Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Let's Go Shopping

Gina Dolan
Citrus County Schools


Counting money and paying for purchases is usually left to adults. Give your students this real-world, adult responsibility in your classroom and watch them become proficient consumers who can count, figure change, and find the value of saving.


The student counts coins using `mixed` counting (using coin values of 50, 25, 10, 5, and 1).


-A plentiful supply of plastic (real-looking) model coins
-Ziploc bags, sandwich-size
-Black permanent marker
-A supply of items for student purchase (pencils, markers, erasers, grippers, folders, stickers)
-Long table or counter
-Baskets or the top of copy paper boxes (4 or 5)
-An independent practice worksheet or other independent seatwork from your math series that practices counting money


1. Gather items for your store. See the following suggestions.
*lunch with the principal $10.00
*free homework assignment $3.00
*extra recess $5.00
*books purchased with bonus points from the book clubs
*parent donations

*check the clearance racks in the toy departments of local stores
*purchase packages of items that cost $1.00 or less, but can be broken apart (bouncy balls, pens, stickers, erasers, sidewalk chalk)

2. Price items for your store. Donít be afraid to mark up the prices of the items. Some students may have earned as much as $5.00. It is fair to double the price the item originally cost in the store.
3. Pass out money to students as they earn it. Start at the beginning of the month.
4. Locate and copy a practice worksheet for each student from your math series. Use a worksheet that supports the standard for mixed counting with various coin values.


Please note: This lesson practices and applies the use of money. It is assumed students have had experience with identifying coins and skip counting.

1. Tell your class that you are opening a new store. You will be the cashier and the only adult allowed inside the store. This is a store just for kids. Discuss the following ideas/concepts with your students.
*The use of money in the real world (pay bills, buy food, entertainment, etc.).
*Where we acquire money (jobs, gifts).
*Definition of a consumer as someone who buys things (usually with money that he/she earns).
*Identification of each coin and its value.
*A name for your classroom store.

2. Explain to students that you will begin paying them for doing the job of being a student. You will pay them for good behavior, participation, good attitudes, and good grades. Set up standards for payment with your class. See the following as an example.
*Pay students $.25 for As received on tests (chapter, unit, spelling, Accelerated Reader).
*Pay students $.10 for Bs received on tests (same as above).
*Pay students $.05 for Cs received on test (same as above).
*Notice well-behaved students and pay them a penny or nickel.
*Notice students who walk in the hallways appropriately and pay them a penny or nickel.
*Notice students who listen and actively participate in lessons.
*Pay students for performing classroom jobs in a responsible manner.

3. Tell your students that at the end of the month the store will be open (choose a day that is convenient for you). They will have the opportunity to go shopping. Display some of the items that will be available in the store. You may want to ask for student input on what they would like to have in the store (within reason) to encourage students to earn their pay.

4.Give students a ziploc bag with their name on the outside. Tell them it is to save their money in. Encourage them to store the bag inside their desk and push it all the way to the back for safety. Lost money is the student's responsibility.

5. Pay your students immediately when you catch them with good behavior, participation, or grades. Tell students that money should stay on top of their desks until the lesson is over and then they may put it away. If you pay a student while you are outside the classroom the student can store the money in their pocket or the teacher can hold it for him/her until you are back in the classroom.

6. Provide time for students to count their money throughout the month. This gives them practice in sorting coins and skip (mix) counting before they visit the store and are assessed. Allow them to receive support from their peers, volunteers, teacher assistants or you at this time.

7. Set up your classroom store. Use a long table for displaying items. Price each item or group of items together in a basket with a sign on the basket to indicate the price. Put a sign on the back of the basket also so that you can easily see the price of items in each basket. (Suggestion: Use the tops of several copy paper boxes. They are large enough to display several items that cost the same amount.)

8. Pass out the independent practice worksheet from your math series that practices counting money. Students work at their seats independently while small groups are shopping. Make sure students know that you are unavailable because you are the cashier. They need to be responsible workers and can be rewarded with additional pay.

9. Allow 3-4 students in the store at a time. They may choose items and bring them to the cashier (teacher) to pay for them.

10. Require students to count out the price of the item they wish to purchase.

11. Use this one-on-one time to observe each studentís ability in counting money. Provide reteaching of skip counting to individual students as needed.


Note: This activity practices and applies the use of money after students have been taught skip counting and the identification of coins.

Students demonstrate the ability to count coins with values of 50, 25, 10, 5, 1.
The teacher observes each studentís ability to count money in a one-on-one situation.

CRITERIA: The following rubric can be used to assess the student's ability to count money.

*Chooses item to purchase within his/her price range
*Counts the correct amount of money out for purchase without help using skip (mixed) counting
*States the amount of change he/she should receive

*Chooses item to purchase within a 10-cent margin of his/her price range
*Counts purchase price out by chunking money with little help
*Knows he/she should receive change

*Chooses item without realistic concept of cost of item compared to the money he/she has to spend
*Counts money with difficulty, needs help to sort and count by amount
*Does not use skip (mixed) counting or chunking money into larger amounts when counting
*Does not know whether he/she should receive change


1. Allow students to design their own piggy banks (small containers such as small pringles can, general foods coffee can, or a butter dish provide a removable top in which a slot could be cut).
2. Use the concept of paying students for good behavior, grades, participation, etc. throughout the school year. Have a monthly store. This accentuates the positives for students and provides incentives as well as teaches students about earning and spending money.
3. Discuss the benefits of saving money (for a rainy day, to buy something of greater value). Provide a couple of expensive items, like lunch with the principal or a stuffed animal, so that students save their money for several months to earn enough to pay for these items.
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