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New $1 Coins Honor U.S. Presidents



Arts & Humanities
--Language Arts
--Visual Arts
Social Studies
--Current Events
----U.S. History


Grades 2-up

News Content

A new U.S. Mint program is “banking” on the popularity of its state-quarters series.

Anticipation Guide

Before reading, share with students that most U.S. coins and dollar bills have the face of a president on them. Share samples of currency and talk about the people who appear on them. How many coins/bills have pictures of presidents on them? (Most of the ones in your pocket or purse probably do, unless youre carrying an Indian-head nickel or a Susan B. Anthony or Sacagawea dollar.)

News Words

Next, introduce these words that appear in the News Word Box on the students printable page: familiar, honor, elected, edge, government, and mint. Discuss the meanings of any of those words that might be unfamiliar to students. Then ask students to use one of those words to complete each of these sentences:

  • In the United States, coins are manufactured at the _____. (mint)
  • Are you _____ with this old tune? (familiar)
  • We will _____ our citys longtime mayor by holding a special parade. (honor)
  • The U.S. Congress is the lawmaking branch of our countrys _____. (government)
  • Pauls dog caught the Frisbee right at the _____ of a big cliff. (edge)
  • Who do you think will be _____ as our next president? (elected)

    Read the News

    You might use a variety of approaches to reading the news:

  • Read aloud the news story to students as they follow along.

  • Students might first read the news story to themselves; then you might call on individual students to read sections of the news aloud for the class.

  • Photocopy the news story onto a transparency and project it onto a screen. (Or use your classroom computer's projector to project the story.) Read the story aloud as a class, or ask students to take turns reading it.

  • Arrange students into small groups. Each student in the group will read a paragraph of the story. As that student reads, others might underline important information or write notes in the margin of the story. After each student finishes reading, others in the group might say something -- a comment, a question, a clarification -- about the text.
  • Click for a printable version of this weeks news story New $1 Coins Honor U.S. Presidents.

    More Facts to Share

    You might share these additional facts with students after they have read this weeks news story.

  • This new Presidential Coin program is a follow-up to the popular 50 State Quarters program, which issued coins in the order in which each state joined the Union.
  • The George Washington $1 coin, the first coin in the series, was introduced just in time for Presidents Day. For its debut, 300 million of the coins were minted.
  • The new coin is composed of the same material as the previous $1 Sacagawea coin: 88.5 percent copper, 6 percent zinc, 3.5 percent manganese, and 2 percent nickel.
  • The "heads" side of the new coin features George Washingtons head. The tails side includes the inscription "$1."
  • For the first time in many years, text will be printed on the edges of the coin. That text will include the year in which the coin was issued and two traditional mottos: "In God we trust" and "E pluribus unum" (which, translated, means "From many, one").
  • The law that brought about the coins, the Presidential $1 Coin Act, requires Federal agencies, the United States Postal Service, and certain transit systems to be fully capable of accepting and dispensing $1 coins. A law also requires the director of the U.S. Mint to work closely with consumer groups, media outlets, and schools to increase awareness of the coins.
  • Previous attempts to mint a $1 coin for popular use have not been very successful. It seems people find it easier to carry around $1 bills that $1 coins. The U.S. Mint hopes the regularly changing coin designs will help make people want to take $1 coins as change. If they do that, the Mint thinks people will become more familiar with using them.
  • A 2002 Government Accounting Office report concluded that if dollar coins replaced the paper dollar, the government would save $500 million annually.
  • At this time, banks and credit unions are probably the best source of the coins. Unmixed coins were available to them two weeks prior to the February 15 release date.
  • The United States Mint is offering annual collector boards. The boards, with four slots for the four Presidential $1 Coins released each year, are free of charge.
  • In addition to its recognition of the Presidents on $1 coins, the United States is honoring the First Spouses through the issuance of uncirculated and proof one-half ounce 24-karat gold $10 coins. Each coin will carry an image of the spouse of a U.S. president.
  • In 2009, the U.S. Mint plans to introduce a new design for the penny. The new design is timed to commemorate the 200th anniversary of President Abraham Lincolns birth.

    Comprehension Check

    You might follow-up that activity by asking some of these questions:

    Recalling Detail

  • When was the new George Washington $1 coin released? (on February 15)
  • How many different $1 coins will be minted each year? (four)
  • What other presidents will be honored with coins in 2007? (the second, third, and fourth presidents -- John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison)
  • What color are the new coins? (gold)
  • What famous U.S. landmark will appear on the back side of each $1 coin? (the Statue of Liberty)
  • How are the new coins different from other coins we carry in our pockets? (students might offer a variety of responses; the biggest difference is that the coins will have writing along their edges)
  • Which president will appear on two different coins? Why? (Grover Cleveland, because he served two non-consecutive terms; he was the 24th and 26th president)

    Think About the News

    Discuss the Think About the News question that appears on the students news page. You might use the think-pair-share strategy with students to discuss this question. If you use this strategy

  • First, arrange students into pairs to discuss and list responses to the question.
  • Then merge two pairs of students together to create groups of four students. Have them discuss and add to the ideas they generated in their pairs.
  • Next, merge two groups of four students to form groups of eight students. Have students create a new combined list of ideas.
  • Finally, bring all students together for a class discussion about people who might be pictured on future coins.

    Follow-Up Activities

    If youre interested in using the Presidential $1 Coins as a teaching tool, you might take a look at some free teaching materials that are available from the U.S. Mint. The Kids and Teachers section of the U.S. Mint Web site offers lesson plans in addition to games and other resources.

    Language. The motto "E pluribus unum" appears on many U.S. coins and bills. Translated from its Latin, that expression means "From many, one" or "Out of many, one." Why do you think those words appear on U.S. coins? (Accept reasoned responses; some students might offer that our country is formed from many people with a single purpose or goal, or similar thoughts.) If you teach older students, you might share some common Latin phrases. How many of the phrases can students identify?

    Literature. Use Judith Viorsts book, Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday, as the jumping off point for a lesson in calculating money value in grades 2-5. Find that lesson and other financial literacy lesson ideas here on the U.S. Mint Web site.

    Research/the Presidents. You might do this activity, which requires students to do some basic research and organize information, in the school library or media center where students have access to encyclopedia, library books, and/or the Internet. Students might work in groups to come up with a list of U.S. Presidents. If the new $1 coins will be introduced in the order of the presidents terms in office, have students identify which presidential coins will be introduced in 2007, 2008, 2009 2016. Since four new coins will be released each year, their final lists should look something like this list.


    Use the Comprehension Check (above) as an assessment. Or have students work on their own (in their journals) or in their small groups to respond to the Think About the News question on the news story page.

    Lesson Plan Source

    Education World

    National Standards

    National Standards

    FINE ARTS: Visual Arts
    GRADES K - 4
    NA-VA.K-4.3 Choosing and Evaluating A Range of Subject Matter, Symbols, and Ideas
    NA-VA.K-4.4 Understanding the Visual Arts In Relation to History and Cultures
    GRADES 5 - 8
    NA-VA.5-8.3 Choosing and Evaluating A Range of Subject Matter, Symbols, and Ideas
    NA-VA.5-8.4 Understanding the Visual Arts In Relation to History and Cultures
    GRADES 9 - 12
    NA-VA.9-12.3 Choosing and Evaluating A Range of Subject Matter, Symbols, and Ideas
    NA-VA.9-12.4 Understanding the Visual Arts In Relation to History and Cultures

    LANGUAGE ARTS: English
    GRADES K - 12
    NL-ENG.K-12.2 Reading for Understanding
    NL-ENG.K-12.8 Developing Research Skills
    NL-ENG.K-12.11 Participating in Society
    NL-ENG.K-12.12 Applying Language Skills

    MATHEMATICS: Connections
    GRADES Pre-K - 12
    NM-CONN.PK-12.3 Recognize and Apply Mathematics in Contexts Outside of Mathematics

    SOCIAL SCIENCES: Economics
    GRADES K - 4
    NSS-EC.K-4.11 Money
    NSS-EC.K-4.17 Cost of Government
    GRADES 5 - 8
    NSS-EC.5-8.11 Money
    NSS-EC.5-8.17 Cost of Government
    GRADES 9 - 12
    NSS-EC.9-12.11 Money
    NSS-EC.9-12.17 Cost of Government

    GRADES K - 4
    NSS-USH.K-4.3 The History of the United States: Democratic Principles and Values and the People from Many Cultures Who Contributed to Its Cultural, Economic, and Political Heritage
    GRADES 5 - 12
    NSS-USH.5-12 All Eras 1776 Present

    See recent news stories in Education Worlds News Story of the Week Archive.

    Article by Ellen Delisio and Gary Hopkins
    Education World®
    Copyright © 2007 Education World