A Tale of Two Quarters


Students will begin to understand how money passes through many different hands. Students will explore plot organization by designing a flow chart for a story about money changing hands.


  • Students will begin to understand how money passes through many different hands.
  • Students will explore plot organization by designing a flow chart for a story about money changing hands.

Subject Area

  • Coins & Mint
  • History & Government


  • 2nd
  • 3rd

Class Time

  • Total Time: 91-120 Minutes minutes


Lesson Steps

  1. Assemble the students and read The Go-Around Dollar, by Barbara Adams (optional). Discuss how money circulates.
  2. Show the students two quarters. Tell them where you got the quarters (e.g., as change when you bought coffee this morning). Ask students to think about where the quarters were before you got them.  Write on chart paper the beginning of a flow chart for these two quarters (in the first two boxes should be written where students guess they may have come from.  The second box should be the coffee shop and the third box should be you).
  3. Ask students to imagine where the quarter might end up next, and then after that, and so on. Add this information to the chart.
  4. Stop and review (or introduce, if never before used) flow charts with your class. Ask students how they think creating a flow chart before writing a story might help the author.
  5. Explain to students that they will be writing, as a class, a fiction story about two Vermont quarters that travel from their home state of Vermont to Kentucky. The first thing they will do together is to fill in a flow chart to organize the story line.
  6. Discuss some general story lines before beginning to write with your students. Remind students that the story they make up must fit into that flow chart on the "A Tale of Two Quarters" work page. NOTE: If the teacher or students want their story to follow a different path, a new flow chart could be created as the story develops.
  7. Begin to discuss the journey you wish the quarters to make on their way from Vermont to Kentucky. Fill in or create the flow chart as you decide on the major points of the story. Encourage students to think creatively and add details that will enhance the story.
  8. When the flow chart is finished, begin writing the story together, following the flow chart outline. The teacher will be the scribe, writing the text on chart paper as students offer the story orally. Call on different students to add to the story, eliciting a variety of responses while deciding the next part of the story line. Refer to the flow chart outline as needed. Write until everyone is satisfied with the story and ending.
  9. Once the story is finished, make decisions about how the story will be put together. Decide which text will go on which pages. Decide on placement of the text (top, bottom, or middle of the page).  Assign illustrators to each page and discuss possible illustrations.
  10. Send students to their seats to work on the illustrations for the book.  Before students start on pictures, they should write the text for their page.  When all students are finished working, assemble the book using the string or yarn.
  11. Read the story together.
  12. Hand out and review the "Heads or 'Tales'" work page. You may wish to allow students to work in partners to complete the work page.  (The work page could also be completed as homework.)


Use the worksheets and class participation to assess whether the students have met the lesson objectives.

Common Core Standards

This lesson plan is not associated with any Common Core Standards.

National Standards

Discipline: Social Studies Domain: All Disciplinary Standards Cluster: Geography Grade(s): Grades K–12 Standards: Teachers should:
  • guide learners in the use of maps and other geographic representations, tools, and technologies to acquire, process, and report information from a spatial perspective
  • enable learners to use mental maps to organize information about people, places, and environments in a spatial context
  • assist learners to analyze the spatial information about people, places, and environments on Earth’s surface
  • help learners to understand the physical and human characteristics of places
  • assist learners in developing the concept of regions as a means to interpret Earth’s complexity
  • enable learners to understand how culture and experience influence people’s perceptions of places and regions
  • provide learners opportunities to understand and analyze the physical processes that shape Earth’s surface
  • challenge learners to consider the characteristics and spatial distribution of ecosystems on Earth’s surface
  • guide learners in exploring the characteristics, distribution, and migration of human populations on Earth’s surface
  • help learners to understand and analyze the characteristics, distribution, and complexity of Earth’s cultural mosaics
  • have learners explore the patterns and networks of economic interdependence on Earth’s surface
  • enable learners to describe the processes, patterns, and functions of human settlement
  • challenge learners to examine how the forces of cooperation and conflict among people influence the division and control of Earth’s surface; help learners see how human actions modify the physical environment
  • enable learners to analyze how physical systems affect human systems
  • challenge learners to examine the changes that occur in the meaning, use, distribution, and importance of resources
  • help learners to apply geography to interpret the past and present and to plan for the future
  • enhance learners’ abilities to ask questions and to acquire, organize, and analyze geographic information so they can answer geographic questions as they engage in the study of substantive geographic content

Discipline: Language Arts Domain: All Language Arts Standards Cluster: Literature Grade(s): Grades K–12 Standards:
  • Students read a wide range of literature from many periods in many genres to build an understanding of the many dimensions (e.g., philosophical, ethical, aesthetic) of human experience.

Discipline: Visual Arts and Music Domain: K-4 Visual Arts Cluster: Standard 6: Making connections between visual arts and other disciplines Grade(s): Grades K–12 Standards:
  • Students understand and use similarities and differences between characteristics of the visual arts and other arts disciplines
  • Students identify connections between the visual arts and other disciplines in the curriculum

Discipline: Visual Arts and Music Domain: K-4 Visual Arts Cluster: Standard 1: Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes Grade(s): Grades K–12 Standards:
  • Students know the differences between materials, techniques, and processes
  • Students describe how different materials, techniques, and processes cause different responses
  • Students use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories
  • Students use art materials and tools in a safe and responsible manner