Penny Rubbing

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In this art-related activity, learners make a coin rubbing—a process similar to what archeologists may do with ancient artifacts. This activity can be used in connection with a history or art lesson. In the Did You Know section, learners find out that Benjamin Franklin suggested the design for the first penny.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 11

Resource Type:


Materials List (per group of students)

  • One penny
  • One nickel
  • One dime
  • One quarter
  • Coins from other countries, if you have them
  • Pencil
  • Thin white paper


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Earth's History
      • Archeology
  • Life Sciences
    • Evolution
      • History of Life
  • Mathematics
    • Measurement
      • Size and Scale
  • The Nature of Science
    • Science as a Career

Informal Categories

  • Arts and Crafts
  • Financial Literacy


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Links STEM to other topics of interest such as arts and humanities
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, The Regents of the University of California, 2007