The Numbers: Native American Code Talkers

Summary

Students will compare coin specifications in decimals and identify measurement units within a system.

Coin Type(s)

  • Dollar

Coin Program(s)

  • Native American $1 Coins

Objectives

Students will compare coin specifications in decimals and identify measurement units within a system. Students will express the values of these coins on whole dollar amounts, compare the values using standard symbols and generate a conversion table for each coin related to one whole dollar ($1.00).

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Math

Grades

  • 4th
  • 5th
  • 6th

Class Time

  • Sessions: One
  • Session Length: 30-45 minutes
  • Total Length: 0-45 minutes

Background Knowledge

Students should have a basic understanding of decimal notation and basic measurement units.

Terms and Concepts

  • Native American $1 Coin
  • Code Talkers
  • Reverse (back)
  • Obverse (front)

Materials

Preparations

Worksheets

Worksheets and Files (PDF)

Lesson Steps

  1. Display and examine the "2016 Native American $1 Coin" reverse image.
  2. Ask the students what information may be inferred from the inscriptions. As students make their inferences, list them on a board or chart paper.
  3. Explain that the 2016 Native American $1 Coin commemorates the contributions of the Native American Code Talkers in World War I and World War II. The reverse (tails side) design features two helmets—one in the shape of the U.S. helmets used in World War I and the other in the shape of a World War II helmet. Next to them are the inscriptions "WWI" and "WWII." Behind the helmets are two feathers that form a "V," symbolizing victory, unity and the important role that the code talkers played in both world wars. Additional inscriptions are "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA," "$1" and "CODE TALKERS."
  4. Explain that it is estimated that more than 12,000 Native Americans served in the U.S. military during World War I. In World War II, more than 44,000 Native Americans, out of a total Native American population of less than 350,000, served with distinction in both the European and Pacific theaters. Hundreds played a vital communications role in both world wars. This select group of Native Americans was asked to develop and use secret battle codes using their native languages to communicate troop movements and enemy positions. Their efforts saved many lives because America's enemies were unable to decode their messages.
  5. Continue by explaining that native languages came to play an increasingly vital role in the U.S. war effort in both World War I and II. Several tribes provided Native American speakers for telephone squads on the French battlefields in World War I. Additional tribes sent soldiers to join the code talkers of World War II, serving in North Africa, Italy, France and the Pacific. The languages used by American Indians greatly assisted their fellow American soldiers in the heat of battle by transmitting messages in unbreakable battle codes.
  6. Using the websites listed in "preparations," review and have a class discussion about the impact of the Native American contributions to World Wars I and II.
  7. Explain that the U.S. Mint produces many different coins for circulation, or transactions.
  8. Display other coins from circulating coin images listed in materials.
  9. Review with students the values of each coin, that a penny is worth one cent, a nickel is five cents, a dime is ten cents, a quarter is twenty-five cents and that the Native American $1 coin is worth one dollar.
  10. Hand out the "The Numbers – Native American Code Talkers Checklist and Worksheet" and explain that students will express the values of these coins on whole dollar amounts, compare the values using standard symbols and generate a conversion table for each coin related to one whole dollar ($1.00).
  11. Have the students complete the checklist as they work.
  12. Collect the worksheets.

Differentiated Learning Options

Provide printed texts for review during assignment.

Allow students to use computers to transcribe numerals and notation.

Have students work in pairs or groups.

Enrichments/Extensions

Explore other contributions by Native Americans by visiting the U.S. Mint's Native American Coins and Medals page.

Have students design their own coin symbolizing a contribution from Native Americans.

Locate and view videos of Native American Code Talkers.

Technology Extensions

Have students create multimedia presentations using materials from the websites listed under preparations.

Assess

The Numbers : Native American Code Talkers Checklist and Worksheet

Name:_____________________________

Date:______________________________

Fill in the blanks:

A penny is worth __________ cents.

A nickel is worth __________ cents.

A dime is worth __________ cents.

A quarter is worth __________ cents.

Express the relationship of the following coin values in terms of 1.00 dollar, fill in the blanks and circle the correct symbol:

A dime is worth _____ cents and is > , = , or < than a dollar which is worth _____ cents.

A penny is worth _____ cents and is > , = , or < than a quarter which is worth _____ cents.

A quarter is worth _____ cents and is > , = , or < than a nickel which is worth _____ cents.

A dime is worth _____ cents and is > , = , or < than a dime which is worth _____ cents.

A Native American $1 Coin is worth _____ cents and is > , = , or < than a dime which is worth _____ cents.

Complete the following conversion chart using information from above:

It takes _____ pennies to make $1.00.

It takes _____ nickels to make $1.00.

It takes _____ dimes to make $1.00.

It takes _____ quarters to make $1.00.

It takes _____ Native American $1 coins to make $1.00

Common Core Standards

DisciplineMath
Domain4.MD Measurement and Data
Grade(s)Grade 4 
ClusterUnderstand decimal notation for fractions, and compare decimal fractions.
Standards:

  • Know relative sizes of measurement units within one system of units including km, m, cm; kg, g; lb, oz.; l, ml; hr, min, sec. Within a single system of measurement, express measurements in a larger unit in terms of a smaller unit. Record measurement equivalents in a two-column table. For example, know that 1 ft is 12 times as long as 1 in. Express the length of a 4 ft snake as 48 in. Generate a conversion table for feet and inches listing the number pairs (1, 12), (2, 24), (3, 36), ...

DisciplineMath
Domain4.NF Number and Operations: Fractions
Grade(s)Grade 4 
ClusterUnderstand decimal notation for fractions, and compare decimal fractions
Standards:

  • 4.NF.5. Express a fraction with denominator 10 as an equivalent fraction with denominator 100, and use this technique to add two fractions with respective denominators 10 and 100. For example, express 3/10 as 30/100, and add 3/10 + 4/100 = 34/100.
  • 4.NF.6. Use decimal notation for fractions with denominators 10 or 100. For example, rewrite 0.62 as 62/100; describe a length as 0.62 meters; locate 0.62 on a number line diagram.
  • 4.NF.7. Compare two decimals to hundredths by reasoning about their size. Recognize that comparisons are valid only when the two decimals refer to the same whole. Record the results of comparisons with the symbols >, = or <, and justify the conclusions, eg, by using a visual model.

National Standards

This lesson plan is not associated with any National Standards.