Grade Levels: K-3

In this collection of lesson ideas which is adaptable for grades 1-3, students use a variety of BrainPOP Jr. resources and activities to explore how to count coins.

counting coins

Ideas for Building Background Knowledge

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 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.

Classroom Activities for Extending Student Learning

Collect a Dollar: Students work in pairs to play this cooperative game. Each pair needs a collection of real or manipulative coins and a number cube. The goal is to collect exactly one dollar. One student rolls the die and takes the number of coins shown on the die. They must be all one type of coin (for example if you roll a 3, you can take 3 quarters or 3 nickels or 3 dimes, etc). Then the second player rolls the number cube and chooses which type of coin to gather to add onto the first student’s collection. After each turn the students should count the change and discuss what coins they might be able to take on the next turn. You may want to provide a recording sheet to help students keep track of their totals. After they have played the game a few times, bring the class together and ask students to share their counting strategies with the group.

Mystery Bags: Hand out small decorated bags with a large collection of coins in each bag that is valued under a dollar, such as two quarters, one dime, four nickels, twenty pennies. Then challenge small groups to come up with as many ways as they can to count the collection. Make sure they write their strategies down or draw pictures of how they counted. Then have groups share their strategies with the whole class.

Skip-Counting Skip: If possible, use butcher paper to create a large hundred chart on the floor. You may also want to do the activity outside on concrete using sidewalk chalk. Small groups of students can make their own hundred charts, or you can provide one for the whole class. Then have students skip on the chart to practice skip-counting by ones, fives, tens, and twenty-fives. Make sure they say the numbers they land on out loud and have other group members check over their counting.

Family Activities for Extending Student Learning

Trip to the Market: Take your child to a market and have him or her show the prices of different items that are under a dollar using coins. Then reverse the activity by giving your child a group of coins and having him or her find an item in the store that costs the same amount. Encourage your child to count out loud and use different strategies such as skip-counting, counting on, and grouping.

Give a Penny, Take a Penny: Give your child a large group of pennies. Then have him or her group them into fives, tens, or twenty-fives to practice grouping and skip-counting. Help him or her write an addition sentence to show the groups and find the total. You can repeat the activity using different groups of the same coins.

Filed as:  K-3, Math