For the Love of Money

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SWBAT create a given amount using separate coin denominations.

Big Idea

Push students to new heights in their number sense while also teaching coins! Students think about all of the possible ways we could make a given number with coins in this complex task.

Objective & Hook

10 minutes

CCSS Context:

This lesson is aligned to 2MDC8. Students are beginning to understand how to count coins, which make this a great early lesson in 2nd grade or as an extension in 1st grade. This lesson is built around a complex task. The CCSS emphasizes presenting students with complex tasks; complex tasks don't have just one right answer, but rather ask students to think about multiple answers and solve different steps to find an answer that could be correct. 

Hook & Review:

Review the coin names and values with this online game

I'll project the game onto the promethean board and students sort coins based on coin values. It also has a review intro that reviews the names, values, and distinguishing features of each coin.

Connect to the real world:

When you go to the store and hand an amount of money to the cashier, you sometimes have to make the amount out of pennies, sometimes out of nickels and sometimes out of dimes. Today we are going to think about how we can create 1 amount of money in 3 different ways.


Your thinking job is: How can I show one amount of money in different ways?

Opening Discussion

15 minutes

Present task: I need 10 cents to buy a cold drink at the corner store. Show and explain how you could make 10 cents using different sets of coins.

  • Partner talk: What is one way you could make 10 cents using your coins?

I want you to show how you could make 10 cents in each of these piggy banks. If you finish showing these three ways, see if you could mix types of coins and still make 10 cents (this is previewing when we mix coins in the next few days!)

I am not going to give students very much guidance on this activity! This is aligned to the CCSS emphasis on independence in problem solving. We will come back together and do a strategy share after students get 5-10 minutes to work. As I circulate, I’ll specifically look for a common mistake: 10 of each coin. We will analyze this mistake whole group. Analyzing mistakes is a great way to push students to MP3, Critique the reasoning of others.

Students record how they made the amount on their Piggy Banks. I will have pretend coins available at each table for students to use.

Student Share

15 minutes

I'll choose 3 students to share-one for each coin set. We will record the ways we made 10 cents on chart paper. 

Penny Share:

Focus Question: Why did this person count by ones? Why did we need 10 pennies?

Nickel Share:

Focus Questions:

  • Why did we count by 5s? 
  • What number sentence could we write to show that we have 10 cents? 
  • Why don't we need 10 nickels?

Dime Share:

Focus Questions:

  • Why do we only need 1 dime? 

All of the focus questions ask students to apply their understanding of group counting and why we group count. This allows me to integrate understanding of number sense and counting into measurement standard lessons. 

Because so many students had already tried mixing coins, I added in this question: Here is my challenge. Can you show how to make 10 cents with more than 1 kind of coin? 

See the attached Ways to Make 10 Cents chart!

Independent Practice

15 minutes

Group A: Intervention

These students practice coin identification by sorting the coins into correct groups and practicing counting the coins. 

Group B: Right on Track

These students show 2 ways to make 20 cents and then 30 cents. Students write to explain their thinking.

Group C: Extension

These students get numbers that force them to mix at least 2 kinds of coins. They have to apply their understanding of coin values and counting sequences to make amounts. See attached Group C Work Example  to see how one student make 25 cents, and what he wrote. The writing for this work is pretty rudimentary, as I had not modeled any writing about counting coins, but, for a first go, it does explain how he counted. 

Ways to Make Piggy Bank  documents attached!


5 minutes

I'll have students share the Group C work to help us start thinking about mixing coins for tomorrow's lesson.

See the attached Closing Chart to see the ways students shared. I intentionally started with the most simple (2 dimes and 5 pennies), then moved up to a child who thought to just get a quarter, even though we didn't talk about the quarter in any of the prior discussions!


20 minutes

Students will do a midpoint money assessment. This quiz includes coin identification, coin values and coin counting. It also includes missing part equation and 10 more/10 less problems. I keep equations on all of my quizzes so I naturally spiral that through the year. I also have a 1 minute fluency assessment that spirals 1.OA.C6 (add and subtract fluently within 10).