Making Cents of the Coinage Act May 18, 2015 04:30

Nickel
On April 2, 1792 the U.S. Congress passed the Coinage Act to regulate the coins of the United States. The act authorized $10 Eagle, $5 half-Eagle, 2.50 quarter-Eagle gold coins, silver dollar, dollar, quarter, dime, and half-dime to be minted. Here are a few modern-day versions of those coins:
Quarter
Dime

Half Dollar

In Excel Math, students learn to add and subtract various monetary units. Today we're giving you a free math worksheet of coin images you can use with your own students. Click here to download the PDF file. Give a page of coins to each of your students. Have each student cut out the coins along the broken lines and stack them according to their value (all pennies in one stack, nickels in another, etc). Use the rectangle of coins at the bottom of the worksheet to talk about each coin, its distinguishing features, and how much it is worth: 
Coins Worksheet from Excel Math Grade 4 Teacher Edition
Click here for a larger version
Let your students place the stacked coins on top of their matching pictures. Now have them find the one coin worth 25¢. Next have them find three coins whose sum equals 25¢ (two dimes and a nickel). Continue practicing any skills your students need to review (making change, adding and subtracting coins of various values, etc.). 


Now point out additional features of the coins. Help your students identify the faces of presidents shown on the coins: Lincoln - penny, Jefferson - nickel, Roosevelt - dime, Washington - quarter, Kennedy - half dollar (shown above). 


Let the students find the date on each coin and guess what it means. (the year the coin was minted) Have your students take turns reading the words on each coin aloud. Explain that liberty means freedom. At the time the coins were first introduced, not all people in the United States were free. Some people still owned slaves, women did not have the same rights as men, etc. Point out that the words on a quarter are quarter dollar since 25¢ is a quarter (or one-fourth) of one dollar. (We'll look at monetary equivalents and equivalent representations of fractions next week.)


Some of your students may not be aware that there are also dollar and half-dollar coins. Show them a few of the images on those coins:

 
Ask your students if they can tell where the coins were made. You can tell where your coins were minted by looking at the small letter under the president's portrait on the coin. (If the coin was minted before 1968 the letter will be on the other side.) The D is for Denver, the S is for San Francisco, and the P is for Philadelphia. Mint marks date from the days of ancient Greece and Rome.  The practice was begun in the United States by an Act of March 3, 1835, which established the first branch mints in this country.  
 
D shows this coin was minted in Denver


Of the four minting facilities operated by the United States Mint, only Denver and Philadelphia still manufacture the coins circulated for daily use in commerce: the Lincoln Cent, the Jefferson Nickel, the Roosevelt Dime, the 50 State Quarters®, the Kennedy Half Dollar, the Presidential $1 Coin and the Sacagawea Dollar. Read more about portraits of presidents and their wives on coins from our previous blog post.
 
The Act of 1835 provided that the Director of the Mint prescribe regulations for identifying the coins stamped at each institution so  production from the different branches would be exactly the same.  The use of a mint mark on coins also identified the Mint of issue when the coin was received in circulation or returned to the Mint.  All circulating coins produced at the Philadelphia Mint have a "P" mint mark except for the one-cent coin, or "penny." Have your students look at their paper coins and see if they can find the mint marks on a few of them. Give each student an envelope in which to keep his paper coins for future practice. (Make sure your students put their names on the envelopes.) If you have your state's quarter, point out the symbols shown on it. 
 
The coinage Act of 1965 prohibited the use of mint marks for a period of five years.  This, together with the date freeze, eliminated distinguishing features on our coins which could tend to cause their removal from circulation during a critical period when the Mint was striving to build up coin inventories.  No mint marks appear on coins dated 1965, 1966 and 1967.  Congressional authorization permitted the practice to begin again in 1968. At this time the mint marks, usually positioned on the reverse of the coins prior to 1968, were permanently relocated to the obverse side. Read more about coins at the U.S. Mint website.

Take a look at sample math lessons (including many that use coins) at ExcelMath.com and  print out math lesson worksheets to try with your own students.

Remember, Excel Math lessons are much more than just worksheets. Using strategically placed spaced repetition, Excel Math gives you a proven approach to teach math concepts for long-term retention, with powerful features and advantages, including our unique Spiraling Strategy.

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