Why is Sacagawea on the Golden Dollar?


After researching the decision to place the image of Sacagawea on the Golden Dollar, students will write persuasive essays either defending or opposing this decision.

Coin Type(s)

  • Dollar

Coin Program(s)

  • Native American $1 Coins


The students will write persuasive essays which support or oppose a statement about the Golden Dollar.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Language Arts

Minor/supporting Subject Area Connections

  • Social Studies


  • 6th
  • 7th
  • 8th

Class Time

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


  • Whole group
  • Individual work

Terms and Concepts

  • Essay
  • Golden Dollar
  • Lewis and Clark
  • Persuasive writing
  • Sacagawea
  • U.S. coins
  • Writing


Lesson Steps

  1. Ask the students what they know about the Golden Dollar. Make a web on chart paper or on the overhead that links their ideas. Ask questions such as: Why do you think they picked Sacagawea to be on the dollar? Why do they put images of people on coins? Who else do you know who has their image on a coin? (If it doesn't come up in the discussion, mention that "Golden Dollar" is the original name of the Native American $1 Coin before the reverses where devoted to images of Native American history. "Sacagawea Dollar" is an informal name for the coin.)
  2. Have the students read Chapter 6, the history of the Sacagawea Dollar (http://pompstory.home.mindspring.com/Pages/chapter6.html). This will give the students some history about the coin.
  3. Read aloud this quote from the former Director of the United States Mint:

    The Mint’s director, Philip N. Diehl, decided to invite the public to help choose who should appear on the coin. “Coins [are] not just a way of buying things,” he said about his approach toward the design. “[P]utting images and words on coins. . . .[is] a way for a government to talk to its people and for people to talk among themselves.”

  4. Have the students write an essay either defending or opposing the statement. For research, they can read through the first chapters of the online book.

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  • Use the students' essays to evaluate their ability to support their opinions.
  • A rubric may be used to evaluate the essays.

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.