The Penny Project

Improve Research Skills & Meet the Standards with this Penny Project | Remedia Publications
Find a penny, pick it up. All day long you'll have good luck! This project has your students doing just that–collecting pennies while gaining research skills and meeting the standards. This project is perfect for any time of the year, but would be a fun project to introduce around Presidents' Day when your students are learning about Abraham Lincoln and/or George Washington. Bonus! These activities are great for primary students, but can easily be adapted for your older students.

What you'll need:
  • Letter-Size Manila Folder - one for each student, or divide students into groups of two
The Penny Project | from Remedia PublicationsWhat to do:
  1. Reproduce this Lincoln patter <free download> for each student or group to cut, color, and past to the front of their penny folder.
  2. On the inside of the folder, have students trace a penny, making 25 circles. You can change this based on the project you choose to do, see below for details.
  3. Have students start collecting pennies. Challenge students to
    a) find a different penny for each year, for the last 25 years; b) to find a penny from 25 different years.
  4. As students find pennies, tape or glue them in place. Encourage students to put their coins in order of year, oldest to newest.
  5. Students should write the year under each coin.
The Penny Project | from Remedia Publications

Meet the Standards
  • Display the coins in a timeline. (CC.W.2.a)
  • Research five of the 25 years that their coins represent.
    • What is one significant thing that happened in each of the five years? (CC.W.8)
    • Make a timeline showing highlights from each of the five years. (CC.W.2.a)
The Penny Project | from Remedia Publications
  • Ask students to find a coin from the year they were born. Then ask:
    • Who was president that year? What are some similarities and differences between that president and the current President? (CC.RI.5)
    • Research to find what the latest technology during President Lincoln’s time was. Compare that to latest technology from the year you were born? (CC.RI.5)
  • Challenge students to find the oldest penny. Offer a reward (of your choice) for the student who finds the oldest coin. Then have students:
    • Write a report highlighting events from that year. (CC.W.2)
    • Make a timeline showing highlights from that year (CC.W.2.a)
  • Have students find a penny from significant times in history. Hold student's attention by making the specific dates both educational, fun, and relatable. Based on their research or prior knowledge, students will know what years to find. (CC.W.7)
      • Barack Obama inaugurated as 44th president (2009)
      • The book Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone came out (1998)
      • Space shuttle Challenger exploded (1986)
      • Ronald Reagan inaugurated as 40th president (1981)
      • First cellphone was used (1973)
      • Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his, “I Have a Dream Speech” (1963)
The Penny Project | from Remedia Publications
Bonus Research Question:
Why does Lincoln face a different
direction on the penny? (CC.W.8)

    As students collect research and complete other Lincoln projects they can keep everything in their Penny Project Folder.

    Tip: Because this project is perfect for Presidents' Day, you could have students do this same project with George Washington and quarters. Split the class in half so that some students create a Penny Project Folder and some students make a Quarter Project Folder.

    Abraham Lincoln Freebies 
    Use the free worksheets below to build student's knowledge of Abraham Lincoln. As students complete the worksheets have them add each to their Penny Project Folder.
    All About Abe - Reading Comprehension Worksheets
    Abraham Lincoln's World - Research Skills Worksheet, Using an Almanac
    Equality Freebie - Critical Thinking Worksheet