I always joke about my kiddos "hijacking" my lessons when they take us on a learning journey of their own, but secretly I love it, because the lessons are always richer, and they are always engaged. It is real world learning at its best. It happened again this week when one of my kiddos asked if he could share some foreign coins with the class that his uncle had given him. Of course, I said ok, and away we went.
We started passing the coins around and the students began making observations about where they were from and what they looked like. One of them remarked that one of them looked like a Mexican peso.
This coin was from Uruguay. They noticed that one of the coins was made in 1975 - I told them the coin was as old as their teacher because I too was made in 1975! They were pretty impressed with that. Then one of the students pulled out his ipod and I couldn't take it away because he was researching Chinese coins to see what they looked like.
Another student noticed that their was a French coin called a Franc. He said, "Mrs. Malloy, my cousin told me that they use Euros in France, why is this a Franc?" I told him that they did use Euros, but it was only just recently. In Europe they decided to adopt currency that could be used in several countries because they are very close together. I told them that it might be like having to trade money when we went from Nevada (where we live) to California (only 50 miles from here). I couldn't remember the exact year that they started using Euros so we researched it.
As we read the article, some of them said, 1995, some said 1999, and some said 2002. What a great tie-in with state testing coming up - let's do some close reading to figure out who is right.
We found out that the Euro was named in 1985. It was introduced in 1999. In 2002 it surpassed the US dollar in value. A super fun day of learning!