A Classroom Coin
The wild hog was used as a symbol of Bermuda because they were an easily identifiable as part of the islands' identity. Over the years American coins have had many symbols which have identified our nation. With your students, examine some of the coins in your pocket to see what symbols have been selected especially for our country. Take special note of the coins designed as a part of the 50 State Quarters® Program, and note the idea that the symbols on these coins reflect each state's identity, rather than that of the whole country.
After examining the coins in your pockets, take note of the special bird that appears on the reverse of most American quarters minted between 1932 and 1998. As a class discuss why we so often see the eagle as a symbol of the United States. Mention that the eagle is a symbol of freedom, strength and great beauty, all features which describe our country.
Break your students into small groups and distribute a "Classroom Coin" worksheet to each group. In groups, ask your students to brainstorm a list of traits which describe your class. These lists should include traits which make their class special. Once they have decided on their list of traits, they should discuss and select an animal which also has these same traits. On the "Classroom Coin" worksheet, your students should draw this animal as the central image on the coin. This coin should also include the name of the class, and the characteristic which that group feels best describes the class. Underneath the coin image, the students should write a paragraph describing why they felt this animal best represented their class.
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:
Language Arts Standards
Demonstrate competence in speaking and listening as tools for learning: Students will work in small groups where they will speak and listen to each other as they develop a list of characteristics which best describe their class, and design a coin which embodies these qualities.
Demonstrate competence in the general skills and strategies of the writing process: Students will use their discussion to build a concise paragraph describing the decision at which they arrived.