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Which Side is Which?

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Summary

Students will examine the significance of the Louisiana Purchase and the journey of Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery. They will become familiar with the features of the Peace Medal nickel and be able to differentiate between the heads side and the tails side. They will also record coin-flip data on a graph and analyze it.

Coin Type(s)

  • Nickel

Coin Program(s)

  • Westward Journey Nickel Series

Objectives

  • Students will examine the significance of the Louisiana Purchase and the journey of Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery.
  • They will become familiar with the features of the Peace Medal nickel and be able to differentiate between the heads side and the tails side.
  • They will also record coin-flip data on a graph and analyze it.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Math
  • Social Studies

Minor/supporting Subject Area Connections

  • Language Arts

Grades

  • Kindergarten

Class Time

Sessions: Two
Session Length: 20-30 minutes
Total Length: 46-90 minutes

Groupings

  • Whole group
  • Pairs

Background Knowledge

The students should have a basic knowledge of:

  • The term “explorer”
  • Circulating coins

Terms and Concepts

  • Obverse (heads)
  • Reverse (tails)
  • Lewis and Clark
  • Explorer
  • Louisiana Territory
  • Medal
  • Nickel
  • Graph

Materials

  • Images of the explorers Lewis and Clark
  • The “Louisiana Territory Map” from the Resource Guide
  • Chart paper
  • Markers
  • Copies of an age-appropriate text that provides basic historical information about the Lewis and Clark expedition, such as:
    • The Travels of Lewis and Clark by Lara Bergen
    • How We Crossed the West; The Adventures of Lewis and Clark by Rosalyn Schanzer
    • Seaman’s Journal: On the Trail with Lewis and Clark by Patti Reeder Eubank
    • Going Along with Lewis and Clark by Barbara Fifer
  • Copies of the Jefferson Peace Medal reverse from the Resource Guide
  • Scissors
  • Crayons
  • Pencils
  • 1 overhead projector
  • 1 overhead transparency of the pre-2004 Monticello nickel obverse from the Resource Guide
  • 1 overhead transparency of the pre-2004 Monticello nickel reverse from the Resource Guide
  • 1 overhead transparency of the Jefferson Peace Medal reverse from the Resource Guide
  • Peace Medal nickels (1 per student)
  • Copies of the “Heads or Tails” worksheet

Preparations

  • Gather images of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark.
  • Locate an appropriate text that provides basic historical information about the Lewis and Clark expedition (see examples under “Materials”).
  • Make an overhead transparency of each of the following:
    • “Louisiana Territory Map” from the Resource Guide
    • Jefferson Peace Medal reverse from the Resource Guide
    • Old Jefferson nickel obverse from the Resource Guide
    • Old Jefferson nickel reverse from the Resource Guide
  • Make copies of the following:
    • Jefferson Peace Medal reverse from the Resource Guide (1 per student).
    • “Heads or Tails” worksheet (1 per pair).
  • Gather some Peace Medal nickels (1 per student).

Worksheets and Files

Lesson plan, worksheet(s), and rubric (if any) at www.usmint.gov/kids/teachers/lessonPlans/pdf/157.pdf.

Session 1

  1. Display an image of the explorers Lewis and Clark and explain that these men are very important in our country’s history. Ask students to infer from the picture why these men might be important. What might they have done?
  2. Explain to the class that these men were named Meriwether Lewis and William Clark and that they were explorers. Engage students in a discussion about the meaning of the term “explorer.” Record the students’ responses on chart paper for all to see.
  3. Display the overhead transparency of the “Louisiana Territory Map” and show the students the Louisiana Territory, which Lewis and Clark explored. Explain that Lewis and Clark explored this area a long time ago.
  4. Point out the states that were part of the United States before the Louisiana Purchase.  Explain that our country bought this land and Lewis and Clark were asked to find out what kinds of animals, plants, and people lived on this land.
  5. Point out the location of the class’s school and ask whether or not this area was part of the United States before Lewis and Clark’s trip.
  6. Introduce students to the selected text. As a group, preview the text and illustrations to generate predictions about what is occurring at different points in the book.
  7. Read this story aloud to the group. Ask students to pay attention to what Lewis and Clark did when they met American Indians along their journey. During the reading, attend to any unfamiliar vocabulary and difficult concepts.
  8. After reading the story, ask the students to recall or act out the main events of the story. Record all student responses on a new piece of chart paper.
  9. Ask students to recall what Lewis and Clark did when they met new American Indians. Students should note that Lewis and Clark gave them gifts and Peace Medals when they met.
  10. Distribute a copy of the Jefferson Peace Medal reverse to each student. Explain that this is an image of the Peace Medal that was given to American Indian chiefs. Ask students why they think these may have been given. Briefly discuss with the students the meaning of the images on the medal.
  11. Direct the students to cut out the medal.
  12. On the back of this medal, direct the students to write their names and then draw a picture of their favorite part of the Lewis and Clark story. Each student should also write or dictate a sentence about this picture.

Session 2

  1. Display the transparency of the pre-2004 Monticello nickel obverse. Ask students to examine the image and tell you what they know about it. Students should be able to identify it as the obverse (front) of a nickel and, perhaps, that the person is President Thomas Jefferson. Explain that he was the president who sent Lewis and Clark on their journey.
  2. Display the transparency of the pre-2004 Monticello nickel reverse. Ask students to examine the image and tell you what they know about it. Students should be able to identify it as the reverse (back) of a nickel. If students do not know, explain that the building was President Jefferson’s home, called Monticello.
  3. Remind the students of the story that they heard about Lewis and Clark and ask them to recall information about the expedition.
  4. Explain that it has been 200 years since Lewis and Clark began their journey, and that the United States has made new nickels that will tell the story of these travels to celebrate this anniversary. Distribute a Peace Medal nickel to each student and allow them time to thoroughly examine each side.
  5. Ask students to describe what they see on the obverse of the Peace Medal nickel.  Have they ever seen this image before? Where? Students should notice that the image on the obverse of the Peace Medal nickel is the same as on the obverse of the nickel that they’re used to seeing.
  6. Ask students to flip their coin over and look at its reverse. Have they ever seen this image before? With some prompting, students may remember that the image on the reverse looks similar to the image on the Peace Medal that they had examined in the last session.
  7. Display the transparency of the Jefferson Peace Medal reverse. Direct students to compare this with the Peace Medal nickel reverse. The students should recall the meaning of these symbols from the previous discussion.
  8. Explain the connection between the handshake on the nickel and the purpose of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Help students understand that a handshake is a symbol of peace and friendship. Tell them that when Lewis and Clark met American Indians, they wanted to assure them that they were coming in peace and could be trusted.
  9. Make a real-world connection for the students by asking if they have ever seen people shaking hands. What does that mean? Elicit responses such as “it’s a way of greeting another person” or “it’s polite.”
  10. Direct the students to shake hands with the person sitting next to them.
  11. Redirect the student’s attention to the Peace Medal nickel. Ask students to identify the “heads” and “tails” sides of this new coin.
  12. Explain to the students that they will be doing a graphing activity with the coins.
  13. Assign each student a partner and give each pair a copy of the “Heads or Tails” worksheet and a crayon.
  14. Direct the students to take turns flipping their new nickel. Each student will have five turns to flip the coin.
  15. The students will watch to see whether the coin lands with the heads or tails side up.  If the coin lands showing the heads side, the students will salute each other like a United States soldier does when he sees the President of the United States. They will also color in one space on their worksheet under the “heads” column. If the coin shows the tails side, they will shake hands with their partner like Lewis and Clark and an American Indian. They will also color in a space on the “tails” side of their worksheet.

Differentiated Learning Options

For higher-level thinking, provide students with a bag containing a variety of coins including nickels, dimes, pennies, and quarters. Distribute a chart that includes a column for the obverse and reverse of each coin. Direct students to take out one coin at a time. As they take the coins out, they will flip the coin and mark their chart as described above. This will require students to differentiate between the sides of the other circulating coins as well as those of the new nickel.

Enrichments/Extensions

  • As a class, analyze the results of the heads and tails game. Discuss which side of the coin landed facing up most often.
  • Keep theme-related books about Lewis and Clark and the Louisiana Purchase in the class library so that the children can read them at their leisure.
  • Evaluate the pictures and captions to check for student understanding.
  • Take anecdotal notes about the students who were able to accurately differentiate between the heads and tails sides of the nickels. Also make note of their ability to graph this information correctly.
There are no related resources for this lesson plan.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: L.K Language
Grade(s): Grade K
Cluster: Conventions of Standard English
Standards:

  • L.K.1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
    • Print many upper- and lowercase letters.
    • Use frequently occurring nouns and verbs.
    • Form regular plural nouns orally by adding /s/ or /es/ (e.g., dog, dogs; wish, wishes).
    • Understand and use question words (interrogatives) (e.g., who, what, where, when, why, how).
    • Use the most frequently occurring prepositions (e.g., to, from, in, out, on, off, for, of, by, with).
    • Produce and expand complete sentences in shared language activities.
  • L.K.2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
    • Capitalize the first word in a sentence and the pronoun I.
    • Recognize and name end punctuation.
    • Write a letter or letters for most consonant and short-vowel sounds (phonemes).
    • Spell simple words phonetically, drawing on knowledge of sound-letter relationships.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.K Reading: Literature
Grade(s): Grade K
Cluster: Craft and Structure
Standards:

  • RL.K.4. Ask and answer questions about unknown words in a text.
  • RL.K.5. Recognize common types of texts (e.g., storybooks, poems).
  • RL.K.6. With prompting and support, name the author and illustrator of a story and define the role of each in telling the story.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.K Reading: Literature
Grade(s): Grade K
Cluster: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
Standards:

  • RL.K.7. With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the story in which they appear (e.g., what moment in a story an illustration depicts).  
  • RL.K.8. not applicable to literature.
  • RL.K.9. With prompting and support, compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of characters in familiar stories.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.K Writing
Grade(s): Grade K
Cluster: Production and Distribution of Writing
Standards:

  • W.K.4. begins in grade 3.
  • W.K.5. With guidance and support from adults, respond to questions and suggestions from peers and add details to strengthen writing as needed.
  • W.K.6. With guidance and support from adults, explore a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.K Writing
Grade(s): Grade K
Cluster: Research to Build and Present Knowledge
Standards:

  • W.K.7. Participate in shared research and writing projects (e.g., explore a number of books by a favorite author and express opinions about them).
  • W.K.8. With guidance and support from adults, recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.
  • W.K.9. begins in grade 4.

Discipline: Mathematics
Domain: K-2 Data Analysis and Probability
Cluster: Develop and evaluate inferences and predictions that are based on data.
Grade(s): Grades K–2
Standards:

In K through grade 2 all students should

  • discuss events related to students' experiences as likely or unlikely.

Discipline: Mathematics
Domain: K-2 Data Analysis and Probability
Cluster: Formulate questions that can be addressed with data and collect, organize, and display relevant data to answer them.
Grade(s): Grades K–2
Standards:

In K through grade 2 all students should

  • pose questions and gather data about themselves and their surroundings;
  • sort and classify objects according to their attributes and organize data about the objects; and
  • represent data using concrete objects, pictures, and graphs.