Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Counting Money

Denise Simonson
Bay District Schools


Students read, write, and identify different coin combinations and use this information in real-world situations.


The student names whole numbers combining 3-digit numeration (hundreds, tens, ones) and the use of number periods, such as ones, thousands, and millions and associates verbal names, written word names, and standard numerals with whole numbers, commonly used fractions, decimals, and percents.

The student understands concrete and symbolic representations of whole numbers, fractions, decimals, and percents in real-world situations.

The student adds, subtracts, and multiplies whole numbers, decimals, and fractions, including mixed numbers, and divides whole numbers to solve real-world problems, using appropriate methods of computing, such as mental mathematics, paper and pencil, and calculator.


-Chart paper
-Play money
-Copies of Money Sheet (see Associated File)
-Copies of play money
-Math Journals
-Computers to access online student lesson, -Grandpa's Game,- available from the Beacon Learning Center

Viorst, Judith ALEXANDER, WHO USED TO BE RICH LAST SUNDAY. (Published by Atheneum, 1978, ISBN: 0689306024)

Silverstein, Shel. -Smart-. WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS (Published by Harpercollins Juvenile Books, 1974, ISBN: 0060256672)


1.Secure a copy of the book, ALEXANDER, WHO USED TO BE RICH LAST SUNDAY and the poem -Smart- by Shel Silverstein.
2. Gather play money.
3. Copy the Money Sheet.
4. Gather copies of play money, scissors, and glue.
5. Check the Internet stations to verify connectivity to the online student lesson -Grandpa's Game-.
6. Prepare a four-column chart with the headings, -Quarters,- -Dimes,- -Nickels,- and -Pennies-.


1. Review names of coins and their value. Also, be sure to show the students a Kennedy Half Dollar and an Eisenhower Silver Dollar. Both of these coins are used in the student online lesson that will be used later in this lesson.


3. Give students the following play coins: seven dimes, four nickels, and ten pennies. Count the coins together and establish that the amount is $1.00.

4. Re-read the book and instruct the students to listen carefully to the story and remove the corresponding coins as Alexander spends or loses them. At the end of the story, determine how much money Alexander has left (none).

5. Remind students that Alexander spent his whole dollar by spending or losing several coins at a time. Students should understand that there are many ways to use different combinations of coins to make one dollar.

6. Combine students into groups of two. Give each group several copies of the Money Sheet, copies of play money, scissors, and glue.

7. Students work together to find coin combinations that each total one dollar. In order to keep the coin combinations reasonable, limit the number of pennies that can be used in any combination to five.

8. The students cut apart the copies of the play money, come up with their coin combinations and then record their combinations by gluing the coins on the Money Sheet.

9. While the other children are working on finding their coin combinations, rotate five students at a time to the computers to complete the student online lesson -Grandpa's Game.- These students work through the lesson -Grandpa's Game- recording the coin combinations and the total of each combination in their Math Journals. Remind the students that the total of the coin combinations in this lesson may be more or less than $1.00.

10. After allowing time for the children to explore various combinations, discuss and compile their findings on a class chart as shown in the following sample:

Quarters Dimes Nickels Pennies
2 2 5 5
3 2 1 0

This activity helps to reinforce the idea that there are many coin combinations that total $1.00.

To end this lesson bring everyone back to their seats and read the poem -Smart- by Shel Silverstein. Not only will this bring closure to your lesson but will serve as a reorganizer after a busy lesson of counting money.


1. The -Money Sheet- should reflect students' understandings of translating problem situations into diagrams and models in the context of money. Observe students' work during this time and be prepared to clarify misunderstandings as they arise. Provide additional mini-lessons as needed.

2. The Math Journal should reflect the students' understandings of reading, writing, and identifying decimal notation in the context of money as they record the six entries of coin combinations and the total of each combination in the online student lesson -Grandpa's Game.-

Web Links

Web supplement for Counting Money
Grandpa's Game

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