Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Penny, Nickel, Dime

Sandi King
Bay District Schools


What do you know about money? Using coins, students recognize and compare the value of pennies, nickels, and dimes. Counting skills are reviewed as students count pennies, nickels, and dimes.


The student counts orally to 100 or more by 1s, 2s, 5s, and 10s using a hundred chart or concrete materials.

The student knows and compares the values of a penny (1 cent), nickel (5 cents), and dime (10 cents).


- One hundred pennies

- Ten dimes

- Twenty nickels

- Ten resealable baggies

- Overhead transparency of each coin (These can be the purchased version, or made from the graphic in the associated files.)

- Overhead projector

- Hundreds chart

-The Student Web Lesson, Coins for Candy from the Weblinks

- Summative Assessment, All About Money, one copy per student

- Song "Money Song" from the [Is Everybody Happy]CD. Dr. Jean Feldman. Progressive Music. Tampa, FL. 2001.

- Wall chart or transparency of the words to "Money Song"

- Books
James, Thomas. [Peter and the Penny Tree, A First-Start Easy Reader]. Mahwah, NJ. Troll Associates. 1970.

Berenstain, Stan and Jan. [The Berenstain Bears, Trouble with Money]. New York. Random House. 1983.

- Teacher Resource
[Beyond the Book, Activities and Projects from Classrooms Like Yours]. Menlo Park, CA. Addison-Wesley. 1997.


1. Gather one hundred pennies.

2. Gather ten dimes.

3. Gather twenty nickels.

4. Locate ten resealable baggies.

5. Locate or make an overhead transparency of each coin. These can be the purchased version, or made from the graphic in the associated files.

6. Locate an overhead projector.

7. Locate a hundreds chart and accompanying number cards.

8. Preview the Student Web Lesson, Coins for Candy from Weblinks. Because of the audio attached, the download time for each page is long. To reduce this waiting time, download each page prior to the students using the lesson. The pages will be stored on your computer for quick and easy student access as long as your Internet access is maintained. When you close your Internet access or shut down your computer, you will need to download this lesson again. Remember to preload the lesson on each computer that the students will be using. Also remember to download every page of the lesson, even the wrong answers to the questions.

8. Download and duplicate the Summative Assessment, Thatís My Money from the unit's associated files. You need one copy per student.

9. Locate and preview the book [Peter and the Penny Tree, A First-Start Easy Reader]. (See Materials.)

10. Locate and preview the book [The Berenstain Bears, Trouble with Money]. (See Materials.)

11. Locate and preview activities for extending this lesson from the teacher resource [Beyond the Book, activities and Projects from Classrooms Like Yours]. (See Materials.)

12. Locate and preview the song, "Money Song" from [Is Everybody Happy]. (See Materials.) Make a wall chart or transparency of the words to the song.


Note: This is the eighth and final lesson plan of the Beacon Learning Center Unit Plan, Mr. President. Students have previously been taught the attributes of a penny, nickel, dime, and quarter. The purpose of this lesson plan is to identify and compare the value of the coins. A link to the unit is available in the Extensions section of this lesson plan.

1. Gain the students' attention by singing the song, "Money Song." Encourage students to join in the song. Have the words from the song posted on a wall chart or transparency. Remind students of the various coins and the presidents on the coins. (See Materials.)

2. Read the story, [Peter ans the Penny Tree]. Discuss the fact that the only coin in the story was a penny, but students know about other coins, too.

3. In large group, use transparencies of the various coins (penny, nickel, dime, quarter) to review the attributes of each coin. Engage the students in a discussion of the color, person on the coin, item on the back of the coin, whether it is smooth or grooved on the edge. Review the size comparison. As students participate in the discussion of the coins, give formative feedback. Remember to affirm correct information shared with feedback, such as, "Right! You remembered that a dime has grooves on the edges." Corrective feedback should guide students towards the correct information, such as, "No, a dime is silver colored, but it is not the coin that is smooth on the edges. Which coin is silver colored and has smooth edges?"

* Now that all four coins have been examined, ask if anyone has noticed that the faces are not all turned the same direction. When it is discovered that Lincoln's face is turned right, but all others are left.

4. Now that students have been reminded of the various coins and their physical attributes, engage the students in a review of the value of each coin. Ask questions, such as, ď Since bubble gum only costs one cent, which coin could I use to buy the gum if I didnít get any change back?Ē Have the students tell you and identify the penny. Students should be as engaged in this activity as your class allows. For instance, in response to your question, select a person to put the penny on the overhead for the class to see. Group responses are appropriate to some questions, such as after passing out coins, ask students to stand if the coin in their hands is fewer cents than a quarter. Repeat this same type procedure many times for each coin. Remember to give affirmative and corrective feedback for each student response.

5. In small group center time or large group circle time, engage the students in a game of following directions. Students should be sitting in a circle on the carpet. After each student is seated, put several of each coins in a pile in the middle of the circle. Give student oral directions to follow concerning the identification and value of the various coins. For instance, ask that a specific student give the penny to another student. When the second person receives the penny, ask if it really is a penny and how do you know. Now, that person trades the penny for a coin that is worth more than the penny and gives it to a designated person. The receiving person is asked to identify the new coin and relate whether it is actually worth more than the penny. This person then is asked to trade the coin for a nickel and give it to a different designated person. Follow this procedure until all students have had an opportunity to both select a coin and verify that it is the correct coin as requested. Be sure to give directions for identifying specific coins and for comparing the values.

6. During math time, use the coins as manipulatives for counting by ones, fives, and tens. First, remind students that a penny is worth one cent so we count by ones. Use one-to-one correspondence to count one hundred pennies. Students will forget which pennies they have counted and the one-to-one correspondence will become confusing if this activity is not closely teacher directed. Pass out resealable baggies containing ten pennies each. The teacher should lead the counting as select students move pennies from their baggie towards a common container.

7. Continue counting during math time using nickels as the manipulatives and counting by fives. To assist students in understanding the value of a nickel, put five pennies in a resealable baggie. Count the five pennies and establish that this baggie contains five cents. Now, remind students that a nickel is also worth five cents, so counting one nickel is the same as counting one baggie of five pennies. When counting nickels, we can simply count by fives because each nickel is worth five cents. Practice counting by fives using one-to-one correspondence with twenty nickels by passing out the nickels to the students. As each student places his or her nickel in the common container, the group counts orally by fives. Give affirmative feedback, such as, "Great! You remembered that 15 comes after 10." Also give corrective feedback, such as, "Remember that a nickel is five cents so when we are counting, we count by fives. What comes after 20?"

8. Continue the same process as described above for counting by tens using dimes. Remember the importance of using formative assessments as a teaching strategy with both affirmative and corrective feedback given.

9. To help connect counting and coin recognition to their everyday lives, during read aloud time, read [The Berenstain Bears, Trouble with Money]. (See Materails.) As you read, discuss why the various members of the Bear family need the money. Have students relate how they use money, what kind of coins they use, and where they got their coins.

9. During math center or listening center, students use the on-line Student Web Lesson, Coins for Candy from Weblinks. This lesson teaches students to recognize pennies, nickels, and dimes, as well as know and compare their values. The lesson has an audio option and is an excellent vehicle to integrate math and reading. Student Web Lessons are best used by pairs of students as students learn by discussing the various skills introduced in the lesson with their peers.


1. During all activities, formative assessment and feedback is of great importance. Corrective feedback not only corrects mistakes, but also encourages students to keep trying while you guide them toward the correct answer. Affirmative feedback not only praises the student, but also restates the answer reinforcing the skill and assisting in transfer to the studentís long-term memory. (See step #1 in Procedures for an example of affirmative and corrective feedback.)

2. The summative assessment of orally counting to one hundred by ones, fives, and tens can begin anytime you feel a student is ready to count. This is an individual assessment. Some students will be ready immediately, while others will need further instruction or practice. A tool for the summative assessment is available from the associated files that are part of the unit plan. (See Extensions)

3. The summative assessment of identifying and comparing the value of a penny, nickel, and dime is available from the associated files that are part of the Unit Plan, Mr. President. (See Extensions)


1. The Beacon Unit Plan associated with this lesson can be viewed by clicking on the link located at the top of this page or by using the following URL: Once you select the unitís link, scroll to the bottom of the unit plan page to find the section, ďAssociated Files.Ē This section contains links to the Unit Plan Overview, Diagnostic and Summative Assessments, and other associated files (if any).

2. Counting the actual value of the coins is an extension of the targeted standard. If your students are confused with counting one-to-one correspondence and counting value, this part of the lesson is not mandatory to meet the standard. It is included to assist students in transferring their knowledge to counting by fives and tens to a real-world setting.

3. Include counting quarters by 25s.

4. Mix the coins and count. Remember to always count dimes first, then nickels, then pennies when mixing the coins.

3. Using [Math Their Way] strategies during calendar time will enhance counting skills.

Web Links

Using this Student Web Lesson, students identify, know the value of, and compare the values of a penny, nickel, and dime.
Coins for Candy

Attached Files

Color graphics of various coins to be used when making transparencies†††††File Extension: pdf

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