ACE STUDY PLAN
Studying Ancient Roman History & Civilization using Coins
©2002 Marvin Tameanko for Ancient Coins for Education, Inc
How to Begin . . . If, upon receiving your packet of ancient coins, you find yourself saying, "Now what?",
please read on. We provide here a lesson plan to help you engage your students' interest in study of the
Romans through the research of coins, ancient artifacts students can hold in their hands. No matter what your
previous experience with ancient coins has been, ACE provides ample resources to prepare you well to guide
your students. Feel free to use, change, or ignore the lesson plan as you see fit based on the needs and
personalities of your classes.
I. GENERAL INFORMATION AND RESOURCES:
A. "BASIC ACE INSTRUCTIONS"
: This was sent to you at the start of the project. Please read
B. ACE CD:
The CD is essentially the teacher's manual. It contains lesson plans, class handouts, articles,
coin preparation and photographing instructions, an attribution guide, and a sample grant request and
press release. Please feel free to make copies of these items for your students. This is also linked from
the ACE website http://ancientcoinsforeducation.org
C. Official ACE Website:
The official ACE website, http://ancientcoinsforeducation.org
will be an invaluable resource for you and
your students, containing links to sites on coin history, attribution, and Roman history and culture. It
will also be the showcase for winning essays in the essay contest. You will find all links listed in the
"LESSON PLAN" accessed easily through the ACE CD or this site. You will benefit most by just
"poking around" the links, where in addition to coin basics, you will find information on fourees and
forgeries, coins with "theme" illustrations, and scholarly articles about particular coin types and the
emperors who issued them. There is also a file entitled "Teacher Supplied Resources." If you
develop an activity this year that works well in your classroom, then submit it to ACE for posting on the
website --and you may win a coin for yourself!
D. Yahoo Discussion Group for Teachers:
It is REQUIRED that you to sign up for this discussion group
. It is reserved for ACE teachers and
numismatists (i.e. not accessible to students). This is the way in which announcements, contest
questions, awards, instructions are distributed by ACE. In turn, you will have the opportunity to share
ideas and classroom practices, ask questions, and give advice. In order to register, you MUST choose a
user name which identifies you or your school so that ACE can easily know who is participating or
E. Yahoo Discussion Group for All ACE Participants
A Yahoo discussion group is available to ACE participants at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ACEhelp/
Students and teachers can submit questions about their coins and ACE numismatists quickly respond.
Students can also post digital photos of their coins so that numismatists can verify their final attributions.
This internet group site is suitable for your students to use during classroom time, as it will be strictly
moderated for content. You are encouraged to join! The group is extremely friendly and eager to
answer any and all of your questions. We'd LOVE to continue to be involved with your class by hearing
status reports, difficulties encountered, student responses, and most of all your questions! There are
many members of the group that are experts in the field, highly accredited numismatists with decades of
experience. We have authors, professors, doctors, lawyers, programmers, and printers--a diverse range
both socially and professionally, all bound by their unique love of this hobby. We encourage you and
your students to join us.
Important suggestion to teachers: Make sure that all of your students communicate on the discussion
group using a single user name and password you create for the entire class. Link this username and
password to your own e-mail address. Then, you will get forwarded copies of all of your students'
correspondence. With 100 schools involved, it will become impossible for the ACE numismatists if
each student registers with the group under his/her own username. Also, when students communicate,
they should sign their correspondence only with first name and last initial to allay parents' and
administrators' concerns about student identities on the web.
II. MATERIALS LISTS:
----Small envelopes in which to distribute coins to students "sight unseen" or plastic 35mm
film cannisters free from a photo developing shop. Washed prescription vials will also do. The
coins can be passed out to students sight-unseen in these semi-opaque containers that will then be
labeled with the students' names.
----A few rulers with millimeter markings (or calipers, if possible): for recording the diameter
of coins, perhaps borrowed from your manual arts department.
OPTIONAL but recommended:
----Scale accurate to .1 gram, such as an Ohaus beam balance: for recording the weight of
coins, perhaps borrowed from your science department.
----Coin attribution books via inter-library loan: helpful, but not required--we will be glad to
suggest a list of useful titles.
----Digital camera, scanner or other "imaging equipment": for those without access to
sophisticated imaging tools, very nice rubbings occasionally reveal more detail than is readily
visible. Placing a coin on a mouse-pad bottom or other non-skid surface to prevent the coin
"scooting" around. Holding a sheet of regular paper over the coin, gently rub the high points of
detail with a large-leaded, child's or other soft, dull-pointed pencil.
----Magnifying glasses - these need not be more than 3X - 5X for most purposes and need not be
elaborate at all. Tiny plastic ones like Cracker-Jack "prizes" will do fine, and may be found at
party-supply stores. These do not need to be one-to-a-student; they may be shared among several
Some teachers like to have students share in bringing project supplies. If so, here is a list of
items you can ask each student to supply from home:
III. ESSAY and IMAGE CONTESTS:
ACE strongly encourages teachers to motivate their students to
participate in the various ACE contests; indeed, participation in at least ONE of the ACE Essay or other
contests during the year is expected. The winners from each participating school which send their
winning entry to ACE receive coin prizes with certificates, and participation in the contests can help
keep up student interest in the program. In each school for all our contests the winner's entry will
progress to the ACE Finals where students compete with winners from other classes across the country
for more coin prizes. For specific details, please read carefully the document "ACE Contests - Basic
Information" and also directions sent via the teachers' Yahoo list.
N.B All report and essay submissions for the Finals will be published on ACE website
), but the student will retain all rights, and the reports may not be
published beyond the website without the student's written consent. To protect students' identities,
essay authors will always be posted using first name and last initial only. The winner of the" Best
Essay of the Year Award" not only receives an additional coin prize, but can have his or her essay
published on further ACE CDs.
IV. ORGANIZATION OF CLASSES:
There is much flexibility in how you arrange classes for the coin
project, depending on how thoroughly you want to do the activities, the type of schedule (block or
traditional) you have, the size of your class, the ages of your students, and the resources available in
your school. If your school has a computer lab, you will probably want to sign up for several days after
students clean their coins.
Below is a sample format which has been used by ACE teachers based on the "LESSON PLAN".
(one period equals 45 minutes)
----Part One: "Setting the Stage for Studying Ancient Coins" - 1 period
----Part Two: "Distribution and 'Metrology' of Coins" - 1 period
----Part Three: "Identifying Your Coins" - 2 periods
This activity works well in a computer lab with internet connections since you will want to be
able to use the "Attribution Guide" on the ACE CD, access coin ID'ing websites, and refer
questions to ACE members. For these days to work smoothly, check first to see if your school
system blocks crucial attribution sites and if so, request that the technology resource person
allow your students access during the computer lab days. Also, you may want to have the ACE
CD put on your lab network so that all students can access to important files. You have the
blessings of ACE to network the ACE CD.
----Part Four: Teacher's Conclusions and Wrap-up - 2 periods
At this point you may want to conclude with presentations on minting processes, summaries of
typical features of Roman coins, discussions of the value of Roman money and the debasement
of coinage over time. Students can give reports to the class about their own coin discoveries.
You can use this time to discuss the essay contest guidelines or any other follow-up activities
you are requiring of the students.
V. OUTREACH TO YOUR COMMUNITY:
Try to find out if there is a coin collector in your neighborhood who is knowledgeable about
ancient coins. He or she may be willing to talk to your class and bring coins for students to
look at. ACE may be able to help you find someone willing to share numismatic expertise with
Notify your local newspaper about the coin project. ACE provides a basic press release to
facilitate this. The unit offers great photo opportunities and is an exciting way to promote your
classroom program. The ACE website has links to articles featured in newspapers last year.
Wishing you and your class the best of luck,
ACE - Ancient Coins for Education, Executive Committee.