Thursday, June 26th 2014
Being a coin fetishist (and yes I’ll admit it, a *packrat*), among other things I took interest when the U.S. Treasury began minting state-themed quarters, oh, what was it, like 15 years ago? You might recall that about 5 new State Quarters were minted every year for ten years, plus six U.S. Territories. (Yep count ’em, six. Can you name ’em all? I couldn’t.)
(Northern Mariana Islands; what?) Anyway, for a while I was trying to collect a complete set. Then a few years ago I ordered this cardboard U.S. Quarter MAP, with a little hole on the map for the coin of each State or Territory:
I envisioned sharing this penchant with my son. You know, sitting down with him and lovingly sifting through coins, perusing their features and mining them for artistic, historical and cultural significance. Of course I did NOT envision the extent to which working-motherhood precludes me from nearly EVER “sitting down.” (Just ask my “Hubsend.”) But alas, my day has come. (Warning: Nerd Alert!)
Having my niece and nephew over today, -after giving them a light chore and a substantial snack- I pulled out Ye Olde Quarter Map. Then I drafted up these little assignments for them, poured out our laundry quarters, incentivized them with money (yes, “bribed,” but for their own good), and presto! Three kids doing rubbings of various state coins, writing down observations, and figuring out WHERE in the U.S. various states are found (like the one WE LIVE IN, for example, ahem).
I checked their work for accuracy (e.g; “NEW HAMPSHIRE, 1788, Theme: OLD MAN OF THE MOUNTAIN, Observations: WIERD OLD MAN” [sic.]). They calculated their earnings (50 cents per report) plus extra credit (25 cents for sorting them in chronological order (e.g.; 1783 North Carolina, 1788 Maryland, 1839 “South Dekoda” and so on). And YES, I had them write their name AND DATE on EACH page (to help fortify them against the average tedium of adulthood).
To get paid, my son introduced and loaned his invoice system to his cousins in order to get paid as he does (have I blogged about that one yet?):
Then I had them calculate their pay IN QUARTERS (coincidence? er… coin-cidence? ba dum ch), and choose their own quarters for pay. Then I made them pose for this photo (‘Cuz I’m SO annoying like that):
Although it cost me 3 or 4 loads of laundry-worth of “incentive” (Extrinsic Motivation) -and that is absurd- I also believe the kids when they admit it was really fun and interesting (Intrinsic Motivation), and that perhaps MAYBE they will look at quarters differently in future; as sources of interesting information about all the states (and territories) of the U.S. Here’s hoping anyway. Yes I’m a nerd but it was really fun. And besides it IS summer and what; are they gonna do homework for nothin’?