Authentic Project Ideas – Coin Collecting

IMG_Foreign Coins

While searching for information on the United States Mint, I accidentally ended up on a site that sold coins.  (Don’t you love how companies set up domain names with one different letter from another domain, hoping you will type a wrong letter and end up at their site – and maybe not even notice.)  Once I realized I was on the wrong site, I was fascinated by the price of coins.  What makes a coin extra valuable? Some of the current coins were still in circulation, why would anyone pay more for a coin that they could still get for face value in circulation? What is a “proof” coin? Do the pictures a country places on its coins (and/or paper currency) tell you something about that country?

I was then reminded of the coin collection I had as a child, and how much fun it was to collect coins.  I learned so much about geography and was constantly using math without even realizing it.  (Value of foreign currency, exchange rates, saving my allowance to buy a coin I really wanted…)

So many questions, so many possible authentic teaching moments, and maybe even an authentic project…

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