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Nickels, History, and Peace

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Summary

Students will explore the design changes between the pre-2004 Monticello nickel and the new Peace Medal nickel. They will read about the historical events related to this new design, explore the symbols of friendship in this design, and explain the symbols’ relevance to Lewis and Clark’s expedition.

Coin Type(s)

  • Nickel

Coin Program(s)

  • Westward Journey Nickel Series

Objectives

  • Students will explore the design changes between the pre-2004 Monticello nickel and the new Peace Medal nickel.
  • They will read about the historical events related to this new design, explore the symbols of friendship in this design, and explain the symbols’ relevance to Lewis and Clark’s expedition.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies

Grades

  • Second grade

Class Time

Sessions: Three
Session Length: 30-45 minutes
Total Length: 91-120 minutes

Groupings

  • Whole group
  • Pairs

Background Knowledge

Students should have a basic knowledge of:

  • Circulating coin designs
  • Symbols of friendship
  • Script writing

Terms and Concepts

  • Obverse (heads)
  • Reverse (tails)
  • President Thomas Jefferson
  • Lewis and Clark
  • Louisiana Territory
  • Explorers
  • Expedition
  • American Indians
  • The Jefferson Peace Medal
  • The Peace Medal nickel
  • Friendship

Materials

  • Peace Medal nickels (1 per student)
  • 1 overhead projector
  • 1 overhead transparency of the pre-2004 Monticello nickel obverse from the Resource Guide
  • 1 overhead transparency of the pre-2004 Monticello nickel reverse from the Resource Guide
  • 1 overhead transparency of the “Louisiana Territory” map from the Resource Guide
  • 1 overhead transparency of the Jefferson Peace Medal reverse from the Resource Guide
  • Chart paper
  • Markers
  • Copies of an age-appropriate text that provides basic historical information about the Lewis and Clark expedition, such as:
    • A Picture Book of Lewis and Clark by David Adler
    • How We Crossed the West, The Adventures of Lewis and Clark by Rosalyn Schanzer
    • Lewis and Clark, Explorers of the American West by Steven Kroll
    • Going Along with Lewis and Clark by Barbara Fifer
  • Writing paper
  • Writing journals

Preparations

  • Make an overhead transparency of the pre-2004 Monticello nickel obverse from the Resource Guide.
  • Make an overhead transparency of the pre-2004 Monticello nickel reverse from the Resource Guide.
  • Gather Peace Medal nickels (1 per student).
  • Create a “before and after reading chart”: Divide a piece of chart paper into two columns. Write “Before Reading” over the left column and “After Reading” over the right column.
  • Locate an appropriate text that provides basic historical information about the Lewis and Clark expedition (See examples under “Materials”).
  • Make an overhead transparency of the “Louisiana Territory” map from the Resource Guide.
  • Make an overhead transparency of the Jefferson Peace Medal reverse from the Resource Guide.

Worksheets and Files

Lesson plan, worksheet(s), and rubric (if any) at www.usmint.gov/kids/teachers/lessonPlans/pdf/167.pdf.

Session 1

  1. Display the transparency of the pre-2004 Monticello nickel obverse. Ask students to examine it and tell you what they know about this picture. Students should be able to identify this as the obverse (front) of a nickel and that it depicts President Thomas Jefferson.
  2. Ask the students if they know what is on the reverse (back) of the nickel. After hearing responses, display the transparency of the pre-2004 Monticello nickel reverse. If students do not know, explain that the building was President Jefferson’s home, called “Monticello.”
  3. Explain that our country changed its nickels in 2004 to tell the story of two men who led an expedition that explored our land 200 years ago.
  4. Distribute a Peace Medal nickel to each student and allow them time to thoroughly examine each side.
  5. Ask students to describe the image on the coin’s obverse. Students should realize that this is the same image as on the pre-2004 Monticello nickel obverse.
  6. Ask students to turn the nickel over and describe the images on the reverse.
  7. Ask students to make predictions about the coin’s design. Who are the individuals shaking hands and why might they be shaking hands? Record the students’ responses in the left column of the “before and after reading chart” for all to see.
  8. Explain that they will be reading a story as a class about the journey to which these new nickels refer. Introduce the students to the selected text. As a group, preview the text and illustrations to generate predictions about what is occurring at different points in the book. Tell the students that they are to listen as you read for clues about why these men went on this journey and who they met along the way.
  9. Read this story aloud to the group. During the reading, attend to any unfamiliar vocabulary and difficult concepts.
  10. Ask the students to explain who Lewis and Clark were. If these new coins are honoring the journey of Lewis and Clark, why is President Jefferson still on the coin’s obverse? Why were the explorers traveling across the country? Use the overhead transparency of the “Louisiana Territory” map to show the area that Lewis and Clark were sent to explore.
  11. Ask students to consider the story that they just heard and the people that Lewis and Clark met during their travels. Again ask students to respond to the questions, “Who are the individuals shaking hands and why might they be shaking hands?” Record the students’ responses in the right-hand column of the “before and after reading chart” for all to see. If not among the responses on the list, guide students to consider that the hands may belong to a soldier and an American Indian.
  12. Collect the Peace Medal nickels from the students.

Sessions 2 and 3

  1. Displaying the overhead transparency of the Peace Medal nickel reverse, revisit the coin’s design and ask the students to recall some basic information about the story that they read during the previous session.
  2. Look at the chart from the previous day and explain that the coin shows an American soldier shaking hands with an American Indian. Explain that the image was based on a medal that Lewis and Clark gave to American Indian chiefs who they met during the trip.
  3. Briefly discuss with the students the meaning of the symbols on the nickel. The symbols include two hands clasped in a handshake and a tomahawk crossing a tobacco pipe. Ask students to guess why the gift medals carried these symbols. Are they friendly symbols or symbols of war?
  4. Explain that Lewis and Clark brought gifts besides these medals, such as blue beads, iron tools, flags, and uniforms, all of which were valuable to the American Indians.
  5. Ask the students why they think it was important for Lewis and Clark to have good relationships with the American Indians they met.
  6. Ask the students what they do when they meet someone for the first time to let the other person know that they are friendly. Would their actions be any different if they didn’t speak the same language? What would they want to consider before approaching the other person if they wanted to seem friendly?
  7. Assign each student a partner and explain that they will write a short skit together about two people making friends when they don’t understand each other’s words. What would they do? Record students’ ideas on chart paper for all to see.
  8. Distribute a piece of writing paper to each pair.
  9. Direct the students to use the list that they just created to write their skit. Allow them ten minutes to discuss and write their ideas.
  10. Have the students present their skits.
  11. Discuss any commonalities between the skits. Were there similar ways in which people expressed friendship? Did they notice any handshakes in any of the plays?
  12. To conclude this activity, direct the students to write in their journals a response to the question “Why do you think this nickel design was selected as the first in the Westward Journey Nickel Series™?”

Differentiated Learning Options

  • Provide individual maps of the Lewis and Clark expedition’s route so each child will be able to see it.
  • Locate and label pictures of the people in the lesson.
  • Students could do independent research about Sacagawea, the Shoshoni Indian woman who acted as a translator for the Lewis and Clark expedition. They could also present their information to the class.

Enrichments/Extensions

Allow the students to take a new nickel with the stipulation that they give it to someone with whom they’d like to be better friends. Direct those students to write a follow-up paragraph about who they gave their nickel to and why they chose that person.

  • Take anecdotal notes about the students’ participation during the class discussions and the development and presentation of their group’s skit.
  • Check for the students’ comprehension through the responses given in their journal entries.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.2 Reading: Literature
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Key Ideas and Details
Standards:

  • RL.2.1. Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.
  • RL.2.2. Recount stories, including fables and folktales from diverse cultures, and determine their central message, lesson, or moral.
  • RL.2.3. Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.2 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Text Types and Purposes
Standards:

  • W.2.1. Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply reasons that support the opinion, use linking words (e.g., because, and, also) to connect opinion and reasons, and provide a concluding statement or section.
  • W.2.2. Write informative/explanatory texts in which they introduce a topic, use facts and definitions to develop points, and provide a concluding statement or section.
  • W.2.3. Write narratives in which they recount a well-elaborated event or short sequence of events, include details to describe actions, thoughts, and feelings, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide a sense of closure.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.2 Reading: Literature
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Craft and Structure
Standards:

  • RL.2.4. Describe how words and phrases (e.g., regular beats, alliteration, rhymes, repeated lines) supply rhythm and meaning in a story, poem, or song.
  • RL.2.5. Describe the overall structure of a story, including describing how the beginning introduces the story and the ending concludes the action.
  • RL.2.6. Acknowledge differences in the points of view of characters, including by speaking in a different voice for each character when reading dialogue aloud.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.2 Reading: Literature
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
Standards:

  • RL.2.7. Use information gained from the illustrations and words in a print or digital text to demonstrate understanding of its characters, setting, or plot.
  • RL.2.8. not applicable to literature.
  • RL.2.9. Compare and contrast two or more versions of the same story (e.g., Cinderella stories) by different authors or from different cultures.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: L.2 Language
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Conventions of Standard English
Standards:

  • L.2.1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
    • Use collective nouns (e.g., group).
    • Form and use frequently occurring irregular plural nouns (e.g., feet, children, teeth, mice, fish).
    • Use reflexive pronouns (e.g., myself, ourselves)
    • Form and use the past tense of frequently occurring irregular verbs (e.g., sat, hid, told).
    • Use adjectives and adverbs, and choose between them depending on what is to be modified.
    • Produce, expand, and rearrange complete simple and compound sentences (e.g., The boy watched the movie; The little boy watched the movie; The action movie was watched by the little boy).
  • L.2.2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
    • Capitalize holidays, product names, and geographic names.
    • Use commas in greetings and closings of letters.
    • Use an apostrophe to form contractions and frequently occurring possessives.
    • Generalize learned spelling patterns when writing words (e.g., cage --> badge; boy --> boil).
    • Consult reference materials, including beginning dictionaries, as needed to check and correct spellings.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.2 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Research to Build and Present Knowledge
Standards:

  • W.2.7. Participate in shared research and writing projects (e.g., read a number of books on a single topic to produce a report; record science observations).
  • W.2.8. Recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.
  • W.2.9. begins in grade 4.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.2 Writing
Grade(s): Grade 2
Cluster: Production and Distribution of Writing
Standards:

  • W.2.4. begins in grade 3.
  • W.2.5. With guidance and support from adults and peers, focus on a topic and strengthen writing as needed by revising and editing.
  • W.2.6. With guidance and support from adults, use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: All Language Arts Standards
Cluster: Applying Strategies to Text
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

  • Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound–letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).

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: Applying Strategies to Writing
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

  • Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of 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