Grade Levels: K-3

This page provides information to support educators and families in teaching K-3 students about counting coins. It is designed to complement the Counting Coins topic page on BrainPOP Jr.

Working with money and collections of different coins is a great way for children to practice adding strategies such as skip-counting, counting on, and grouping. We recommend screening the Dollars and Cents movie with your children to review the values of pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, half-dollars, and dollar bills. Help your children understand that there are many different ways to count money and encourage them to practice different strategies and come up with their own.

Remind your children that a penny is worth one cent, a nickel is worth five cents, a dime is worth ten cents, and a quarter is worth twenty-five cents. Encourage them to find equivalent groups between the coins. For example, a quarter is worth twenty-five pennies or five nickels. Explain that when there is a group of the same coin, they can skip-count to find the total value. Use a number line or a hundred chart to practice skip-counting by ones, fives, tens, and twenty-fives. Skip-counting by quarters might be tricky for some children, but providing manipulatives and different visualization techniques can help early learners skip-count to one hundred, or a dollar.

Show a small collection of different coins, such as a nickel and three pennies. Explain to your children that they can count on to find the total. Remind them that when they count on, they start with the larger number and count on the smaller numbers. For example, you start at 5¢ and add three ones: 6, 7, 8¢. We recommend providing manipulatives and having children count on aloud as they practice.

After children are comfortable with skip-counting and counting on, show a larger collection of different coins, such as one quarter, two dimes, a nickel, and a penny. Challenge them to find different ways to count the mixed group of coins, and share their strategies with the class. You might want to chart the different ways that students count the coins and even name their individual strategies so the class can refer back to them later. If no child brings it up, explain that it can be helpful to first sort the coins, then skip-count each group and then bring them together. They may also want to group different coins to make a “friendly” number, or a number that is easier to work with. For example, they may want to start with the quarter and add on the nickel to get 30¢ before they add on the two dimes. Since 30 ends with a zero, it is a friendly number to work with. Remind your children that there are different ways to count and challenge them to utilize different strategies.