by Alan M. Barker
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To reflect that, together, gifts of small change can help to make a big difference.
Preparation and materials
- You will need a set of the latest-design 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 pence coins, which show segments of the Royal Shield of Arms on the obverse side.
- You will also need a set of images to illustrate the different designs and how they form the Royal Shield of Arms and the means to display these during the assembly.
- Prepare by visiting the coin design and specifications section of the Royal Mint website at: www.royalmint.com/discover/uk-coins/coin-design-and-specifications
– it contains fascinating statistics and information. Images demonstrating how the coins together form the shield can be found by using the search terms ‘royal shield of arms coin set’ on the Internet.
- The story in the ‘Assembly’, Step 5 is based on Luke 21.1–4.
- A group of children could enact the story as described in Step 5, if wished. If so, you will need some props – a jar of change, a small collecting bowl or box and two pennies.
- Prepare the song ‘Love is something if you give it away’ (also known as the ‘Magic penny’ song. The lyrics are available at:http://childbiblesongs.com/song-29-love-is-something-if-you-give-it-away.shtml and you can introduce other verses as well, such as ‘Happiness is something if you give it away’, ‘Care is something . . . ‘ and so on)
Draw some coins from your purse or pocket, explaining that they are often described as ‘small change’. Comment that, when counting our change, we don’t very often look closely at the coins themselves, but each is carefully designed and made at the Royal Mint.
If younger children are present, demonstrate, along the following lines, how the coins are of different sizes and shapes and formed of different materials.
Which is the smallest? (Five pence piece.)
How many faces (sides) are there to the edge of a 20 pence or 50 pence piece? (Seven.)
Some coins are a copper colour, made from copper-plated steel, while others are silver in appearance, made from nickel-plated steel.
This is optional, but you could mention that it may even be possible to find some hidden treasure in small change!
In 2008, some new design 20 pence coins (only 250,000) were accidentally produced without a date on either side. (Details can be found on the Royal Mint’s website.) These are worth far more than 20 pence to collectors! Is it possible to find one? Look carefully!
Explain that each coin bears a portrait of Her Majesty the Queen on the obverse side and a different design on the reverse side. The designs on the reverse side show parts of the Royal Shield of Arms. Place the set of coins together and show your chosen image or images that show how each are fragments of the whole shield.
Observe that small change is often collected for charities. Mention any collection or fundraising the school is doing or has planned at this point. Each small contribution helps to make a larger gift – just as the individual pieces of small change form a larger picture.
Introduce a story from the Bible that tells how even the smallest coin can really matter.
If a group of children are acting out the story, as you tell it, have some making a big thing of pouring lots of coins into a collecting bowl and one secretively placing in two pennies.
The widow’s offering
One day Jesus and his friends sat in one of the temple courts. It was a very busy place. Lots of people were there, leaving gifts of money in the collecting boxes.
Some rich people gave large amounts of money. They liked to show off. They wanted everyone watching to see how rich and generous they were.
Jesus then spotted a poor widow quietly making her way across the temple court. Looking around to check no one saw her, she dropped two of the smallest coins into the collection box.
‘Did you see that?’ Jesus asked his friends. That widow has been more generous than anyone else. The rich people gave what they could easily afford, but the small coins she gave were all she had to buy food today’.
Conclude with the following thought. So, small coins can mean a lot. Small change can add up to make a big difference.
Perhaps we should look more closely at the coins in our purses, pockets and money boxes. Maybe we could sometimes give a little to help a good cause.
Time for reflection
Coins come in different shapes and sizes and can be spent in many different ways, but every coin has two sides. Along with the happiness of getting, we can experience the joy of giving.
‘Count your blessings’ (Songs for Every Assembly,Out of the Ark Music, 1999)
‘Love is something if you give it away’ (also known as the ‘Magic penny’ song, with other verses, such as ‘Happiness is something if you give it away’, ‘Care is something . . . ‘ and so on, if using)