Coin Mixer

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SWBAT count mixed groups of dimes, nickels and pennies.

Big Idea

Mix it up! Students play a game where they practice counting dimes, nickels and pennies.

Objective & Hook

8 minutes

CCSS Context:

In 2nd grade, students are expected to be able to solve word problems using money. This lesson is a mid way to point to that big goal of students solving word problems using dimes, nickels and pennies. This lesson works well as an extension in first grade, or as part of a 2nd grade unit on money.

Review past learning:

We will review our past learning on money by watching a quick brainpop video on counting coins. This website does require a login, but it is full of great videos for different standards across the curriculum. And kids LOVE Annie and Moby!

Connect to the real world:

"We have been learning about counting groups of coins. When you go to the grocery store or the bank, and they give you money back, they give you a big group of coins, not just one type! Today we are going to learn how to mix and count dimes, nickels and pennies."


Your thinking job today is: How can I count mixed groups of coins?

Opening Discussion

10 minutes

During the Opening Discussion, I'll have students use whiteboards to represent the problem we are working on. This gives me a chance to immediately address any misconceptions. 

Present Problem: Mya had 3 dimes and 3 nickels. How much money does she have? 

  • Show the money Mya has on her whiteboard using Ds and Ns. 
  • How will you count the dimes? Why will you count them by 10s?
  • How will you count the nickels? Why will you count them by 5s?

As a scaffold for students as they learn to count mixed groups of coins, I have students draw a line between the groups of coins as a reminder to switch how they count. This is just a visual reminder that the coin type is changing.

Show on your whiteboard how to count Mya's dimes. 

Show on your whiteboard how to count Mya's nickels. Will you keep counting by 10s? Why not? 

  • I'll monitor how students are counting the nickels. Switching the count is the trickiest part of learning how to count money!! 

Partner talk: Show your partner how you counted Mya's coins. Do you agree or disagree with the way your partner did it?



Student Share

20 minutes

Present New Task: Shawn has 2 dimes, 2 nickels and 1 penny. How much money does he have?

  • Draw Shawn's money on your board.
  • How will we count the dimes? Nickels? Pennies?
  • Show how to count the coins. 

Students solved this problem on whiteboards. Watch this Whiteboard Video to see the potential strategies you might see.

Strategies I saw in my class were, from lowest to highest sophistication: (Click link for student example work)

  1. Using Lines as a Scaffold: Students divide groups of coins with a line, switch skip count on the line.
  2. Using Count On: Students start anywhere, but have a mental number line and can add the correct amount mentally.
  3. Using Tens: Students use their understanding of base 10 to solve.
  4. Exchange Strategy: Students apply coin value understanding to exchange coins and reduce the total number of coins they have to count. These students often exchanged with the quarter.

Partner Share: I'll have students partner check each other's work. The sentence stem I'll provide is: I think you are correct because ____ OR You made a mistake here. I know because _____. This gets students used to having academic discussions, as well as being aligned to MP3, Constructing viable arguments and critiquing the reasoning of others. 


Independent Practice

15 minutes

Students play Coin Mixer Game. The recording sheet is attached: Coin Mixer Game

Game Rules:

1. Students pull 6 pretend coins.

2. Students draw and record the coins they got. 

3. Students show how they counted the coins.

I'll have a bin of mixed dimes, nickels and pennies at each table for students to use. For students who are in need of more intervention, we will do the attached Coin Intervention, where students practice counting mixed groups of coins first in a small group. 

Group C (extension): These students will include quarters in their coin bag. See attached Exemplar Group C Work for an example of the Coin Mixer game in Group C.


10 minutes

Students complete Exit Ticket and we will partner check their answers so they get immediate feedback.

After students check their work, they will sort their exit tickets into got it and need more work piles. This encourages student ownership over their own learning and helps them know exactly where they stand going into the next day.