Coin Program Poetry


Students discuss and research an individual or event from a coin program. They then use the information to write acrostic poems, creating stand-up accordion books to display the poems.


  • Students will collect, organize, and research data
  • Students will use research to write creatively.
  • Students will identify and name current and past coin programs.

Subject Area

  • Coins & Mint


  • 3rd
  • 4th

Class Time

  • Total Time: 0-45 Minutes minutes

Lesson Steps

Introduce Coin Programs and Research Questions (15 minutes)
  1. Research coin programs for your students to use by looking through the U.S. Mint Coin Classroom pages listed under Materials. Decide which coins or coin programs you want students to research.
    • You may also allow students to decide which program or coin they would like to research by giving them additional time during this lesson to review the pages on their own or assigning it  as pre-work/homework in advance of the lesson.
  2. Explain to the class that the U.S. Mint has coin programs that honor important people, places, and events. Share with students some examples and display some of the coins from the U.S. Mint Coin Classroom or using actual coins, like an American Women quarter or 50 State quarter.
  3. Create a K-W-L ("what we Know, what we Want to know, what we Learned") chart. Brainstorm with the class about the coin or coin program subject and take notes on the chart in the first two columns.
  4. Divide the class into small groups and assign each group a question to research. Allow time and resources for the research. The links to the U.S. Mint website and U.S. Mint Coin Classroom below can start student research:
  5. Sample research questions include:
    • General - Why was the subject of this coin / coin program selected? What makes it important?
    • America the Beautiful – Pick a quarter that shows a place you would like to visit. Describe the place, why you would like to visit, and how it relates to American history.
    • 50 States – Pick a quarter for a state you have never visited. Research what the symbols and writing on the coin means and how they relate to the state's history.
    • American Women Quarters – Research the life of one of the women featured on a quarter and explain how her life had an impact on the United States.
    • Lincoln Bicentennial Pennies – How do the images and writing on these pennies relate to Lincoln's life and American history?
    • Westward Nickels – How do the images and writing on these nickels connect to the Louisiana Purchase or Lewis and Clark expedition?
  6. Have the groups share the answers they found with the class. Use the information to fill in the third column of your K-W-L chart.
Conduct Research, Write Poetry, and Create an accordion book (30 minutes)
  1. Direct the students back into the same small groups, then have them write an acrostic for the coin, with the first letter of each line spelling out the     name of the individual or event. For example, "Lincoln" and "Maya" might read:

Lawyer Indiana is where he spent childhood Never without a book Chosen for Illinois General Assembly On a penny Lived in a log cabin Notable leader

Made poems and plays Author Youth activist Award-winner

 2. Have the groups create an illustrated page for each line of their acrostic, and then tape the pages together to form a stand-up accordion book for   display. Make sure students turn their paper horizontally make their poems and illustrations. To make an accordion book, tape the pages together on the short side.

Differentiated Learning Options

  • Have students write a brief essay explaining why the person or event was worthy of a coin.
  • Using the Design Your Own Coin activity, ask students to design their own version of a coin honoring the same person, place, or event that they researched.
  • Ask students to pick a person in their life that they would honor on a coin. Ask them to design the coin and write a brief essay about why they selected this person.


Use a standard writing rubric that includes any criteria set by you or the students to judge the merits of the acrostics and accordion books.

Common Core Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.3.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.3.7 Conduct short research projects that build knowledge about a topic. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.3.8 Recall information from experiences or gather information from print and digital sources; take brief notes on sources and sort evidence into provided categories. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.4.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

National Standards

This lesson plan is not associated with any National Standards.