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What is the meaning of this?


Students will understand cause and effect and relate it to a historical event.  Students will research the meaning behind the symbols and images used on the Indian Head Cent.


After reading the August 2005's Coin of the Month page, review the concept of cause and effect with the students.

Have the students recall what important event was happening in the United States during the 1860's.  Students should respond the Civil War was being fought, and the North was fighting against the South about slavery.  Discuss what things can happen during a time of war.  Answers could include men going off to fight; women working where the men once did, scarcity of supplies, and people hoarding coins.  Explain that in the 1860's, the metal in the coins was valuable, so people would stash the coins away, or hoard them.  Relate this discussion to the cause and effect concept.  (The war is the cause and a lack of supplies is the effect).

Display the obverse and reverse image of the 1864 Indian Head Cent.  Point out the various images and symbols that are part of the "What is the Meaning of This?" worksheet.

Have the students use Web sites that provide information about the Indian Head Cent such as:

Have the students use Web sites to research the answers to the worksheet.  Review the worksheet as a class.


Have the students research other coins, such as the 1863 Civil War token, focusing on their symbols and images to better understand their meaning and connection with historical events.


The project described above reflects some of the national standards of learning as defined by the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), the National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE), and the International Society for Technology in Education.  These standards are listed below:

Social Studies Standards

Production, Distribution, and Consumption:  Students will understand the effects the Civil War had on the Indian Head Cent.

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