How Can They Tell?
Main Subject Area: Science
Additional Subjects: Language Arts, Mathematics
Duration of Lesson: 60 minutes
Additional Subject Area Standard(s):
Students will determine how a video game can tell the difference between an arcade token and a circulating quarter.
Coins Used in Lesson:
Grade Level(s): 6-8
2. Students will be divided into groups of two in order to make comparative observations of arcade tokens and currently circulating coins.
3. Students will use a balance to measure the mass of arcade tokens and each of the three U.S. coins in use with this activity. This information will be recorded on a data table.
4. Students will wrap a piece of string around the circumference of the arcade token and the coins being observed. They will then measure the string length to determine the circumference of each piece. This information will also be recorded on the data table.
5. Students will measure the thickness and diameter of the token the coins using a metric ruler. They will then record this information on their data table.
6. Students will also note any unusual characteristics of the token that sets it apart from the American coins (such as holes, flat edges rather than curved, etc.).
7. Each student group will examine the results of their tests and develop a conclusion as to how machines can tell the difference between tokens and currency. They will then develop a written statement to support their conclusion.
Note: Arcade games and vending machines tell the difference between coins from an electromagnetic signature that real coins have. For the purposes of this activity, however, the focus should be more on the scientific reasoning than the correctness of the results.
Assessment / Evaluation:
Differentiated Learning Options: