Lesson: Coin Codebreaker

Author: Marc Sheehan

Subjects: Math and Reading

Instructional Level: late First or early Second Grade

Skills: Identifying values of coins

Time: 30 minutes

Materials: Pencils, copies of worksheets

Objectives: Students will identify the values of American coins. Students will also learn what historical figures are on American coins.

Introduction: This lesson is designed to be used in a unit on money, preferably after students have been introduced to coins used in the United States and the value of such coins. The students will learn who is featured on coins.

Procedure: The students will be given a worksheet to complete. (Sample may be found by clicking this link or the link found above) The worksheet will include a simple code, each number standing for a letter of the alphabet, which the students will use to identify the figures on specific coins. The figures and their respective coins are:
Penny (one cent): Abraham Lincoln
Nickel (five cents): Thomas Jefferson
Dime (ten cents): Franklin Roosevelt
Quarter (twenty-five cents): George Washington
Half-Dollar (fifty cents): John Kennedy
Golden Dollar (one hundred cents): Sacajawea

Students will also be asked to identify how much each coin is worth, e.g. How many cents are in a dime? Students will also be asked to answer questions on the comparative value of coins, e.g. How many nickels are in a quarter?

Closure/Modifications: The completed worksheets will be collected and checked to see if the messages were decoded correctly and if the accompanying questions were answered correctly. Modifications for students who have special needs include: allowing the use of a scribe to record answers, allowing the use of actual or plastic coins to assist in identification, enlarging the worksheet, and reducing the number of questions that a student must answer.

Assessment: Student performance will be measured to see if they decoded the messages correctly and if they correctly answered the questions on the value of the coins. There will be ten mesages and questions in all.

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