Technical description

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Following the recommendations and templates in Markel and Selber’s Chapter 20 (especially pages 547-555), write a technical description of the U.S. dime that is currently in circulation–in other words, the Roosevelt dime. Your finished description should be 400 to 600 words long.

Purpose: This project will give you practice in using “precise and informative” language to give a thorough and objective description of an object that you handle every day but may not have completely seen.

Skills: You must do research into the physical details of the coin as well as the historical and symbolic significance of the items on it. You must learn to use the vocabulary of numismatics. And you must decide on the clearest sequence for your description—spatial, functional, or chronological.

Knowledge: You will learn to observe carefully, conduct meaningful research, and use language to render an object as a camera would while also conveying the symbolic significance.

Your technical description should do the following things:

  • Focus on describing the physical object itself—its appearance and specifications: include every element that appears on each side of the engraving.
  • Use the correct technical terms for the features of the object. (For instance, what are the correct technical terms for the front and back of a coin? What are the ridges called that run around its edge?)
  • Consider the background of this object. For instance, what is the significance of this person being portrayed on this coin? Who created the image? When? Again, confine your description to the current dime.
  • Include a visual or visuals with caption(s). Note: All visuals must include figure number, caption, and source. See the Guidelines on pages 295-296 in the textbook.
  • Use MLA manuscript format. Provide in-text citations and a Works Cited page in MLA style (see pages 647-663 in the textbook).

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