Coin Trading Cards


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)

  • 50 State Quarters
  • America the Beautiful Quarters
  • Commemorative Coins
  • DC and Territory Quarters
  • Lincoln Bicentennial Cents
  • Native American $1 Coins
  • Presidential $1 Coins
  • Westward Journey Nickels


  • 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

  • Language Arts
  • Art


  • 3rd
  • 4th
  • 5th

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 "Coins and Medals" page
  • 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.

Lesson Steps

  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 website, 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.

Common Core Standards

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

National Standards

This lesson plan is not associated with any National Standards.