Lessons by Historical Era

Looking for a lesson plan about a certain time period? Many of the United States Mint’s lesson plans can be adapted to suit different historical eras, but the following lessons were created for specific times in U.S. history:

  • Ancient History: These lessons discuss humanity’s first coins, tracing the roots of coinage from Ancient Rome to today.
  • Early Americans: These lessons focus on Native Americans and their interactions with early settlers and each other. For more Native American lessons, visit the Native American $1 Coin lesson plans page.
  • Revolutionary War: These lessons focus on the Revolutionary War, the 13 Colonies, and historical figures of the time such as George Washington and Benjamin Franklin.
  • The New Nation: These lessons highlight American history after the formation of the country, from Federalism to the Gold Rush to European Immigration.
  • Westward Expansion: These lessons discuss the settlers who made their home and living in the newly-established West.
  • Civil War: These lessons cover the Civil War and important historical figures like Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.
  • 20th Century: These lessons feature diverse voices from the 20th century such as Mohawk Ironworkers, Olympic athletes, conservationists, and musicians.


Ancient Historyclose-up of sketched coins

In All Coins Lead to Rome, students will compare and contrast modern U.S. coins to those of ancient times.

In Ancient Myths Retold, students will be introduced to mythology and will create modern versions of ancient myths based on figures represented on modern U.S. coins.

In Ancient Story Problems, students will research ancient civilizations and develop story problems using symbols and coins from those times.

In Symbols on Coins: U.S. Coins Evolved from Ancient Times, students will learn about the evolution of coins, and will create their own coin, using the various features that have been carried over into modern times.

In Unity Versus Diversity, students will analyze how 50 State quarters represent both the diversity and unity of the United States and how Roman coins unified the empire.

Early Americansnative american pictographs

In Presenting the Amazing Horse, students will demonstrate an understanding of the importance of the horse to Native Americans and identify ways the horse helped Native Americans.  

In Turtles are Terrific!, students will define the term "clan" and identify and sequence the life cycle of a turtle.

In A Horse's Journey, students will use journal writing to examine and identify the importance of the horse and buffalo to Native Americans and their culture.

In Symbols of Peace, students will learn about the Iroquois Confederacy, the Great Law of Peace, symbolism, and symbolism in burying weapons beneath the Great Tree of Peace.

In Negotiating Nations, students will analyze primary source documents to describe the rights and limitations of Native American tribal sovereignty and summarize information.

In Roots of American Diplomacy, students will understand the historical significance of the Iroquois Confederacy and Iroquois peace efforts with other Native American peoples by diplomacy.

Revolutionary Wardeclaration of independence close-up july 4,1776

In Turkeys or Eagles?, students discuss how Benjamin Franklin wanted the wild turkey (not bald eagle) as our national bird, graph their preferences, and discuss results. 

In Ben Franklin Half Dollar, students research Ben Franklin's contributions to American culture and technological progress through quotes and inventions and analyze research to design a coin.  

In By George, I Think We Have It!, students will identify George Washington and his contributions and understand the main ideas of the Revolutionary War and the basic concept of voting.

In Colonial Discovery, students will create a mural to tell the story of the 13 colonies and to display current state symbols of each of the 13 states.

In Unite These States, students will learn the location of the first 13 colonies and familiarize themselves with the location of all 50 states.

In Presidential Biography, students will identify George Washington and his contributions to the United States and understand that a biography is a type of literary genre.

In Who’s Who, students will identify influential individuals and groups of people who participated in the Battles of Saratoga and understand their involvement with the battles. Students will describe how natural resources in Saratoga, New York, affected the Battles of Saratoga.

In Fact Checking History, students will be able to describe the significance of the Battles of Saratoga using primary and secondary sources. Students will explain the importance of using multiple primary sources to become an informed citizen.

The New Nationblack and white photograph of woman working at mint facility

In Postcards from the Past, students will learn about Ellis Island and the people who passed through on their way to a new life in America. Students will write a postcard from the perspective of an immigrant at Ellis Island. 

In First Stop: The American Dream, students will research different jobs associated with Ellis Island and complete a project demonstrating their knowledge of these jobs. The students will understand the jobs' importance and how these jobs facilitated immigration to the United States.  

In Who Has the Power?, students will gain an understanding of the concept of federalism.  

In Why? Because and Effect, students will evaluate the causes and effects of the Battle of Baltimore and the War of 1812.

In Key to the National Anthem, students will describe how the events of the Battle of Baltimore inspired Francis Scott Key to write the lyrics of "The Star-Spangled Banner." 

In North to Alaska and Gold: Denali National Park and Preserve, students will compare and contrast the California Gold Rush with the Gold Rush that took place in Alaska.

In Starting a Revolution, students will examine how American currency contributed to the Industrial Revolution and explore Slater Mill and reasons for placing it on a coin.

In The Laws of the Land, students will gain a greater understanding of Federalism and identify the difference between state and national laws and compare state and national powers.  

Westward Expansionmap of oregon trail

In A Cowboy's Life, students will identify and use the key components of a friendly letter. Students will use voice and expressive language in their writing.

In A Homegrown Budget, students will describe the life of a Western homestead settler in the 1800s. Students will use addition and subtraction to calculate a budget.

In A Trip Back in Time, students will analyze the experiences of pioneers in the 1800s, and will reflect on these experiences through artistic and written means.

In Travel the Trail, students understand how inventions have changed out lives and how the lives of individuals and families of the past are different from those of today.

In Wagons West!, students will describe the challenges the pioneers faced as they began their journey west. Students will understand and apply the elements of the historical fiction genre. Students will use historical fiction to learn more about a time period.

In Homestead Narratives, students will identify groups of people who settled new lands as a result of the Homestead Act of 1862, analyze their motives for moving, and write in a variety of forms with an emphasis on narration.

Civil Warabraham lincoln portrait on u.s. flag background blue stars

In Story Hour with Lincoln, students will learn about and identify major accomplishments of Abraham Lincoln.

In A Day in the Life, students will research how soldiers lived during the Civil War. Students will compare their own lives to those of the soldiers. Students will share findings through a project of their choice.

In A Notable Narrative, students will learn to read and create a timeline and will correctly identify the sequence of events. Students will learn how Frederick Douglass fought for equality and justice for all people

In Lincoln al Fresco, students will learn about and identify the significance of the symbols on the back of the 2010 Lincoln cent.

In Champion a Cause, students will describe the role of Frederick Douglass as an advocate for equality and justice for all people. Students will identify causes Frederick Douglass believed in. Students will define and discuss being involved in a cause and share causes they personally believe in. Students will write a presentation about a cause they believe in and advocate for their cause to the class.

In Lincoln 2.0, students will be able to identify and analyze the challenges that Abraham Lincoln faced during his presidency in relation to keeping the Union intact.

In Lincoln Lithograph, students will identify important events and people in the life of Abraham Lincoln and their influence on his life.

20th Centurystatue of liberty on blue sky background

In Musician Extraordinaire, students will understand the role of a musician, composer and conductor.

In Vital Communication: Native American Code Talkers, students will write an explanatory text summarizing research on the Native American Code Talkers.

In Why is Roosevelt on the Dime?, students will use a variety of reference resources to research the life of Franklin Roosevelt. From this research, they will determine why his image was chosen to appear on the dime.

In Conserving the World Around Us: Theodore Roosevelt's Legacy, students will describe the role of Theodore Roosevelt in the creation of the National Park System. Students will define and discuss conservation. Students will write a proposal to promote conservation of an area of their town or state using scientific information.

In Coining a Champion, 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.

In I Am Steel, students will analyze the movement of Americans and the Mohawk ironworkers from rural to urban areas for job opportunities. Students will write a script and present a monologue from the perspective of the Kahnawake Mohawk and Mohawk Akwesasne ironworker on the construction site.

In Going for the Gold, 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 create a coin design representing their athlete.


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