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

    5 Lessons of the Heart

    5 Heart-Themed Science Lessons about the Heart | Remedia Publications
    Put a twist on your Valentine’s lessons with these heart-themed, science lessons, activities, and free downloads. They go beyond the mushy-gushy romance of V-day...although, we're not against that (see Secret Valentine Exchange)! Plus February is American Heart Month, so you can use these activities all month long to promote heart health awareness.

    Getting to Know the Heart
    Familiarize students with the parts of the heart with this free labeling activity from our Labeling for Comprehension Series. Students will read a short description of the heart, and then demonstrate their understanding by labeling the diagram. Now, they are ready to get their blood flowing with the next two activities.

    A Blood-Pumping Graphing Activity
    Integrate math, health, and heart-healthy science with this blood-pumping activity. Students will graph their heart rates while doing different activities.

    1. Ask students, “Did you know that your heart is a muscle? In fact, it is the only hollow muscle in your body. Like all the muscles in your body, your heart stays strong when it exercises. Let’s see how exercise makes your heart work and keep strong.”

    2. Have students find their pulse while sitting at their desks (resting heart rate). Have each student gently press their forefingers to their wrist, near the base of the thumb. Have them count the pulses while you keep time for 15-seconds. Then each student should multiply their count by four to get the beats-per-minute.  Have students write this number in this chart (free download).

    3. Complete the chart together as a class. After each activity, have students take their pulse. You’ll be in charge of the clock, tracking the intervals, and making sure students stay on-task. When you are done, have students create a bar graph or line graph to show how their heart rate differed for each activity.

    4. Explain to students that blood is a special “belt” that brings oxygen to the muscles and carries the bad away, and you want your heart to be in its best shape to do this well.

    A Field Trip Through the Heart
    Good News! This field trip does not require a permission slip. Students will take a trip through the heart right in your classroom.
    • With tape, draw a large diagram (click here to download) of the heart on our classroom floor. This diagram includes a station for the lungs and body cells.
    • Label the chambers of the heart, the lungs, the body cells, and all blood vessels accordingly.
    • Place large blue circle cutouts in the body cells and large red circle cutouts in the lungs.
    • Have a small group of students be the “blood” moving along the route through each station like blood flowing through the heart.
    • Have two students be the “lungs” in the lung station.
    • Have a few students act as the “body cells” in the body cells station.
    • Narrate what the blood is doing as the students go through each stop.
      • Explain what blood vessel they must take.
      • As students reach the body cells station, have students exchange their red circles (blood cells carrying oxygen) for blue circles (blood cells carrying carbon dioxide).
      • As students pass through the lungs, have them exchange their blue cells for red cells, which illustrates the diffusion of oxygen into the blood. Point out that blood vessels carrying blood away from the heart are arteries, and usually carry red blood.  Blood vessels carrying blood towards the heart are veins, and usually carry blue blood.
      • Also point out that the right side of the heart handles blue blood and the left side of the heart handles red blood.
    Tip: To really reinforce the lesson, have a different group of students take a trip through the heart, while another set of students narrate the journey.

    Use these free worksheets <free download> before students take a trip through the heart to give a little background knowledge of the heart and cardiovascular system. These worksheets come from our The Human Body: Digestive, Circulatory, Reproductive, & Excretory Systems book.

    Secret Valentine Exchange
    Finish your heart-throbbing unit with a Secret Valentine Exchange. This activity is still science-focused while incorporating language skills.

    1. Put every student’s name in a bag, and have each student draw a name from the bag.

    2. Have students color and decorate this free heart template using red and blue crayons, construction paper, or magazine clippings to properly indicate where the red and blue blood cells flow.

    3. On the back of each heart ask to students “pour their hearts out” to their Secret Valentine using heart-themed idioms or proverbs, such as: heart pumping, change of heart, heart misses a beat, heart bleeds, with a heavy heart, eat your heart out, from the bottom of my heart…etc.

    Use this opportunity to encourage students to work on their handwriting, poetry, and/or creative writing skills. On V-day, have students share their heart (pun intended) with the whole class and reveal who and why they think their Secret Valentine has a heart of gold.

    Freebies from the American Heart Association
    Check out The American Heart Association who makes a variety of educational lessons, posters, activities, and other great freebies to support your heart lessons.

    7 Get-Up-&-Move Math Activities

    7 Get-Up-and-Move Math Activities | Remedia Publications
    Maybe you want to promote a healthier classroom by getting your students up and moving through an activity, maybe your students are more tactile learners, or maybe you find that if your students are active they are more focused and well-behaved throughout the rest of the day. Whatever your motivation, we've got some "active" math games to get your students up and moving... Plus you don't even have to leave the classroom!

    7 Get-Up-and-Move Math Activities | Bowling Math | Remedia PublicationsBowling Math
    Get an inexpensive bowling kit from the toy section and set up a lane or two in your classroom. On the bottom of each pin write numbers (depending on your student's level make the numbers as small or large as you'd like). Have students take turns rolling the ball down to the pins. After one student rolls the ball down to the pins, have that student walk, lunge, or skip down to the pins. Have that student add up the numbers on the bottom of their pins--that's their score for that round. If you'd rather not keep score, just have students work the math problem. They can either add, subtract, or multiply all of the numbers or just the two largest numbers.

    Active Stations
    As students make their way through your normal math stations, have them do lunges, crab walking, or wheel barrels to get to the next station. 

    Bean Bag Toss
    Use these simple instructions (from Dirt & Boogers Blog) to make your own Bean Bag Toss easily and with very few materials. Adjust the design with a few extra holes to make this game educational. Simply cut several holes into the box and label each hole with a number. Give students a math equation and have them toss the bean bag into the hole with the correct answer.  Or assign word problems to each number. Whichever hole the bean bag lands in, that is the word problem the student must answer.