As part of the state curriculum, students in third grade study our home state. As a supplement to their work, I developed the state coin project. This could be adapted to any state. I encourage students to learn about the coins specially minted for our state and share with them a background of how the coin was developed. Each student is then challenged to create their own coin to represent themselves.
LESSON PLAN: State Coin Project
ART: Grade 3
Discover that a state coin is a piece of art and create a meaningful coin using
symbolism to represent ourselves.
Creative thought, self expression and self discovery in relation to a state symbol
What You Need:
Newsprint, drawing pencil, visuals of several state coins with supplementary information from website: www.usmint.gov/KIDS , round lid to use as tracer for coin size (top of cream cheese container), copper or silver art foil and embossing sticks, scissors, black tempera paint, black construction paper, glue, sharpies, old mouse pads (1 per student, donated by a local computer company)
Time: 2 – 3 class periods of 45 minutes each
What You Do:
Wk 1: Using document camera, display a few state coins. Have students
speculate as to the meanings of the different symbols on the coin as a group.
Students should have a baseline of information as they are usually studying their
state or origin in 3rd grade. After discussion where everyone should be permitted
an opportunity to give ideas and input, actually share the history of the coin, its
origins and symbols along with supplementary information about the minting
Discuss significance of symbols and why symbols might be personally important
to individual students. Students ‘brainstorm’ on paper with thumbnail sketches
of things they would like to include on a personal coin. (ideas might be favorite
activities, sport, animal, etc.)
Students are given 9x12 newsprint which they will fold in half and then half
again. On each of the 4 sections, they will trace the circle that will define the
shape of their coin. Incorporate thumbnail sketches into 4 different coin ideas.
Encourage students to experiment freely and to not get bogged down with
perfection at this point in the project. They should only be focused on symbolism
and ideas for their coin. Additional paper may be used if necessary. Final
choice should be clean and precise with moderate detail and fine line.
Wk 2: Finish drawing from 1st week if needed. After selection final coin design, teacher
will assist with applying masking tape to position paper onto art foil for transfer.
The foil should be precut to slightly larger than coil drawing. Working on an old mouse pad
to soften the surface of the table, students transfer their drawing to the
foil by drawing over their lines with a pencil. Slight pressure is used for the
transfer. Once all lines are visible on the foil, the paper can be removed but
should be saved for reference. Using embossing stick, trace over all the lines
on the coin, applying pressure but not hard enough to cause hand discomfort. Turn
coin to back side, using the blunt end of the stick, raise all the areas outside of the
lines, again pressure that does not cause hand or finger discomfort. Continue this
process until coin has achieve desire texture making certain to not lose the
integrity of the design. The surface should have a 3D effect of 1/8 – ¼ inch when
completed. If time, cut around the circle of the coin to define shape.
Wk 3: Using black tempera paint, cover the coin and then when dry, lightly rub paint
away from all raised surfaces. Use sharpies to add color as desired to the design.
Glue coin in center of black paper and mat with white to complete for display.
On separate sheet of paper, students will write about their coin and explain the
symbolism and why they chose what they did.
Both pieces should be displayed together.
Teacher should be observing and supporting the process throughout the three class periods, encouraging students to be created with thought and medium and monitoring understanding of the process.
Cleanliness of finished project
Consideration given to symbolism
Originality of work exhibiting personal creative endeavor