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How Are Coins Different?

Printable view


Students use sets of circulating coins to determine the unique characteristics of each coin. They then create paragraphs and illustrations to convey what makes each coin in our pockets special.

Coin Type(s)

  • Cent
  • Nickel
  • Dime
  • Quarter
  • Half dollar
  • Dollar

Coin Program(s)

  • Generic


Students will be able to list the unique characteristics of each circulating U.S. coin and convey these characteristics in paragraphs and illustrations.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Language Arts

Minor/supporting Subject Area Connections

  • Art


  • Kindergarten
  • First grade
  • Second grade

Class Time

Sessions: One
Session Length: 30-45 minutes
Total Length: 0-45 minutes


  • Whole group
  • Small groups

Terms and Concepts



  • Six sets of U.S. circulating coins (a cent, nickel, dime, quarter, half dollar, and dollar)
  • Pencils or pens
  • Art supplies
  • Paper
  1. Divide the students into six groups. Give each group a set of U.S. circulating coins made up of a cent, nickel, dime, quarter, half dollar, and dollar. Give the students a few minutes to examine all the coins.
  2. As a class, briefly discuss how the coins compare with each other. Ask questions such as: Are the coins all the same? In what ways are they different? In what ways are they alike?

  3. Have each group pick a different coin. Have the group members work together to list everything that makes their coin different from the others in the set.

  4. Ask each group to share its list with the class. Check to see if any of the groups listed duplicate items. As a class, refine and finalize the lists of unique attributes for each coin.

  5. Have each group write a descriptive paragraph about its coin using the final list discussed by the class. In addition, have the group illustrate each of the coin's unique characteristics.

There are no modification options for this lesson plan.
  • Evaluate the groups' ability to develop lists of unique characteristics.
  • Evaluate the descriptive paragraphs for structure--a topic sentence followed by supporting details.
  • Evaluate the illustrations in terms of showing the coins' unique details.

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

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: All Language Arts Standards
Cluster: Use of Spoken, Written, and Visual Language
Grade(s): Grades K–12

  • 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: Effective Communication
Grade(s): Grades K–12

  • Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.

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