Reflection: Developing a Conceptual Understanding Let's Go Shopping: Adding Money Amounts (Less than $1.00) - Section 2: Introduction to New Material


When teaching a skill like adding money amounts to create a total it is tempting to tell students the way that they "should" do this problem or the way that is easiest (for you) to do this kind of problem.  For me, it makes the most sense to add up money amounts using column addition--this strategy seems efficient and builds on my students' previous knowledge of adding two digit numbers together using regrouping.  However, I challenged myself to have my students develop their own ideas and strategies for this kind of problem and I was amazed by what kind of strategies my students were drawn to and how these strategies worked for them!  

Since we had spent the previous class periods focused on adding coin amounts several of my students simply broke the money amounts down into coins and then skip counted to find the answers.  Others broke the money amounts into tens and ones (dimes and pennies) and added that way.  A large group of students added using column addition, but some added all three amounts while others simply added two numbers together and then added the third addend to the sum of the first two. 

By giving my students the freedom to determine their strategy and not forcing "my strategy" on them, my students were able to develop a strong conceptual understanding and further, were able to enter into this problem at a level that was appropriate for them (i.e: my highest achieving students conceptually understood why they should add up the three addends using column addition while other students needed to break the amounts down into coins to visualize the problem). 

This lesson was the first in a two day sequence on adding money amounts and by the end of the sequence, many students were using "my strategy", however, they took their own road to realize that adding the money amounts using column addition was an efficient way to get an accurate answer.  

  What's the "right" strategy?
  Developing a Conceptual Understanding: What's the "right" strategy?
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Let's Go Shopping: Adding Money Amounts (Less than $1.00)

Unit 10: Money
Lesson 4 of 11

Objective: SWBAT add money amounts (under $1.00).

Big Idea: Students use their knowledge of addition and coins to add up to three money amounts together.

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10 teachers like this lesson
Math, Money, Number Sense and Operations, Place Value, adding money, strategy
  50 minutes
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