Four Famous Faces


Students will recognize certain historical figures in United States history. Students will understand the basic job of the President of the United States.

Coin Type(s)

  • Quarter

Coin Program(s)

  • 50 State Quarters


  • Students will recognize certain historical figures in United States history.
  • Students will understand the basic job of the President of the United States.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Social Studies

Minor/supporting Subject Area Connections

  • Math


  • K
  • 1st

Class Time

  • Sessions: Two
  • Session Length: 20-30 minutes
  • Total Length: 46-90 minutes


  • Whole group
  • Small groups
  • Individual work

Background Knowledge

Students should have a basic knowledge of:

  • Coin values
  • Counting change
  • Presidents
  • Past and present

Terms and Concepts

  • Mount Rushmore
  • Monument
  • George Washington
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Theodore Roosevelt


  • 1 overhead projector
  • 1 overhead transparency (or photocopy) of the "South Dakota Quarter Reverse" page
  • Copies of the following worksheets:
    • "My Coin"
    • "Famous Values"
  • 1 class map of the United States
  • Images of Mount Rushmore, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt
  • Copy of a text that gives basic information about the duties of the President of the United States, such as:
    • Duck for President by Doreen Cronin
    • Arthur Meets the President: An Arthur Adventure by Marc Brown
    • My Teacher for President by Kay Winters
    • White House Mouse by Peter W. Barnes and Cheryl Shaw Barnes
  • Chart paper
  • Markers
  • Small bags of a variety of plastic coins
  • Copies of enlarged coin outlines (fronts only) of the penny, nickel, and quarter (coloring pages found at
  • Math manipulatives
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Crayons


  • Make copies of the following:
    • "Famous Values" worksheet (1 per student)
    • Enlarged outlines (coloring pages) of the fronts of the penny, nickel, and quarter (1 per group, 1 for the teacher)
    • "My Coin" worksheet (1 per student)
  • Make an overhead transparency of each of the following:
    • "South Dakota Quarter Reverse" page
    • "Famous Values" worksheet
  • Gather images of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt.
  • Gather images of Mount Rushmore.
  • Locate a text that gives basic information about the duties of the President of the United States (see examples under "Materials").
  • Create a packet containing the coin outline pages (backs) and plastic coins for each group in Session 1.


Worksheets and files (PDF)

Lesson Steps

Session 1

  1. Describe the 50 State Quarters Program for background information, if necessary, using the example of your own state, if available. Locate South Dakota on a classroom map. Note its position in relation to your school's location.
  2. Display the "South Dakota Quarter Reverse" transparency or photocopy. Have the students discuss and identify the images on this coin design, including presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.
  3. Lead a class discussion regarding the presidents' images and display the images of Mount Rushmore. Explain to the students that the image of the Presidents on the coin is part of a monument (in this case, a statue made in remembrance of special persons) called Mount Rushmore. Write the name "Mount Rushmore" above the term "monument" and its definition on chart paper. Ask the students why they think that the monument might be important to South Dakota, and accept all responses.
  4. Display the images of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln and explain to the students that these men are very important to our country's history. Ask the students to brainstorm ideas about what these men did. Explain to the class that they each did great things for our country and were presidents.
  5. Introduce the students to the selected text about the job and duties of the President. As a group, preview the text and illustrations to generate observations about what is occurring at different points in the text. Read the selected text to the class and attend to any unfamiliar vocabulary.
  6. Discuss the meaning of the term "president," directing the students to realize that our nation's president is the leader of all of the people of our country. Explain to the students that a president is much like the principal of a school who leads the teachers and students. Have the students brainstorm the names of other presidents with whom they may be familiar. Ask the students who the current President of the United States is and add that name to the chart paper.
  7. List on chart paper some of the jobs of the President.
  8. Ask the students where they may see pictures of the current President or former presidents of the United States. Student responses may include paper money and coins, in newspapers and on TV. Record the student responses on the chart paper.

Session 2

  1. Review the discussion and information on the chart paper from Session 1.
  2. Divide the class into small groups. Distribute a bag of plastic coins and large coin outline pages to each group. Ask them to find the enlarged coin with President Washington on it and hold it up. Repeat the process for presidents Jefferson and Lincoln.
  3. Choose three students to hold up the large coin outlines of the fronts of the penny, nickel, and quarter. As a class, review which president is on each coin. Discuss the value on each coin.
  4. Have the small groups of students arrange the coins in order from the smallest to largest denomination. Review as a class and have the student volunteers stand in the same order.
  5. Repeat the activity arranging the coins from the largest to the smallest denomination.
  6. Have the groups find the plastic coins that match the enlarged images. Review the face value and name of each coin.
  7. Distribute the "Famous Values" worksheet to each student. As a class, review the directions on the worksheet. Allow sufficient time for the students to complete the worksheet.
  8. Collect the students' worksheets.
  9. Distribute a "My Coin" worksheet to each student. Invite the students to create a new obverse image of four important people from their school, community, or family.
  10. Display the "My Coin" worksheets in the classroom.

Differentiated Learning Options

  • Allow students to work with partners to complete their worksheets.
  • Allow students to dictate their answers to a scribe.


  • Read aloud other theme-related books about the United States presidents. Add these books to the class library.
  • Create a coin with an image or symbol of Theodore Roosevelt.
  • Have books about Mount Rushmore available in the classroom library for students to look over and read on their own.
  • Have students create a painting, sketch, or sculpture in the style of Mount Rushmore that represents their school, community, or state.


  • Take anecdotal notes about the students' participation in class discussions.
  • Evaluate the students' worksheet for achievement of the lesson's objectives.

Common Core Standards

Discipline: Math
Domain: K.MD Measurement and Data
Grade(s): Grade K
Cluster: Describe several measurable attributes of a single object

  • K.MD.2. Directly compare two objects with a measurable attribute in common, to see which object has "more of"/"less of" the attribute, and describe the difference. For example, directly compare the heights of two children and describe one child as taller/shorter.
  • K.MD.3. Classify objects into given categories; count the numbers of objects in each category and sort the categories by count.

National Standards

Discipline: Mathematics
Domain: K-2 Number and Operations
Cluster: Compute fluently and make reasonable estimates.
Grade(s): Grades K–2

In K through grade 2 all students should

  • develop and use strategies for whole-number computations, with a focus on addition and subtraction;
  • develop fluency with basic number combinations for addition and subtraction; and
  • use a variety of methods and tools to compute, including objects, mental computation, estimation, paper and pencil, and calculators.

Discipline: Mathematics
Domain: All Problem Solving
Cluster: Instructional programs from kindergarten through grade 12 should enable all students to
Grade(s): Grades K–2

  • Build new mathematical knowledge through problem solving
  • Solve problems that arise in mathematics and in other contexts
  • Apply and adapt a variety of appropriate strategies to solve problems
  • Monitor and reflect on the process of mathematical problem solving