Teacher's Guide for Cobblestone: U.S. Mint
THE VIEW FROM THE CROW'S NEST (page 4)
1. How did people pay for services before the late eighteenth century?
FROM WAMPUM TO POCKET CHANGE (page 6)
2. What was one of the main concerns of our founding fathers?
3. What two mints were in operation in 1985? Are they still in operation? Are any others active today?
4. What has the San Francisco mint become?
5. What, besides coins, falls under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Mint?
1. How did early American settlers acquire items that they could not supply for themselves? What was the term for this?
COINS IN THE U.S.: A CHRONOLOGY (page 6)
2. What was wampum, and how was it used?
3. Where did the earliest coins in the Colonies come from, and what was the most common coin?
4. What type of currency developed around 1734, and how did it work?
5. What problem developed with the first paper money the Colonies issued?
6. Why were Continental notes issued, and why did they lose value?
7. What things happened as a result of the Coinage Act of 1792?
8. What problems did the early mint face?
9. How did a law passed in 1793 strengthen the mint?
10. What modern advancement was added to the new mint in 1828?
11. By 1906, how many mints were in operation? How many of these were still in operation in 1985?
1. What is the earliest ancestor of our American money? How did the term "dollar" come into being?
AMERICA'S ILLEGAL MINT (page 13)
2. When was the first mint established on the American continent, and what coins did it produce?
3. When was the first mint established in Philadelphia? When were the first branch mints established?
4. What was the first coin to bear the motto "In God We Trust"? When was it first minted?
5. When was the first nickel produced?
6. What do many people believe is the most beautiful coin the U.S. Mint has produced?
7. Why did President Franklin D. Roosevelt decree that all gold money and bullion be turned in to the government?
8. Who was the first African American to be portrayed on a U.S. coin?
9. Why did the United States stop using silver in its coins?
10. On what coin was Susan B. Anthony portrayed? When was this first issued?
1. Why did the early settlers grow tired of the barter system?
AMERICA'S FIRST MONEY FACTORY (page 15)
2. Why did England make it illegal to send coins to the Colonies? What did the action cause the colonists to do?
3. Describe the first coins and explain how unscrupulous colonists used a process of clipping. How did the next series of coins prevent this?
4. Why did coins produced over the next thirty years have the same date, 1652?
5. How did Sir Thomas Temple trick King Charles II into postponing action against the colonists' coins?
1. Where and when was the first mint constructed?
DAVID RITTENHOUSE (page 16)
2. Describe the problems faced by early colonists because of the various types of coins used.
3. What did the Mint Act of 1792 establish?
4. Who was the first director of the U.S. Mint?
5. Imagine that you were one of the new employees at the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia. Write a letter home describing the mint's construction and the working conditions.
6. According to legend, where did the first metal used by the mint come from? Do we know for sure whether this story is true? What do we know for certain about the first coins minted?
7. What was the first coin minted for general circulation?
1. What were Rittenhouse's qualifications for the job of director of the U.S. Mint?
WORD LORE (page 20)
2. What were his other contributions to the young nation?
3. What was the chief problem Rittenhouse faced in getting coins into production?
Read this section carefully and remember that you can turn back to it for help with words in other articles.
ELSEWHERE (page 22)
1. What was the first culture to use coins? About how long ago was this?
EBENEZER'S ATLAS (page 24)
2. Why did the Chinese begin to use paper money? How long was it until a European country introduced paper money?
3. What ancient kingdom created the first official government coinage?
4. From what Latin word is "coin" derived? What does it mean? Why was this the root of the word "coin"?
1. What do the coins on this map show?
SECRET MISSION FOR MARTHA (page 26)
2. Why is the San Francisco mint called an auxiliary mint?
3. Where are our nation's two assay offices located? Why were they originally established?
4. What does the gold bar indicate?
1. What problem faced President George Washington? What solution did his wife, Martha, suggest?
PETER, THE MINT EAGLE (page 30)
2. What surprise did President Washington plan for Martha?
3. This story is historical fiction. It's doubtful that we will ever know whether Martha Washington really gave her silver, but some elements of the story could be verified as fact. As you read through the story, note the things you think might be factual history and those that are probably fiction.
How did an eagle come to be known as "Peter, the Mint Eagle"? For what did he serve as a model?
THE MEANINGS BEHIND OUR COINS (page 31)
1. What symbols and mottoes are required by law to appear on U.S. coins? What is the law, and what do the mottoes and symbols mean?
ARTISTS AT WORK (page 35)
2. What contribution did each of the following artists make? List the coin created and the year it was released.
a. Victor David Brenner
b. Felix Schlag
c. John Sinnock
d. John Flanagan
e. Gilroy Roberts
f. Frank Gasparro
1. Describe, step by step, the process involved in taking a new design to the finished coin.
WHEN AMERICA ALMOST LOST ITS CHANGE (page 38)
2. How many sculptor-engravers had been employed at the mint between 1792 and 1985? Find out whether that number has changed since 1985.
3. What do people mean when they speak of the Barber dime or the Morgan silver dollar?
4. Besides designing coins, what is the other regular job of artists who work at the U.S. Mint?
1. Why were coins vanishing from circulation in 1965?
THE WORLD'S LARGEST TREASURE CHEST (page 40)
2. What was the Coinage Act of 1965, and how did this stop the disappearance of coins? What type of coin was produced as a result of this act?
3. What was the purpose of the 1970 Coinage Act?
4. Why will you rarely find a coin in circulation with a date earlier than 1965?
1. Describe the security measures taken at Fort Knox to protect the nation's gold.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
2. What percentage of the nation's gold reserve is stored at Fort Knox?
3. What does the nation store at the U.S. Bullion Depository at West Point? What coins are minted there?
4. Over the years, what exceptions have been made to the "no visitors" rule?
Be sure to check "From the Archives" on page 45 for related title suggestions. You also may want to check the following issues:
Thomas Jefferson (September 1989),
Taking Stock of Wall Street (April 1990),
Colonial Craftsmen (June 1990),
George Washington (April 1992).