My eight year old discovered the state quarters recently, when his great-aunt from Arizona gave him a newly minted Arizona quarter. Since then he has become some what obsessed with his collection of state quarters.
His collection has grown rapidly. He hit up his grandfather for quarters and came away a great start to the collection. He's been doing extra chores and saving change to buy state quarters from his parents and when we recently went to a grown-up friend's birthday party, he told the guests he was collecting the quarters and came home with eleven he didn't have yet.
If he were only collecting coins, this wouldn't be much of an educational experience, but he's used his collection to start an interest in the history of the states and when they joined the Union, and also US geography. Thanks to a book called the Scrambled States of America and his quarter collection, he's really getting a sense of the US, where the states are located and generally what's what.
This morning I offered to print out a blank map for him so he could fill in the states. He was thrilled at the idea and sat right down to fill it out. He wasn't perfect. He mixed up New Hampshire and Vermont and on the first try moved Georgia to Missouri. He also needed to be reminded that state names are proper nouns.
I didn't start learning states and their capitols until fifth grade, so I think my rising third grader is doing pretty well, but I always new he was a kid who liked to learn on his own and he needs only a little help a guidance to get ahead. I didn't devise this US geography lesson, but I think it has actually been a great system for getting a kid interested in the States. The knowledge he's gained has been rather costly to his friends and relatives though.
1 year ago