Ways to Make: Coin Values

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SWBAT identify multiple ways to make a given amount using mixed coin denominations.

Big Idea

Close out this money unit strong by having students practice finding multiple ways to create one amount. Up the rigor even more by adding in a distractor-can students find the piggy bank that has the trickster amount in it?

Objective & Hook

8 minutes

CCSS Context:

This lesson asks students to complete a complex task (a key emphasis in the Common Core)-A cup of coffee costs 36 cents. What are all the ways I could pay for the coffee? This question taps into students' number sense, as well as having them apply coin values and coin counting. This lesson is aligned to MP2-Reason abstractly and quantitatively. Students are asked to flexibly switch out coins for coins that equal the same amount, which shows that they understand the meaning of that quantity. Strong mathematicians can quickly exchange 1 quarter for 2 dimes and a nickel because they understand that 10+10+5 is contained within a group of 25. This also touches on 1.OA.C6, because throughout the lesson students are composing and decomposing numbers. 

Hook & Review:

We will watch a Brainpop video on coin equivalency (login required). This video reviews coin identification and values, as well as exposing students to the idea that groups of coins can have equal values. This will prime students for the learning we do today!

Connect to the Real World:

When we have to pay for something, we have to use the coins we have to make the right amount. Today we are going to think about different ways to make the same amount.


Your thinking job is: What are different ways to make one amount of money?

Opening Discussion

15 minutes

Present Problem: I need 36 cents to buy a coffee. I went to the bank to take out the money from my account. The banker had to look at all the coins they had and make 36 cents. What are 3 ways the banker could make 36 cents?

  • Partner talk: Share with your partner what one way you could make 36 cents. This is pushing students to do so mentally, all students will get to use manipulatives later; for now, we just need a starting point!

I'll present one way a student showed 36 cents, and have the child explain how he/she knew that it was 36 cents.

I know we could use these coins to make 36 cents, but the banker didn’t give me these coins. She gave me different coins to make 36 cents. What is another way she could have made 36 cents? We are going to see if we can find another way.

  • Student Work Time: I'll give students their legal pads to record ways to make 36 cents. I often use whiteboards as an engagement and formative assessment strategy, but there are times when I prefer skinny markers and note pads. I prefer them for a few reasons:
    1. You get the same great look into how students are thinking and all students are able to work on problems at the same time.
    2. They are neater-whiteboards can be hard to organizer. Skinny markers and lined paper help students keep up with their materials.
    3. They are cheap cheap!

Watch this Student Notepad Video to see how students were showing ways to make 36 cents and how to structure this time! Also check out Student Work Example #1 and Student Work Example #2 to see different ways students generated to make this amount.

Student Share

15 minutes

Anchor Chart: During the Student Share, I am going to chart how students created the coin value. However, I am going to chart intentionally to show students that we can replace coins with equivalent groups. For example, I'll chart 3 dimes, 1 nickel and 1 penny right below 3 dimes and 6 pennies. This way of charting will help students see the differences between the two groups. It will also help them notice which coins they can exchange. 

After each student shares that way of making 36 cents, my questioning will focus on the differences between two ways of making 36 cents. 

  • How is this way different from the first way we made 36 cents? How is it the same? 
  • What coin did we change from this group? What did we replace that coin/set of coins with?

After I chart 2-3 ways of making 36 cents, we will quickly go back through and practice counting each way, insuring that they all do show 36 cents and giving us some whole group coin counting practice.

If time, I'll have students go show 1-2 more ways of making 36 cents, either using the thinking that we shared whole group or showing a new and different way.

Independent Practice

15 minutes

Students practice identifying multiple ways of making the same amount of money. Each question asks students to find ALL of the correct ways. 

Group A: Intervention

Find the interventino work here: Intervention Mixed Coins.pdf

This group does a small group practice of just counting coins before tackling the Group B work.

Group B: Right on Track

See Group B Example Work!

Find the Group B Work Here: Mixed Coins_Group B

Students are presented with a price of a toy. Then they find all of the money sets they could use to buy the toy. They also have to eliminate the coin set that does not show that amount of money.

Group C: Extension

Find the Group C Work here: Ways to Make Extension

See Group C Example Work and Group C Example #2

Students choose what toy costs the given amount of money. Then they show 3 ways to create that amount. They write about how 2 of the ways they created it are different. 


10 minutes

Play a cool version of the Coin Critters game!

Teacher presents task: Make a coin critter that is 27 cents. 

Students take out the play coins necessary to make 27 cents, then add antennae, legs, etc. to make it into a coin critter! 

Students can partner share about the different ways they made that coin value.