Implementation of “Obverse and reverse: anatomy of a coin” (SOI-HR-323)

Author: Ksenija Skoric, vocational teacher

School/Organization: Ekonomska i turisticka skola Daruvar, Croatia

The Learning scenario Obverse and reverse: anatomy of a coin was created by Andreas Galanos and implemented by Ksenija Skoric

As Croatia entered the eurozone this year (2023), I wanted to talk to the students about topics related to the euro. I proposed several learning scenarios to the students, and this one seemed the most interesting, so we decided to implement it in class. We found it appropriate to implement as it familiarizes us with our new currency. The euro in Croatia has its own specifics, but students will quickly encounter the same currency with a different appearance of coins during their mobility through Erasmus projects implemented at school.

The 17- to 18-year-old students involved in the implementation of this learning scenario learn about tourism in a vocational school. Part of it is the reception and exchange office. This learning scenario was implemented during that part of the curriculum.

Choosing a class for the implementation

The learning scenario was carried out in the third grade of a vocational school in the tourism sector during the teaching of vocational subjects. The content that the students found during the research and their work were shared through Google Classroom. Since the curriculum deals with different aspects of tourism and currencies, they are a large part of the teaching.

The students are familiar with the appearance of the new currency, which they will be able to use without any difficulties over time. During the year, students get to know the work of the reception department of the hotel, of which the exchange office is an integral part. We decided to base the research on motifs by type, without researching the artistic aspect of euro coins and banknotes, since the students will be learning about art next year.

Currently, there are twenty European Union countries in the eurozone, and the class in which I implemented the implementation also has twenty students, so we decided together that each student should research the euro of one country. In addition to the member countries of the European Union, several other countries use the Euro as their currency, so the students also researched the coins of those countries.

Getting to know Europeana

The class in which the learning scenario was implemented was already familiar with the Europeana platform. It was only necessary to briefly repeat the data search using the filter.

First step – euro coins

The first activity was to decide which student would study which country. We should have used random selection for that. The students made a list and were each given one country to research their coins and bills. First, they researched the coins and discovered that certain countries have only one motif on all coins. The students who were given the task of researching the coins of a country that has the same motif on all our coins, were given another country to research. Some of them decided to investigate banknotes as well, while other students deal with a larger number of motifs on coins.

To discover basic information and photos about the euro, students used the following sites:


European Central Bank


Students posted photos and links about coins in Google Classroom. After that, the teacher opened a board in Padlet on which the students wrote motifs by type. Each student put a photo of a coin with the corresponding motif for a particular country in the motif group. After all the students had completed this activity, all the coin designs were displayed in the classroom and the students discussed them and asked each other questions.

Posting in Padlet

                                                          Explaining coins posted in Padlet

Next step – Euro banknotes

After the coins, it was the turn of the banknotes to be presented. Students presented to the rest of the class the motifs found on the different denominations of banknotes. We talked about the motifs and details on the banknotes and compared them with the motifs on different denominations of the former Croatian currency – kuna.

Another one – creating a map

The students drew a map of Europe, marked the countries of the Eurozone and colored the countries to make them stand out on the map. Where possible, the image of the coin was pasted within the borders, and for smaller countries, they were pasted next to the map and indicated which country they refer to.

                                                       Drawing a map – Eurozone map

Final step – we are creative

In the end, the activity that most interested the students when deciding on the learning scenario – redesigning the Euro banknote. After researching on different websites, the students used the Europeana platform to search for motifs they wanted to draw on the new banknote. Some of the students made their own designs without using artwork.

Exploring Europeana

                                                              Creating a new banknote

New Euro design 1    
  New Euro design 2
New Euro design  3

How did we implement it?

This learning scenario was implemented in the classroom, face to face, but it could be implemented online as well. Part of the tasks were done by the students independently using internet search tools. Together they commented on the coins of the countries that use the Euro as their official currency, and one group dedicated themselves to making a map on hammer paper. Recommended time for the activities was sufficient, but some of the activities we did not finish as the vocational school doesn’t teach some of the subject used in the original LS.

What did students learn?

Students have developed 21st century skills such as communication, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity and competence in the use of technology. The students learned a lot about the Euro, which will help them to use it more easily. During the process, the students also gathered a lot of additional information about the Eurozone countries and their symbols. This made many of them interested in future research.

“I’m going to Germany soon and this will be very useful for me to be able to recognize coins,” said the student who is preparing for mobility as part of the Erasmus+ project.

“We studied the Croatian Euro coins a lot when the appearance of the coins was published. It was very interesting for me to see what other countries considered important to be displayed on the official means of payment,” said one student.

It is easier now

Using Europeana resources becomes easier over time. There are many different sources to search and using filters when searching is essential. Students used to Google search really liked Europeana because it gave them something new to really dig deep into research. Sometimes it is easier if the teacher searches Europeana in advance and then shows the students some examples in class to learn from, but it depends on the student.

By studying this topic, the students prepared for easier use of the new currency, which, as they themselves admit, they actually knew very superficially. Namely, they have never thought in such detail about the significance of the country’s symbols that are placed on the official currency of a country. That is why the implementation of this scenario was extremely interesting for them. Therefore, I am also very pleased that we decided on this particular learning scenario.

Did you find this story of implementation interesting? Why don’t you read about the related learning scenario? Obverse and reverse: anatomy of a coin (LS-GR-226) created by Andreas Glanos 

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Do you want to discover more stories of implementation? Click here.

CC BY 4.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana and has been provided by the Museovirasto.

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