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Does keeping the penny make sense?

July 18, 2001
Web posted at: 11:54 AM EDT (1554 GMT)

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Overview: Representative Jim Kolbe has introduced legislation to round transactions up or down to the nearest five cents. The one-cent coin has gone through 11 different designs since being introduced in 1787. Challenge students to read and discuss the cultural, economic and charitable issues that support keeping the penny.

Curriculum connections: Economics

After students have read the story "Legislation aims to minimize pennies", ask the following questions:

1. How many pennies did the U.S. Mint produce last year? What legislation has Congressman Jim Kolbe introduced and why? What is Mark Weller's position on the proposed legislation? In what ways are pennies still useful coins? Why do you think some Americans might want to keep the penny? How does the penny serve as a hedge against inflation?

2. Direct students to the fourth Web site below, the Americans for Common Cents "Ten Reasons to Keep the Penny" list. As a class, read and discuss the cultural, economic and charitable issues that support keeping the penny. Then divide the class into groups. Challenge each group to come up with as many reasons as they can for getting rid of the penny. (See if they can come up with 10 reasons.) Allow groups time to conduct research, if needed. Have each group share its list. Poll students to see how many favor keeping the one-cent coin and how many favor abolishing it.

The Penny Page
American's for Common Cents Online
The History of The United States Penny Online
The United States Mint

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