Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Making Cents of Fractions and Decimals

MAdele Carson
Santa Rosa District Schools


Students will learn decimals and fractions using groups of 100 pennies. By classifying the pennies in different ways, there will be an unlimited number of ways to learn fractions, decimals, and place value in money.


The student translates problem situations into diagrams and models using whole numbers, fractions, mixed numbers and decimals to hundredths including money notation.

The student explains and demonstrates the addition and subtraction of decimals (to hundredths) using concrete materials, drawings, story problems, and algorithms.


-100 pennies per group
-Paper and pencils
-Crayons or colored pencils
-Paper towels or place mats for pennies
-Cup in which to shake pennies


1. Assign groups.
2. Gather 100 pennies per group.
3. Pass out all other materials for each group.


1. Review money signs--decimals, cent signs, and dollar signs.

2. Review the use of zero in money-- $7.00, $0.07, and $0.70 have the same digits but with the placement of the decimal point and the zero, they do not mean the same thing.

3. Ask students how pennies could be classified. (Heads/tails; date minted; place minted)

4. Heads/Tails: Have students dump the hundred pennies on the placemat or paper towel. Separate the pennies into heads or tails. Count the number of each. Using a decimal point, write each number as a monetary amount. Have each group add the two amounts--for example $0.57 and $0.43 to get $1.00.

5. Have each group decide how they want to classify the pennies next.

6. Using the pennies as manipulatives, groups will identify each classification and how much money is represented. They will show the correct answers when each adds up to $1.00.


Using word problems, students will write answers in dollars and cents.


The students will make bar graphs of the pennies classified by year, heads/tails, or place of mint.
The students will learn the lowest common denominator with the fractions of pennies. (For example: 70/100 can be used to explain common denominators by showing that both the numerator and denominator are divisible by 10.)

Web Links

Web supplement for Making Cents of Fractions and Decimals
Brain Fun

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