COINING a Cross Content Chromebook Situated Student Owned Experience- Grades 4-8

“A penny’s worth one whole cent/Five of them make a nickel and can be spent/. . . A dime is worth twice as many/It’s small shiny and worth plenty. . . Coins tell us the history of our country/They give us facts about our currency.”-Excerpts from a student poem.

“Each coin has a story that describes its design and details our country’s history.”  Student assessment of the value of coin study.

Excerpts from a teacher’s Chromebook file for a multicontent –social studies, ELA, arts and design, and science project called Coining our US History.

As can be seen this from the excerpts, this informational in depth project learning based study also included poetry and student mindful assessment.

Snapshots of active student researchers using Chromebooks as their technology tool:

** Seventh graders are examining pocket change intently for identifying marks, history facts, edges, images and more.  One of the students on each team is either videotaping or just still photographing the search.

**Some students are researching web resources.  These resources have been prescreened and curated for them by the teacher and okayed by school administrators.  The resources also include selected and prescreened by the teacher You Tube Videos and other online videos.

**Another group is brainstorming questions for a parent interviews about the uses of loose change when they were 12. These students will take home their chromebooks to record their parent or adult comments as part of this investigation.

** Some student musicians are printing out lyrics to money-related songs.  Within this group some are recording Karoke style the lyrics with references to their coin research, another student who composes on the piano, has gotten a pass to go to the music studio to see if he can begin a melody for the project.  One team member is capturing these arts activities in progress for a culminating mini documentary.

**In the corner, students are creating poems advocating coin study.  These are being uploaded to their files for an eventual ongoing coin poetry magazine.    If there is money on the school budget they will publish a print edition of these poems as well.

** Yet another team is working on the T-chart “Should coins be cherished or abandoned?” to understand the pros and cons of continuing to use coins rather than all paper currency.   This ties in with argument writing which is a mandated skill for ELA and SS and also fosters speaking and listening and career necessary presentation skills.   As they work, these students stage a mock debate within their group in preparation for a soapbox stand in front of the whole class.  They record these debates and strive to improve the clarity of their arguments and spoken expressiveness.

**Other students are busily engaged in working on their coin-related group projects for an expo for adults and representatives from other schools. They are listing potential exhibits, investigating which games or PowerPoint will be presented at the expo, and creating a diagram of how the gym will need to be set up—tables for exhibits, a special section for Power Point displays, a board game play area, and room for the soapbox debate on banning pocket change.  All of these diagrams and visual notes are being kept in a file for use later when the onsite expos mounted.

Are the students having fun? Yes! Many observers would see this as a disruption or messy learning with multiple products to be monitored, assessed, and then put into portfolios over time. Is this a waste of teacher time that could better be used with a compact single assessment, single product, finite learning, and curricula objectives?   The multiple student designed projects for this theme involve students in interactive peer learning, investigating, research and adult interviews that will make for memorable life lasting experiences.  Use of the Chromebooks as a repository for the designs, videos, pictures, audio recordings, slides, and music of these individual student and student group products tremendously facilitates teacher management without the additional use of a separate IT person to maintain and share teacher files.   Due to the use of the Chromebook console teacher management, the teacher has to hand an aggregate data collection that includes individual student portfolios, aggregate skills based material and the capacity to provide one on one student feedback or public comments and access invited public to comment as well.  All of these teacher response and accountability features without the teachers being required to leave his/her console.

How so?  Since the students decide what type of products they produce to address the learning history through coins’ theme, they “own” the products because they developed them and the products were not teacher assigned.  While the basic theme of the project- in this case teaching American History through coins is one that is directly aligned with the 7th grade social studies curriculum, it allows the students to tap their particular talents and interests in the process of creating projects to address the project goals.  In addition, students can take the roles of project organizer, productivity monitor, and marketer—roles which mirror real life organization positions needed when a new initiative is started.  Whatever role they choose, they can use the capacity of the chromebook features with music, recording, video, slides, graphic, and hangouts to tap their learning styles and talents.  Plus, LOSS OF KEY WORK, a perennial student issue within project based learning becomes a non-issue here.

Since the students are defining and aligning their individual products to the project goals and continually defining the type of product to get teacher approval, they are authentically connecting their chosen research and multimedia (visual, digital, spoken and written), charts, PowerPoints, cartoons, website tours, board games, coin poetry, and coin fables with Common Core ELA, Literacy in History standards, and Social Studies standards.  The connection which they express becomes real to them because they have to effectively argue the case for their chosen product in terms of defending how it authenticates the required Common Core standards they would meet using single class sets of print or digital texts.

As the students design their product to address the general goal of aligning to learning about American history beginning to 1853 (7th grade curriculum), they must set up a rubric for informational content research, integration of knowledge and content expressed visually, and research to build and present knowledge and range of reading /writing.  Therefore, they “own” their assessments just as they will in real-life and even in college. Is it more work for the teacher to go through various student-developed assessments since these may require the teacher to fine-tune the assessment? Yes. Is the teacher going to have multiple assessments to review at the end of the project? Definitely. However, having students create the assessments makes these assessments meaningful for them and informs their product design from beginning to end to address assessment.

Finally, as in real life, project-based learning has real audiences. This offers ongoing formative feedback and assessment.  Traditionally project based learning teachers had to wait until the end for an onsite event where an audience could provide desired feedback. Chromebooks allow the teacher to invite audiences in to view ongoing projects and offer students needed feedback to enhance and expand them.  When visitors pick pennies, nickels, dimes or quarters and identify sayings, dates, emblems and personalities plus fill out feedback forms at student expo demonstrations, they translate the students’ research into real-life adult visitor and reviewer responses, rather than only teacher grades. Is it more work for the teacher to set up such opportunities, especially when they entail recruiting community adults and coordinating logistics? Certainly, but teachers are willing to “flip the coin” of teaching to give students real-life learning experiences, then project-based learning may be the winning side of the coin.

While there is an ongoing debate about whether pocket change should be phased out, this coining project offers a powerful and compelling chromebook situated argument for the infinite “coining” of coin centered multicontent research.

Among You Tube selections teachers might use are:

Coin History in 4 Steps

March 6th, 2017

How Coins are made for Kids

March 22, 2016.

Other useful sites include:,edu/collections/subjects/coins-currency-and-medals

Dr. Rose Reissman,

Academic and Grant Funding Director for Sector 5

About Sector 5,

Sector 5, Inc. (OTCQB: SFIV), is a Proud American Corporation, that sells, manufactures and develops new innovative consumer electronics under Sector 5 and other brands. The Company markets its partnership with Google approved Chromebooks to educational organizations, other B2B and B2C sales channels, with retail sales on Amazon. It is in development of several new products to serve the educational, business and retail markets. Follow the company on and and find further information at For Sector 5’s Forward Looking Statements, click here.







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