Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Identifying Coins and Exploring Coin Relationships

I planned with 1st grade yesterday, and they are getting ready to tackle money.  In Texas, 1st graders need to be able to identify coins, know the values of the coins, and understand relationships between the coins (1 nickel has the same value as 5 pennies).

I read something interesting related to coins a while back, probably in Van de Walle.  Coin values are really a very abstract concept for young children.  Think about it.  Up until now, their experiences with numbers have all been based on one-to-one correspondence.  The number 5 meant five of something--jelly beans, teddy bear counters, fingers, etc.  With coins you have one object, take for instance a nickel, but now it means 5.  That can be pretty tough!  After reading that, I decided that I wanted to do something to help make coin values a little less abstract and to tie this new knowledge into something they are already very familiar with.  What I came up with was ten-frames.  So again, if you think of the CRA sequence of instruction, the ten-frames are the representation of the abstract concept.  Pictured below are images of the cards I made to help support the kiddos as they learned about coin values.  The set, which includes instructions for use, is a freebie at my TPT store. If you download the freebie, I would love for you to rate it favorably and follow my store.  Also, you might want to check out Coin Part Part Whole Workstations.  Scroll down to the bottom of this post for a downloadable coin trading mat with instructions.

Coin Trading Mat
Each child will need a trading mat and a supply of real or play money.  If you're using play money, it should be as realistic as possible.  Call out a coin, for example nickel.  The kids will put a nickel in the nickel column. Then ask them to show you how many pennies it takes to equal the value of the nickel.  You can take this activity in many different directions.  Ask them to put out a quarter, and then ask them to show you the same value using dimes and nickels.  Notice how open-ended that is.  Most kids will put out 2 dimes and 1 nickel.  But some kids might put out 1 dime and 3 nickels.  Think about the great math conversations you could have!


  1. I was looking for a way to reinforce the knowledge of coins, their values, and the relationships between them (trading). Your materials are of great help in teaching children with learning disabilities.
    Thank you

  2. Linking money to the ten frame is smart stuff. Thank you. I think I'll share this with 2nd grade at my school too.
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

  3. I wouldn't have thought to use ten frames for money! Pretty smart, you are. ;) Thanks for the print-outs!

    Come on over to my blog at Floating Through First Grade. I can't wait to see what ideas we can share! :)

    Floating Through First Grade

  4. As always amazing stuff Donna. Quick question about the mat. Is there a reason the coins go from left to right, smallest to largest value? I am just thinking it might be confusing when compared with a place value mat...or maybe that is what you are trying to avoid by doing it that way.
    Thank you!

  5. Awesome! We were little worried about this at my school but these will help out tremendously. Thanks for all of the great posts!


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