you wait on board while the first-class people get off.


3. You leave the ship and get on a boat to go to Ellis Island.

4. You wait with all your belongings in a long line.

5. A doctor checks to see if you are well enough to enter America. (May mark a chalk letter on your clothes to show that you may be sick.)

6. You wait with all your belongings in a long line.

7. Someone checks your papers to make sure that you can come to America. (You have family waiting for you. Someone in your family has a job.)


8. You wait with all your belongings in a long line. You are hungry and tired.

9. Finally someone writes your name on a special paper that says you are allowed to enter America.

10. You wait with all your belongings in a long line. You are still hungry and tired.

11. You get on another boat and you land in New York City.


Second Grade -American Civilization - Lesson 24 - Ellis Island

12. Your family is waiting for you. Everyone gives you a hug.

After you have completed this sequence ask the children how they feel about the process as a whole. Ask if they can understand how frustrating it must have seemed and how long it took. Tell them that Ellis Island is no longer in use as an immigration center; it is now a museum.

Tell the children that immigrants enter the United States by plane today. Ask how they feel about that!


Second Grade -American Civilization - Lesson 25 - Citizenship


Design a question for a citizenship test.


Requirements for citizenship on sentence strips or chart paper

Suggested Books

Berger, Melvin and Gilda. Where Did Your Family Come From? Nashville: Ideals Children's Books, 1993.


Citizenship will be discussed in greater detail in a later grade. At this point in time students need only recognize the importance of citizenship to past and present immigrants. Questions and Answers on American Citizenship by Solomon Wiener (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1982) is a useful book if you want more information about the rights and responsibilities of American citizens, or information on becoming a citizen.


Have the students recall the reasons that the early immigrants came to America and the hardships they faced. Remind the students that it was so important to these people to get to America that they would have done anything. It was because of that feeling that they immediately began to learn what they had to do to become citizens. They wanted to make sure that there could never be a reason that they would be asked to leave. Today's immigrants also choose to come to the United States planning to become citizens.

If your class has not yet read Where Did Your Family Come From? this would be a very good time. Be sure to take time to discuss (or review) the stories of the children featured in the book.

Take time to discuss each of the requirements for an immigrant to become a citizen. (Questions you may want to ask are provided below.) You may wish to present the requirements individually on sentence strips, or in the list in its entirety on a piece of chart paper. Tell the children that the process of becoming an American citizen is called naturalization. Also, tell the children that if you are born in the United States you are automatically a citizen and do not have to go through the process.

To become a citizen you must:

be at least 18 years old (Why is that age important?)

be able to read and write in English (Why couldn't everyone just go on using different languages?)

pass a test about American history and government (Why is it important to know about the country in which you live?)


Second Grade -American Civilization - Lesson 25 - Citizenship

promise to obey this nation's laws (What would happen if everyone made his own laws?)

have lived in this country at least five years (Why would it make a difference if you stayed for five years instead of five days, weeks, months?)


Let the children know that the requirements help make sure that an immigrant knows about the United States and truly wants to be a citizen. Say: If you want to be able to vote or help make any of the laws you must be a citizen. Take time to discuss whether it is fair that only citizens can vote.

Have the children recall the Constitution and the many rights that Americans are given. Review the rights of speech, religious choice, the press, protection of privacy, etc. Discuss how wonderful these rights seemed to the early immigrants who often weren't allowed to go to the church of their choice, or write their feelings about many things. Remind the children that many people in the world today still do not have these freedoms.

Tell the children that along with the rights that citizens are given, they are also given certain duties or responsibilities. They are:

to respect the rights of others

to follow the rules of our country and never say or do anything to hurt it

to protect the United States

to pay taxes

to keep informed and vote


Take time to discuss the balance of rights and responsibilities. Remind the children that one comes with the other.

Help the children to see that since citizens help make the laws in this country, vote for elected officials, and even run for office, it is really important for them to know about their country. Tell the students to pretend that they have been given the responsibility of making up a question for the citizenship test. The question should ask something about United States history or government. Say: What do you think is the most important thing someone should know about the United States of America? Why? You may want to lead a brief discussion about the most important things that a citizen should know, highlighting important events the children have already studied.

You may wish to compile a list of the students' questions and share it with the school administrators, or send it home for parents to see. The students may also enjoy "testing" other students in the school to see if they know the answers.



Second Grade -American Civilization - Lesson 26 - The Statue of Liberty


Make an acrostic for the word liberty.

Make a liberty crown.


Pictures or models of the Statue of Liberty

One of the suggested books in addition to Lily and Miss Liberty

Chart paper (optional)

Suggested Books

Maestro, Betsy and Guilio. The Story of the Statue of Liberty. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, 1986.

Story told with simple text and wonderful illustrations, table of dates included as well as the dimensions of the statue, facts about the statue and information about people involved with the building of Liberty.

Munro, Roxie. The Inside-Outside Book of New York City. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1985.

Great illustrations of New York City attractions from various angles.

Penner, Lucille Recht. The Statue of Liberty. New York: Random House, 1995.

Beautiful, colorful illustrations by Jada Rowland, Step 1 of the Step into Reading series.

Stevens, Carla. Lily and Miss Liberty. New York: Scholastic Inc. Hardcover, 1992.

If at all possible use the read aloud Lily and Miss Liberty with this lesson. The sixty-four pages are divided into four chapters and a how-to for making liberty crowns--the foundation of the book.

Eight year old Lily Lafferty wants to earn money to contribute to the pedestal fund for the Statue of Liberty. After several false starts in coming up with a plan (where there's a will, there's a way) she discovers that people will buy her handmade crowns.

Lily measures and remeasures (If at first you don't succeed try, try again) and finally comes up with the perfect pattern. As she makes and sells her product she learns more about the lives of immigrant families (like her own) and the wonderful gift from France.

Celebrate this book by making Lily's crowns.


In Addition

Cohn, Amy L., ed. From Sea to Shining Sea - A Treasury of American Folklore and Folk Songs.

New York: Scholastic, 1993.

Contains the Emma Lazarus poem.

Hopkins, Lee Bennet. Hand in Hand - An American History Through Poetry. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994.

Beautiful collection of poetry and art, Chapter Five is dedicated to immigration, the Statue of Liberty.

Just for Fun

Zimelman, Nathan. How the Second Grade Got $8205.50 to Visit the Statue of Liberty. Morton Grove: Albert Whitman & Co., 1992.

The only reference to the Statue is in the title, but this is a hilarious book that second graders will enjoy.


Second Grade -American Civilization - Lesson 26 - The Statue of Liberty


Haskins, Jim. The Statue of Liberty. Minneapolis: Lerner Publications Co., 1986.

Complete information on the creation, development, completion and repairs regarding the Statue of Liberty.

Shapiro, Mary J. How They Built the Statue of Liberty. New York: Random House, 1985.

Sketches and cross sections of the statue make up this book.


The people of France had several reasons for wanting to honor the United States with the Statue of Liberty. One of the most important reasons was to honor America for abolishing slavery and preserving the Union. So great was the respect of the French common people for this accomplishment that they had a medal honoring Abraham Lincoln struck and given to his widow.

More of the politics of the Statue of Liberty will be discussed at a later grade, for second graders a much more simple line of study is taken.


Tell the children that there is a lady standing in New York Harbor who has welcomed millions of people to the United States of America. Say: She wears a long dress and a crown with seven points. She holds a torch (or flame) in one hand and a tablet (or pad) in the other. Her mouth is three-feet wide (show with open arms) and each eye is two and a half feet across (demonstrate). Ask: Can you guess who she is? (If no one can say, ask general questions such as: Do you think she is alive? Could a person be that big? etc.)

After it has been determined that the Statue of Liberty is being discussed, read one of the suggested books and show any pictures or models you may have. The Maestro and Penner books are the best choices. Be sure to discuss the size of the Statue of Liberty and the significance of the crown, torch, and tablet.

For your convenience some facts are listed here.

Facts about the Statue of Liberty (originally called Liberty Enlightening the World)

The creator was Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, a Frenchman.

He first visited U.S. in 1871, thought Bedloe's Island the perfect spot for the statue.

The flame in the torch is lit at night and Liberty was once considered a lighthouse.

The seven spikes of crown stand for freedom shining on the seven seas and seven continents.

The base holds a museum and there are 168 steps to the crown.

The statue is made of copper.

July 4, 1776 is inscribed on the tablet.

It took 214 crates to ship Liberty to America.

In 1886 when Liberty was unveiled by Bartholdi, President Grover Cleveland was there.

In 1903 the words from Emma Lazarus' poem "The New Colossus" were added. The poem helped raise money for the pedestal fund.

"Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,


Second Grade -American Civilization - Lesson 26 - The Statue of Liberty

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

If there is time, read the book Lily and Miss Liberty to the class. It is a wonderful book that helps to make some of the issues of the time more clear. If you read the book you may wish to make liberty crowns with the students.

Another idea to culminate this study is to make an acrostic for the word LIBERTY. Start the activity by writing each letter on a separate sheet of chart paper (or part of the board). Depending on the time available and the abilities of your students, you may wish to write one as a class activity, or allow individuals time to develop their own. Start by brainstorming words that begin with that letter that might be used in writing about the Statue of Liberty, for example:

L - Lighting, Liberty, Long ago

I - Italians, I, In

B - Brought, Built, Bright

E - Everyone, Each

R - Rain, Raising, Ready

T - The, Tomorrow

Y - Your, Years

Help the students put these words at the beginning of sentences.

Lighting the way I stand in the harbor.

Liberty is my name.

Long ago I was given as a gift.

Italians, Germans, Irish and Egyptians have passed by me

I am the woman who welcomes you

In one hand I hold a torch and a tablet in the other

Brought to America as a gift

Built to honor America

Bright is my torch

Everyone is happy to see me

Each day and night I stand and wait


Second Grade -American Civilization - Lesson 26 - The Statue of Liberty

Rain or shine, I stand and wait

Raising my torch for all to see

Ready to welcome everyone

The torch I hold is a light for all

Tomorrow I will stand as tall

Your great-great grandparents may have seen me

Years from now I will still stand

Choosing from each chart it is possible to write the following or some variation.

L - Liberty is my name

I - I am the woman who welcomes you

B - Built to honor America

E - Each day and night I stand and wait

R - Raising my torch for all to see

T - Tomorrow I will stand as tall

Y - Years from now I will still stand


If there is time for a read aloud sometime soon consider the book How the Second Grade Got $8205.50 to Visit the Statue of Liberty. The book is funny and perfect for the age group. Students will enjoy hearing the misadventures of these second graders.



Second Grade -American Civilization - Lesson 27 - e pluribus unum


Observe places that e pluribus unum is used.

Relate the meaning of the motto to daily life.

Create a motto (optional).

Write a recipe for America (optional).


One-dollar bill and coins (penny, nickel, dime, quarter, half-dollar)

Photo or picture of the Great Seal of the U.S.

World map, U.S. map

Mottos on sentence strips (see lesson)

Teaching Materials (optional)

Schell, Karen D. Time and Money. Palos Verdes Estates: Frank Schaffer Publications, 1992.

Activity book that provides clear pictures of coins and one-dollar bill with directions for creating a mobile.

Instructional Fair, Inc, makes full color stickers of pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters that are actual size and easily read. E pluribus unum can be read on all but the dime. (Money-Heads-IF4457, Money-Tails-IF4458)


E pluribus unum is a Latin phrase which means "out of many, one." It is the motto of the United States because we are one country made up of many states. We are also one country made up of many people.

If your students have already studied coins this year, you may want to skip the discovery part of this lesson and go directly to the discussion of the motto. The discovery part of the lesson provides an opportunity for students to work with a partner.



Divide the class into teams of two members. Give each team a coin, making sure that each of the coins (penny, nickel, dime, quarter, half dollar) is examined by at least two pairs of students.

Tell the students to look at the coin carefully and write down everything they see. You may want to suggest that they take turns writing, or select one of the pair to be the recorder and the other to share the information later.

Using a different piece of chart paper or separate board space for each coin, have the students share their observations. Take time to record all, telling the students to listen for differences or similarities to their coin as others are reported.

After all the observations are written, have the children compare the lists and determine what is the same about all the coins. Lead the analysis asking questions like the following.

Do all the coins have pictures on them?


Second Grade -American Civilization - Lesson 27 - e pluribus unum

Are all the pictures the same?

Do the coins have dates on them?

Do the coins have words on them?

When you get to the words e pluribus unum allow the children to speculate about the meaning. Tell them that it had a very important meaning to the United States of America long ago and that it still has a very important meaning today. (Go directly into the Motto segment of the lesson.)


Show the children some mottos written on sentence strips. Introduce one at a time and help the children to identify each. You might use "Just do it" associated with Nike, "All for one and one for all"- the Three Musketeers, "Be prepared" - the Boy Scouts of America, and any others that might have some significance for your students. Tell the children that these are mottos which are slogans or sayings that represent what a particular group is about.

Tell the children that the United States of America has a motto, too; that motto is e pluribus unum. Remind them that America is made up of many different groups of people living in fifty different states. The U.S. motto refers to that.

Have them recall what they know about immigration. Then ask them to name some of the countries from which people came to America. Write the names of countries of origin as the children suggest them.

Recall with the children that the United States of America is sometimes called a melting pot. Different metals are combined in a melting pot to make one metal, and so it is in America that people came together with many ideas (freedom and opportunity) and they agreed on one set of laws to make one country. Tell the children that e pluribus unum means "out of many, one." Remind the children that it was present on every coin they examined; have them speculate about a dollar bill before showing them. Share that e pluribus unum is inscribed on the Great Seal of the United States which they see on the back of the dollar.

Ask the children if they can think of another thing that is made by putting different things together to make one thing. Encourage them to think of everyday things.

If no one suggests it, have the children think about things prepared in the kitchen. Ask: How many have ever helped to make soup? (If possible, differentiate between opening a can and making from scratch, but acknowledge that the canned item started out the same way.) Have the children name the ingredients that go into soup.

As you make the parallel that all the different ingredients combine to make soup, remind the students that people from all the countries of the world combined their ideas to make a new country.

Follow-up Activities

There are several activities that might be linked to this lesson, including making soup, or having a tasting of soups from different ethnic groups; two ideas are included here.


Second Grade -American Civilization - Lesson 27 - e pluribus unum

A New Motto

Tell the students that they have been given the responsibility of creating a new motto for

the United States (or your classroom or school). Point to the mottos you mentioned earlier in the lesson and have the students identify the similarities (short, specific, easy to recall). Tell them that they will need to consider these elements as they come up with ideas.

You may want to work on this as a class or allow the students to work individually or in small groups. After the mottos have been developed, allow the students to print them on sentence strips and display them prominently.


A Recipe for America

Review with the children that a recipe includes a list of ingredients and directions for combining those ingredients to make a particular dish. Tell them that they are responsible for coming up with a recipe for the United States of America. Ask them to think about the beginning of this country.

Ask: What was (and is) the most important part of this country? (people) What kinds of people make up our country? As the children respond to your questions help put the answers in recipe form. (for example)

Take: 1 cup of people in all occupations with every kind of talent

Add: 1 cup of people of all shapes and sizes, colors, ages, and beliefs

Mix with: laughter and sadness


Continue adding the children's ideas, and then if they decide to bake their recipe, be sure to have it cook for the number of years the United States of America has been in existence.

You may want to copy the recipe on chart paper, have the children draw the ingredients and display them.