Coining a Champion

Summary

Starting with the 2018 Native American $1 Coin, students will learn about the lives of athletes Jim Thorpe and Jesse Owens. Students will pick an athlete they think should be on a coin and present a persuasive argument about why their athlete should be honored.

Coin Type(s)

  • Dollar

Coin Program(s)

  • Native American $1 Coins

Objectives

Students will learn about the lives of Jim Thorpe and Jesse Owens. Students will pick an athlete they think should be on a coin and present a persuasive argument about why their athlete should be honored.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Social Studies
  • Language Arts

Grades

  • 7th
  • 8th

Class Time

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

Groupings

  • Whole group
  • Individual work

Background Knowledge

Students should have basic knowledge of the writing process and biographies.

Terms and Concepts

  • American history
  • Commemorative coins
  • Native Americans
  • History
  • Medals
  • Athletes
  • Sports
  • Olympics

Materials

Preparations

  • Bookmark the links above in advance
  • Make copies of the following worksheets:
    • Coining a Champion: Athlete Biography worksheet (1 per student, 1 for display)
    • Coining a Champion Rubric (1 per student, 1 for display)

Worksheets

Lesson Steps

  • Display enlarged versions of the 2018 Native American $1 Coin and the Jesse Owens Congressional Gold Medal for your students to see. Explain that the Native American $1 Coin Program releases one coin per year to honor Native American accomplishments throughout history. Explain that commemorative coins are special coins issued to honor an outstanding person, place, or event in history.
  • Give a brief explanation of the lives of Jim Thorpe and Jesse Owens:
    1. Explain that Thorpe was a football player, baseball player, and an Olympian. Thorpe was Native American, born near Prague, Oklahoma in what was then Indian Territory, and got his start playing football and track at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania. Thorpe represented the U.S. at the 1912 Summer Olympics, competing in the new Pentathlon and Decathlon as well as two field events. His winning records stood for two decades. He was the first Native American to win a gold medal for the United States.
    2. Explain that Jesse Owens was an Olympic sprinter. In 1935, Owens broke three world records within 45 minutes. At Berlin in the following year, he became the first American to win four Olympic gold medals for running at a single Olympics. In 1950, Owens was named the greatest track athlete of the century. As an African American, Owens used his fame to regularly speak out against segregation and racism.
  • Ask students to explain what these two athletes have in common. Ask students what challenges these athletes might have faced in their careers. Ask why the United States Mint would decide to produce coins that honor these particular athletes. Answers should relate to the idea that they were created to honor people who were not only extraordinary athletic athletes but who also overcame adversity such as racism.
  • Explain that the United States Mint has other coins and medals that honor athletes. Display the "Sports Medals" web page and the "Sports Commemorative Coins" page to show the class more examples of these coins.
  • Tell the class they will be researching an athlete of their choice who they believe belongs on a coin. They will be preparing a brief (about three minutes) presentation and visual aide (poster, digital presentation and/or other visual aide) about their athlete and what event or behavior made the honoree(s) particularly memorable.
  • Display and distribute the "Coining a Champion: Athlete Biography" worksheet. Explain that during their research, students should fill out the worksheet to make sure they cover the following topics in their presentation:
    1. Name of athlete:
    2. Sport they play(ed):
    3. Type of coin: (commemorative coin, Native American $1 coin, other)
    4. Brief biography (birthplace, how they started playing the sport, any adversity or setbacks faced, and accomplishments):
    5. Specific Event or Behavior that makes them memorable (this is what the coin design would be):
    6. Why their athlete should be on a coin:
  • Display and distribute the "Coining a Champion Rubric". Explain that their presentation should cover the topics from the worksheet and include a poster or other visual aide that backs up their argument.
  • Have each student research their athlete independently either in additional class sessions or as homework. Explain that they will be compiling a presentation and coin design based on their findings.
  • Have students develop their presentation using a poster, digital media, or other method to share their coin with the class.
  • Have students present to the class with their visual aids.

Differentiated Learning Options

  • Have students write a paper instead of giving a presentation.
  • Allow students to use a scribe or computer to complete the worksheet.

Enrichments/Extensions

  • Have students make a video about their athlete.
  • Have students compare and contrast two different athletes.
  • Select a different theme and invite students to explore other commemorative coins and medals that the United States Mint produces that explore this theme (such as scientists, women in history, artists, African American history).

Assess

Evaluate the rubric, visual aid, presentation, and students' participation to assess how well the students have met the lesson objectives.

Common Core Standards

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: SL.7 Speaking & Listening
Grade(s): Grade 7 
Cluster: Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas
Standards:

  • SL.7.4 Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with pertinent descriptions, facts, details, and examples; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.
  • SL.7.5 Include multimedia components and visual displays in presentations to clarify claims and findings and emphasize salient points.
  • SL.7.6 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: SL.8 Speaking & Listening
Grade(s): Grade 8 
Cluster: Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas
Standards:

  • SL.8.4 Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with relevant evidence, sound valid reasoning, and well-chosen details; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.
  • SL.8.5 Integrate multimedia and visual displays into presentations to clarify information, strengthen claims and evidence, and add interest.

SL.8.6 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate. (See grade 8 Language standards 1 and 3 here for specific expectations.)


Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RI.7 Reading: Informational Text
Grades: Grade 7
Cluster: Key Ideas and Details

Standards:

  • 7.1 Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
  • 7.2 Determine two or more central ideas in a text and analyze their development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text.
  • 7.3 Analyze the interactions between individuals, events, and ideas in a text (e.g., how ideas influence individuals or events, or how individuals influence ideas or events).

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RI.8 Reading: Informational Text
Grades: Grade 8
Cluster: Key Ideas and Details

  • 8.1 Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
  • 8.2 Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to supporting ideas; provide an objective summary of the text.
  • 8.3 Analyze how a text makes connections among and distinctions between individuals, ideas, or events (e.g., through comparisons, analogies, or categories).

National Standards

NL-ENG.K-12.7: Evaluating Data

  • Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources (e.g., print and nonprint texts, artifacts, people) to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience.