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Changes in Change


The change from half-dimes to nickels meant a big difference for American currency, but it wasn't the last transformation for the nickel.  If your students are interested in the coins that they carry, divide them into pairs and have each pair select a currently circulating coin whose history they will trace.  Instruct your students to create a timeline for their coin.  On the timeline, your students will mark the appearance of this coin's earliest relative with the appropriate year (the first time a coin of the same denomination was used in the U.S.).  They should then mark the timeline for each year a change was made to a coin of the same value.  Above the date, your students should write the name and draw a picture of the coin.  To add to your students understanding of the time periods in which these changes were made, ask your students to find at least one historical fact about each year that they marked on their timeline.


The project described above reflects some of the national standards of learning as defined by the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), the National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE), and the International Society for Technology in Education.  These standards are listed below:

Social Studies Standards

Time, Continuity and Change:  Through this activity, students will identify information drawn from American history, and will associate those facts with their appropriate time contexts.

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