Social Studies Research and Practice
Volume 5, Number 1, Spring 2010
Notable Trade Book Lesson Plan: My Rows and Piles of Coins
Karen M. Hempson
State University of New York at Cortland
My Rows and Piles of Coins portrays the daily life of Saruni, a child in Tanzania, who saves his coins to buy a bicycle to help his mother bring produce to sell at the market. The story explains Saruni’s determination, his disappointment for not having enough money, and his parents’ appreciation and support. The book is used as a springboard for a thematic mini-unit that has been implemented in a sixth grade class and modeled for pre-service elementary teachers taking social studies methods classes in their pedagogic block. The mini-unit delves into Tanzania’s culture, economy, geography and climate, while helping students and pre-service teachers understand their own and other people’s social and cultural experiences. The model of the mini-unit could be used to study any country.