Brief Description of the Site:
This site was designed by the U.S. Mint to be a fun, educational tool for students and teachers that would generate interest in coins, the Mint, and U.S. history. Animated cartoon characters are the appealing vehicle for teaching elementary school children about American currency through a variety of projects that include Web Quests and a virtual tour of the U.S. Mint. Categories, represented by coin icons include games, cartoons, a time machine, Coin News, Camp Coin (about special issue commemorative coins), and a Teachers section offer what could easily become a yearlong unit. The Teachers Guide has lesson plans, a lesson plan library submitted by educators, additional unit plans, lesson plan contests (watch for the upcoming one), and what the site describes as "stacks of numismatic resources for you and your students."
How to use the site:
You will need Flash to make use of the resources of this site. Students can play the "Winter Game Olympics", assemble a variety of puzzles, and enjoy interactive games as they learn about coins. The Time Machine section is a tour through history from colonial times to the present. The Flash animations are colorful and engaging for each section accompanied by text and student worksheets. Many of the historical links offer beautifully illustrated colorful displays for bulletin boards that align with social studies standards. It might be news to some that during WWII the U.S. minted steel pennies, allocating copper to the war effort. Compare and contrast American currency with the new currency of Europe, the Euro. Scroll over a map of Europe and observe the various coins appear as you move from country to country. Searches can be made within the site for additional information. H.I.P. Pocket Change is an entertaining and valuable (pardon the pun) way to learn American history through currency.
J. David Velleman