How Are Coins Different?


Students use sets of circulating coins to determine the unique characteristics of each coin. They then create paragraphs and illustrations to convey what makes each coin in our pockets special.


Students will be able to list the unique characteristics of each circulating U.S. coin and convey these characteristics in paragraphs and illustrations.

Subject Area Connections

  • History & Government


  • K
  • 1st
  • 2nd

Class Time

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


  • Six sets of U.S. circulating coins (a cent, nickel, dime, quarter, half dollar, and dollar)
  • Pencils or pens
  • Art supplies
  • Paper

Lesson Steps

  1. Divide the students into six groups. Give each group a set of U.S. circulating coins made up of a cent, nickel, dime, quarter, half dollar, and dollar. Give the students a few minutes to examine all the coins.
  2. As a class, briefly discuss how the coins compare with each other. Ask questions such as: Are the coins all the same? In what ways are they different? In what ways are they alike?

  3. Have each group pick a different coin. Have the group members work together to list everything that makes their coin different from the others in the set.

  4. Ask each group to share its list with the class. Check to see if any of the groups listed duplicate items. As a class, refine and finalize the lists of unique attributes for each coin.

  5. Have each group write a descriptive paragraph about its coin using the final list discussed by the class. In addition, have the group illustrate each of the coin's unique characteristics.

There is no content to display for this tab.


  • Evaluate the groups' ability to develop lists of unique characteristics.
  • Evaluate the descriptive paragraphs for structure--a topic sentence followed by supporting details.
  • Evaluate the illustrations in terms of showing the coins' unique details.

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.