Home About the Series Resources
Lesson Plan
Concept to Classroom Thirteen ED HOME

Middle School Lesson Plan: Make Every Cent Count!

    1. Format an Organizing Center
      a. Format
        i. Theme - What is a culture? How do we learn about a culture?

      b. Organizing Center
        i. How do we learn about a culture by studying its currency?

    2. Concept Wheel
LANGUAGE ARTS:
  • Discussion of symbols and their uses
  • Historical fiction about American History (presidents, liberty)
  • SCIENCE:
  • Analyzing the mixtures of metals used in coins
  • Process of making currency

  • SOCIAL STUDIES/ HISTORY:
  • Study of archeology
  • Different types of currency of various cultures
  • 50 state quarters and their symbols
  •  
    THEME: How do we learn about a culture by studying its currency?

     
    MATH:
  • Value of currency
  • Figuring out production figures of money
  • What is the gross national product?

  • FIELD TRIPS:
  • Trip to Washington D.C. to see the U.S. Mint and other national memorials
  • Coin collectors

  • ARTS:
  • Design a coin for your family
  • Design a coin for a country that the class has studied.
  • Design a coin for a state quarter that has not been created.

      • a. Science-related questions
          i. How would you analyze the mixtures of metals used in coins?
          ii. What is the process of making coins and paper money?

        b. Math-related questions
          i. What is the gross national product?
          ii. How much money is printed or coined each year?

        c. Social Studies-related questions
          i. What is archeology?
          ii. What do artifacts tell us about a culture?
          iii. What are 50 state quarters and their symbols? What do they represent?
          iv. What is the Federal Reserve Bank?
          v. How do currencies of various cultures differ?

        d. Arts-related questions
          i. How are coins and paper money designed?
          ii. How would you go about designing a coin for a country that you have studied?
          iii. How would you design a coin for a state quarter?

        e. Language Arts-related questions
          i. What is a symbol and why do we use them?
          ii. What are the stories behind the figures that appear on currency?

        f. Field trips
          i. Trip to Washington D.C. - national memorials and the U.S. Mint
          ii. Meet with a coin collector

      3. What are some essential questions?
        a. Essential Question 1 (Science): What is the composition of different currencies, and how does this impact their preservation through time?

        b. Essential Question 2 (Math): What is the value of currency, how is it decided, and what is the economic impact when values change?

        c. Essential Question 3 (Social Studies/History): How have currencies changed throughout time, and how does archaeology help to record and examine these changes? Does the value of currency still change today?

        d. Essential Question 4 (Language Arts): What is the meaning of a symbol, and what is the reasoning behind why certain symbols are chosen for certain forms of currency?

        e. Essential Question 5 (Arts): What is the process by which different currencies are designed?


      4. Align Essential Questions with skills and assessments
        a. Essential Question 1 (Science): What is the composition of different currencies, and how does this impact their preservation through time?

      Skills Assessments
      Learning to assess the composition of matter

      Identifying the different qualities of metals

      Calculating the actual value of a coin based on the metal in it

    • Lab experiments
    • Reading charts
    • Internet research

      • b. Essential Question 2 (Math): What is the value of currency, how is it decided, and what is the economic impact when values change?

      Skills Assessments
      Calculating exchange rates
    • Calculating the numbers
    • Finding patterns
    • Understanding the strength of the economy

      • c. Essential Question 3 (Social Studies/History): How have currencies changed throughout time, and how does archaeology help to record and examine these changes? Does the value of currency still change today?

      Skills Assessments
      Study of exchange rates

      Understanding the role of the Federal Reserve Bank

    • Research
    • Presentations - written and oral

      • d. Essential Question 4 (Language Arts): What is the meaning of a symbol, and what is the reasoning behind why certain symbols are chosen for certain forms of currency?

      Skills Assessments
      Understanding symbolism

      Understanding a culture through its arts, literature and music

    • Identify the different symbols on American currency and research its historical significance
    • After studying, reading, listening and analyzing certain works of art and cultural pieces, have them design paper money and write a research paper explaining why they have chosen those symbols to use.
    • Research
    • Essay writing
    • Oral presentations

      • e. Essential Question 5 (Arts): What is the process by which different currencies are designed?

      Skills Assessments
      Understanding of mottos and symbols

      Design and layout

    • Designing money for a country that students have studied in class
    • Design your family coin, complete with mottos and symbols
    • Create a brand new denomination of a coin

    • Step by step instructions for "Make Every Cent Count!"

      Unit Objectives for the student:

        1. Learn to identify the important aspects of a culture or society by studying its currency.
        2. Learn about the U.S. Mint.
        3. Learn about the presidents and other people used in American currency.
        4. Learn about the science of printing and coining money.
        5. Design your own coin.

      Unit Organizing Center

      Materials

      • Enough pennies for each student
      • Other examples of foreign currency

      Procedure
        1. Essential question (Science): What is the composition of different currencies, and how does this impact their preservation throughout time?

      Activities to answer essential question:
        a. Visit to the U.S. Mint or money printing plant.
        b. Visit to a coin collector
        c. Lab activities to test the composition of coins.
        d. Lesson on watermarks and anti-counterfeiting techniques

      Skills, Standards and Assessments:

      Skills Standards Assessments
    • Learning about the process of blanking and pressing
    • Understanding the composition of metals
    • Understanding mechanics and machinery
    • Presentations about the plant and how the machinery works together
    • Lab experiments

      • 2. Essential question for math: What is the value of currency, how is it decided, and what is the economic impact when values change?

      Activities to answer essential question
        a. The exchange rate for the Canadian dollar is extremely favorable to Americans right now. Tourism into Canada has also increased dramatically. What is the relationship between the two of them and why?
        b. Study inflation and research what this means to the average American family.

      Skills, Standards and Assessments

      Skills Standards Assessments
    • Computation
    • Compare and contrasting
    • Understanding cause and effect
    • Understanding general economic principles
    • Ability to compute numbers quickly and efficiently
    • Analyzing numbers
    • Comparing facts
    • Reading graphs
    • Understanding the importance of economics
    • Understanding general economic principles
    • Conversion of American dollars into different currencies
    • Reports about the economic stability of a country based on its financial figures
    • Debates
    • Discussions
    • Oral and written presentations
    • Reading the newspaper

      • 3. Essential question for Social Studies/History: How have currencies changed throughout time, and how does archeology help to record and examine these changes?

      Activities to answer essential question:
        a. Start off the unit by giving each student a penny to examine. Tell them that they are archeologists and they have just found this new artifact. What can you learn about a society from this artifact?
        b. What is liberty? What is "In God We Trust?" What is the history of these phrases? Do you think they should go on all American money?
        c. Look at paper money or coins from other countries. How are they different from the United States? How are they similar? What do they tell us about their cultures and what they deem important?
        d. Go through all of the different denominations and brainstorm a list of all the people on coins and bills. Divide up the people and the students will research each one.
        e. Discussions about why certain people were chosen.

      Skills, Standards and Assessments:

      Skills Standards Assessments
    • Distinguishing past and present and future time
    • Interpreting data
    • Compare and contrasting
    • Understanding cause and effect
    • Reading historical analysis or narratives
    • Compare and contrasting
    • Understanding cause and effect
    • Reading historical analysis or narratives
    • Thinking chronologically
    • Historical analysis and interpretation
    • Conducting historical research
    • Working on their own historical narratives
    • Designing their own coins
    • Hypothesizing about the future
    • Oral and written reports
    • Debates
    • Analysis of primary source material

      • 4. Essential question (Arts): What is the process by which different currencies are designed?

      Activities to answer essential question:
        a. Design your own family coin.
        b. Design a new penny of the future.
        c. Debates about whether or not the penny should exist in the future.
        d. Design a new quarter for Puerto Rico, a commonwealth of the United States, or for a state for which the new quarter has not been designed.

      Skills, Standards and Assessments:

      Skills Standards Assessments
    • Distinguishing past and present and future time
    • Interpreting data
    • Predictions about what a future coin would look like
    • Compare and contrasting
    • Thinking chronologically
    • Historical analysis and interpretation
    • Design a new penny or state coin.
    • Presentation comparing the evolution of the designs of the coin.
    • Timeline of all of the people who have been featured on American currency
    • Presentations about the old v. new coins
    • Presentations about the evolution of coins

      • 5. Essential question for Language Arts: What is the meaning of a symbol, and what is the reasoning behind why certain symbols are chosen for certain forms of currency?

      Activities to answer essential question:
        a. Research on the Internet about the U.S. Mint. Students can do mini-reports or presentations about its different aspects. Create their own "museum" of the Mint.
        b. Visit the U.S. Mint on a field trip.
        c. Study the creation and design of coins and how symbols are chosen.

      Skills, Standards and Assessments:

      Skills Standards Assessments
    • Distinguishing past and present and future time
    • interpreting data
    • Compare and contrasting
    • Understanding cause and effect
    • Reading historical analysis or narratives
    • Understanding cause and effect
    • Reading historical analysis or narratives
    • Thinking chronologically
    • Historical analysis and interpretation
    • Conducting historical research
    • Studying its initial role and what its purpose is now
    • Creating a "museum" of the U.S. Mint

    Workshop: Interdisciplinary Learning in Your Classroom
    Explanation | Demonstration | Exploration | Implementation | Get Credit

    Concept to Classroom | Description | Discussions | Resources | Help

    Thirteen | Thirteen Ed Online