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Helping the Cub Scouts with Coins

My boys are in Cub Scouts and yesterday I was able to teach the Den about coins. This was a lot of fun, but was a test in keeping a large group of 8 year old boys focused. Here is what I learned.

  • Stick to discussing as few coins as possible
  • Keep away from numismatic minutia, and just make it fun
  • Keep an element of "seated" play (if they stand-up, they are gone)
  • Always leave your nice coins at home (these kids were spinning the coins on the table, tossing them to each other, etc)

Here was my approach:

  • I used an Ike Dollar for each kid to teach them about the parts of a coin (because it's large and easy to see).
  • Talked about what each coin is made from (went down a rabbit hole of Clad vs Silver - big mistake)
  • Used a large rare earth magnet to make steel cents "dance" through a table (used a tray to not scratch the table)
  • Gave all 18 kids a Steel Cent, a Wheat Cent and a Buffalo Nickel
  • I brought some other items (a few off-strike coins, a 7070 Type Album, etc), but I didn't even take them out of the bag. Maybe a good item for next time, but I would have completely lost them if I showed them anything else.

Note: The steel cents were a HIT. Everyone loved playing with the magnet, and they all thought they were "magicians" (so fun). All of the kids loved getting free coins.

Next steps - I am helping them with their Numismatic Badge. They have to build a type set, and I am having them build a nickel type set (I couldn't think of a type that would be most cost effective to build).

It was a LOT of fun, and I was able to avoid 8 y.o. chaos (always a plus).

Have you done anything with the boy scouts of other club for kids? How did it go?

I am a newer collector (started April 2020), and I primarily focus on U.S. Half Cents and Type Coins. Early copper is my favorite.

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    1Bufffan1Bufffan Posts: 620 ✭✭✭

    Thanks for taking your time with the Scouts, I'm glad to hear that you used the larger Ike dollar. My Granddaughter as part of her school program played the part of Susan B. Anthony. I carded up a SBA for each child in her class and 1 for the Teacher as well. They could not believe that it was a "Dollar" so I marked each one, in Red "this is a Dollar" not a quarter.

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    Em7Em7 Posts: 37 ✭✭✭

    Sounds like it was a lot of fun. I just recently did a “coin day” with my students. I was able to connect it to our social studies lessons about state and federal power. Similar to your scouts, my students loved it too. Your idea about using the Ike dollar to discuss the parts of a coin was a great idea. I think I’m going to have to borrow that when I do this lesson again next year! 🙂

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    divecchiadivecchia Posts: 6,528 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Well, that was really a terrific thing that you did with the Scouts.

    You should be proud.

    Donato

    Hobbyist & Collector (not an investor).
    Donato's Complete US Type Set ---- Donato's Dansco 7070 Modified Type Set ---- Donato's Basic U.S. Coin Design Set

    Successful transactions: Shrub68 (Jim), MWallace (Mike)
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    NeophyteNumismatistNeophyteNumismatist Posts: 893 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It was so much fun. We almost lost control a few times, but that's what happens in a room full of 8 year olds. Their faces when they saw the steels move with the magnet was classic. They really had no idea it was coming - and they all wanted to do it.

    I am a newer collector (started April 2020), and I primarily focus on U.S. Half Cents and Type Coins. Early copper is my favorite.

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    jessewvujessewvu Posts: 5,063 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Cool! I did something very similar with our cub scouts a few years ago.

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    JWPJWP Posts: 17,700 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 15, 2023 9:08PM

    @NeophyteNumismatist If you need any coin folders (new and used) just send me a PM. What a great way to spend your time. Thanks for promoting coin collecting to our youth. o:)

    USN & USAF retired 1971-1993
    Successful Transactions with more than 100 Members

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    rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    That is great, nicely done as well. Keeping control of a group of Cub Scouts is not easy. Some will go on to Boy Scouts and perhaps the Coin Collecting Merit badge. You could be a counselor for that badge. Cheers, RickO

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    NeophyteNumismatistNeophyteNumismatist Posts: 893 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 16, 2023 10:17AM

    There is a Cub Scout badge for coin collecting, too. I am going to help all the kids with that one. They have to build a "type set". I can get very creative with that definition and decided that a nickel type set in low/cull grade would be the most cost effective. They only need:

    3C Nickel
    Shield with Rays
    Shield No Rays
    V (no cents)
    V (cents)
    Buffalo (Raised Ground)
    Buffalo (Recessed/Flat Ground)
    Jefferson
    War

    I am also wondering if I could get by with just ONE of the Shield, Liberty and Buffalo nickels. However, I would like to incorporate the fun stories - like Josh Tatum, so we will see. I need to balance the cost. Originally, I was just going to buy all the coins for all the kids and teach them about one design at a time. But, with 18 kids - I am probably still spending a few hundred dollars on culls (which is against my religion). I probably need to plan it better before we move forward.

    Note - I may be able to do a small cent type set for cheaper. But that still has the Flying Eagle, a few indian cents, and the VDB.

    I am a newer collector (started April 2020), and I primarily focus on U.S. Half Cents and Type Coins. Early copper is my favorite.

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    coinbufcoinbuf Posts: 10,768 ✭✭✭✭✭

    That is an awesome way to help your community, and who knows maybe a future numismatist was born.

    My Lincoln Registry
    My Collection of Old Holders

    Never a slave to one plastic brand will I ever be.
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    NeophyteNumismatistNeophyteNumismatist Posts: 893 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 16, 2023 4:43PM

    @JWP said:
    @NeophyteNumismatist If you need any coin folders (new and used) just send me a PM. What a great way to spend your time. Thanks for promoting coin collecting to our youth. o:)

    JWP - Thanks so much - that is super kind of you!!! Let me see how many kids I can get to bite on this. Admittedly, my boys' and daughter's interest in coins wax and wane. I have a few older Whitman Lincoln folders, too. I could get a few kids started.

    I am a newer collector (started April 2020), and I primarily focus on U.S. Half Cents and Type Coins. Early copper is my favorite.

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    JWPJWP Posts: 17,700 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 16, 2023 5:20PM

    @NeophyteNumismatist I have 40 plus that I have tried to sell w/o success. Just let know which coin folders you think would work and I just send them to you. No charge for the folders or shipping. Just send me your address and I will send them to you. :)

    USN & USAF retired 1971-1993
    Successful Transactions with more than 100 Members

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    VeepVeep Posts: 1,403 ✭✭✭✭

    My wife’s 5th grade class enjoyed these items:

    • Steel cents
    • Blown-up pic of 3-Leg Buffalo and had to guess what was different about it
    • 2,000 year-old ancient the size of an Oreo cookie
    • Comparing today’s dollar bill with an old-time horse blanket
    "Let me tell ya Bud, you can buy junk anytime!"
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    Riley1955Riley1955 Posts: 136 ✭✭✭

    As an Eagle Scout I commend anyone that works with other scouts. The gift of learning from someone with real knowledge of the subject can stick with the boys and girls forever. I know I appreciated all the men and women who worked with me on my quest of different merit badges. It was a real blessing.

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    DreamcrusherDreamcrusher Posts: 210 ✭✭✭✭

    Contact the education department of the ANA. They can help with supplies to conduct a merit badge workshop. There is also a form that the Scouts can complete once they successfully take the class that will allow them to receive a free one year membership with the ANA.

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