skip navigation
Left Navigation Links


Coin Trading Cards

Printable view


Students will research U.S. coins and historical figures, and will write informational text to create trading cards based on their research.

Coin Type(s)

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

Coin Program(s)

  • Lincoln Bicentennial Cents
  • Westward Journey Nickel Series
  • America The Beautiful Quarters
  • DC and Territory Quarters
  • 50 State Quarters
  • Presidential $1 Coin
  • Native American $1 Coin
  • Commemoratives
  • Generic


  • Students will explore historical figures in U.S. History.
  • Students will learn about the people depicted on different U.S. coins.
  • Students will research U.S. coins and historical figures.
  • Students will write informational text based on their research.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Social Studies

Minor/supporting Subject Area Connections

  • Art
  • Language Arts


  • Third grade
  • Fourth grade
  • Fifth grade

Class Time

Sessions: One
Session Length: 60 minutes
Total Length: 46-90 minutes


  • Whole group
  • Small groups
  • Individual work

Terms and Concepts

  • American History
  • Coins
  • Commemorative coins
  • Historical figures
  • History


  • U.S. Mint H.I.P. Pocket Change Web site, Coin of the Month "Past Picks" at
  • The Official Guide to U.S. Commemorative Coins by David L. Ganz (Paperback, September 1999)
  • Precut tag board for each student’s trading card
  • Art supplies: pencils, markers, colored pencils or crayons, scissors, white paper, glue


  • Gather trading cards as samples and make some overheads of coins including commemorative coins to give your students some ideas.
  • Create a grading rubric based on the elements required in the Steps section.  Make copies or post for the students' reference.
  1. Brainstorm with students the different types of trading cards they are familiar with.
  2. Make a list with the class of the common elements on all trading cards such as pictures, facts, statistics, etc.
  3. Explain to the students that they will be making trading cards based on U.S. coins. Show example overheads of coins including commemorative coins (if you made them) to give your students some ideas.
  4. Have each student pick one coin and create a trading card based on that coin. The coin must have a person or event depicted on one of the sides. Students can work in teams to research the coins using the U.S. Mint H.I.P. Pocket Change™ Web site, other coin websites and books about coins.
  5. Distribute the pre-cut tag board. Students can create the drawings on paper and write the information on the computer and then glue this onto the tag board trading card. Each card should include the following:
    • Pictures of the obverse and reverse of the coin
    • Description of all the elements on both sides of the coin
    • Mint dates and mint location
    • Face value of the coin
    • Description and history of the person or event depicted on the coin
    • Interesting facts about the coin

Differentiated Learning Options

Assign a coin and provide a printout of its information.


Have students determine different “values” for the trading cards, make additional cards, then trade and make up games for using their trading cards.

Use the rubric to evaluate the trading cards for achievement of the lesson objectives.

There are no related resources for this lesson plan.

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

Discipline: Social Studies
Domain: All Thematic Standards
Cluster: Science, Technology, and Society
Grade(s): Grades K–12

Teachers should:

  • enable learners to identify, describe, and examine both current and historical examples of the interaction and interdependence of science, technology, and society in a variety of cultural settings
  • provide opportunities for learners to make judgments about how science and technology have transformed the physical world and human society and our understanding of time, space, place, and human-environment interactions
  • have learners analyze the way in which science and technology influence core societal values, beliefs, and attitudes and how societal attitudes influence scientific and technological endeavors
  • prompt learners to evaluate various policies proposed to deal with social changes resulting from new technologies
  • help learners to identify and interpret various perspectives about human societies and the physical world using scientific knowledge, technologies, and an understanding of ethical standards of this and other cultures
  • encourage learners to formulate strategies and develop policy proposals pertaining to science/technology-society issues

Discipline: Social Studies
Domain: All Thematic Standards
Cluster: Culture and Cultural Diversity
Grade(s): Grades K–12

Teachers should:

  • assist learners to understand and apply the concept of culture as an integrated whole that governs the functions and interactions of language, literature, arts, traditions, beliefs, values, and behavior patterns
  • enable learners to analyze and explain how groups, societies, and cultures address human needs and concerns
  • guide learners as they predict how experiences may be interpreted by people from diverse cultural perspectives and frames of reference
  • encourage learners to compare and analyze societal patterns for transmitting and preserving culture while adapting to environmental and social change
  • enable learners to assess the importance of cultural unity and diversity within and across groups
  • have learners interpret patterns of behavior as reflecting values and attitudes which contribute to or pose obstacles to cross-cultural understanding
  • guide learners in constructing reasoned judgments about specific cultural responses to persistent human issues
  • have learners explain and apply ideas, theories, and modes of inquiry drawn from anthropology and sociology in the examination of persistent issues and social problems

Discipline: Social Studies
Domain: All Thematic Standards
Cluster: People, Places, and Environment
Grade(s): Grades K–12

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