Pennies in
Circulation
An Internet Project
Penny, penny, easily spent
Copper brown and worth one cent.

Pennies in Circulation
The goal of this project is to determine what year pennies are in circulation. Using 100 pennies, we will tally the dates and send the data to the project coordinator.

~ Our Work for the Project ~
We began by bringing in 100 pennies from our parents' pockets and purses. Once we had our 100 penny sampling, we were ready to begin our work.

We first discussed the term "circulation", then talked about our guiding question - what dates would be found on this sampling of 100 pennies in circulation. We made predictions as to what would be the "oldest" and "newest" dates. Here are some of our predictions:
  • One of us thought 1913 would be the oldest
  • Most of us felt that the oldest would be from the 1960s
  • We all agreed that the newest a penny could be would be 2002
  • Another felt the newest we would find would probably be 2001
Since we have 20 students, each person took 5 pennies. Then using a strip with 5 boxes, we wrote the dates of the pennies in the boxes and cut the boxes apart. Some people were surprised to have two pennies with the same date.

We began a graph of our pennies by asking who thought they had the "oldest." Interestingly, the oldest was 1961 - one of our predictions had been correct!

After completing our graph some patterns and questions arose. Our "newest" penny and the year with the greatest number was 2000. Why was that? Ben thought right away and suggested that more pennies were minted that year because it was the beginning of a new millennium. We investigated and found out he was right! More pennies were minted in 2000 - 14,277,420,000! Great thinking, Ben!

We continued our work by creating picture graphs by decades of our data on the computer, writing about the project in Writers' Workshop, and using number strings to find out how many pennies we had from each decade. We also learned some penny facts. For example, did you know that all pennies that are in circulation are either minted in Denver or Philadelphia?

Here a student studies the years of his pennies.

To see our picture graphs, click on the photo.

This was a great project, filled with fun and learning. To learn more about pennies and other coins and to try some interactive games, check out the links below.
~ Links to Learning ~
Pennies Minted by U.S from 1970 to 2002

Penny Composition

Penny Facts

Americans for Common Cents
The Penny Information Homepage

The Adventures of Penny
A fun way to learn about coins

The Birth of a Coin
This is a page kids will love!
Choose the online storybook or an animated version

Learn About the Penny at Enchanted Learning

Pennies Make Cents Lesson Plan

A to Z Kids Stuff Money
Lots of good ideas to explore the world of money
The following links are all from the wonderful Pattie Knox from her work with The Story of the Coin Press.

Printables for Teachers
Part of the First Steam Powered Coining Press,
these wonderful lessons integrate the penny into all areas of your curriculum! A must see!

Online Activites
Great games for students!

Links of Interest
from Pattie
To Window to Our World