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Coins of Change

Make change in the community! Create a symbolic coin that showcases a pledge to make your town a better place to live.

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • 60 to 90 Minutes
  • Directions

    1. Ask students if they have ever noticed anything about their community that they wished they could improve? Is there a section of the town that is littered and needs to be cleaned up? Have they seen a homeless person in need of food and shelter? Maybe within the school they noticed students bullying or teasing each other?
    2. Ask students what they can do to change these situations. How can they make their community a better place to live?
    3. Students create a large coin by carefully cutting a circle out of recycled cardboard and covering it with aluminum foil. Secure the foil in place with a piece of clear adhesive tape on the back of the coin.
    4. Students draw a self-portrait in the center of the coin using Crayola Slick Stix™. Slick Stix contain pigments that may stain clothing, fabrics and other household surfaces. Wear a smock to protect clothing and cover the work surface with recycled newspaper.
    5. Students decorate the rest of the coin with symbols that represent their pledge to the community. They can draw food if they are going to collect canned goods for a local food bank or a broom if they vow to help clean up the local parks!
    6. Students share their coin with the class. Students that made the same pledge can partner up to put their plans in action!
  • Standards

    LA: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.

    SS: Explore and describe similarities and differences in the ways groups, societies, and cultures address similar human needs and concerns.

    SS: Identify roles as learned behavior patterns in group situations such as student, family member, peer play group member, or club member.

    SS: Locate, access, organize, and apply information about an issue of public concern from multiple points of view.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of their experiences and ideas.

    VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of their ideas.

  • Adaptations

    In small groups, students investigate community issues. Each team will compose a proposal for dealing with a community improvement idea, including the current shortfalls and what they can do as a class or school to improve this issue. Each team will present their proposal to the class; all students can vote on a singular community issue that they will address.

    Students compose a letter to their school administration and local community officials informing them of the community issue they would like to address. Included in the letter is a detailed steps concerning how they would like to proceed. Once they have approval from the administration and local officials, students begin their project. A class blog can be made available for parents and students to comment periodically on progress.

    The class, or a small group of students, can organize a Penny Race. Students and staff can be encouraged to donate their extra coins to raise money for the class-selected cause.

    In collecting the coins, provide students with the opportunity to investigate pictures, symbols and phrases on coins. Students can be encouraged to research what these symbols and phrases represent. Should we modernize our country's coins? If so, students propose what changes they would make and why. An electronic presentation of proposals can be uploaded to a class computer for future viewing and discussion.


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