The student will identify various ways to represent the same
dollar amount using coins.
The student will pay for items using coins of various
denominations and in multiple combinations to arrive at the
same total amount.
The student will propose purchase options given an allotted
amount of money (budget) to make those purchases.
Connection to Bloom’s Taxonomy
Coins for each team: at least 12 quarters, 10 dimes, 10
nickles, and 10 pennies ( can be real or play money )
- Crayons or Colored Pencils
- Index Cards
- Item Cards from Geddes Kit List
- Worksheets for lesson plan 5 (see sidebar)
Start this lesson by asking how many students receive a weekly
allowance. Next, ask how they are usually paid – in one dollar
bills, coins, or a combination of both. Students are most likely
paid with whatever their parents might have handy. Explain that
it does not matter how they receive their allowance, as long as
the total is the same. The same is true when purchasing an item
from a school store.
Have students consider the following:
Does it matter if you receive a $3.00 allowance as three $1.00
bills, or as a $1.00 bill and eight quarters?
Would a storekeeper mind if you paid for a $5.00 book with
five $1.00 bills rather than a single $5.00 bill?
Explain that when making purchases as a customer or giving back
change to a customer, we often have to work with the money that
is available. Your lunch money may consist of coins and/or paper
bills in certain denominations. The cash register in the
cafeteria or school store may have a limited number of coins and
paper money available for making change. Fortunately, our
government currency provides numerous ways of coming up with the
same total amount of money. This would be a good time to discuss
with students the
and review the
that will be used in this lesson.
Ask students to think about situations where coins are used in
different combinations in order to pay for an item or service.
Have students brainstorm a list of responses.
Some possibilities may include:
- To purchase beverages in a vending machine
- To pay for parking using a meter
- To leave a tip for a restaurant server
- To buy a pencil from the school store
To make small purchases at a store for gum, candy or soda
- To buy a newspaper out of a box
- To pay for your school lunch
- To make a phone call at a pay phone
- To ride public transportation (bus or subway)
- To buy a stamp out of a machine
Exploring and Learning
Explain to students that the United States monetary system
offers various denominations or face values for coins and
bills. For example, U.S. coins come in the following
denominations: cent, nickel, dime, quarter, half-dollar, and
dollar. Currently, U.S. paper currency is produced in the
following denominations: $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100
Ask students to complete the following: How many different
ways can you represent the value of $1.00 using coins only?
There will be many variations to achieve the same answer.
Brainstorm and record student responses on the board. The idea
is to get students thinking about the fact that there are many
ways of making change. The following is a sample of possible
- 4 quarters
- 3 quarters, 2 dimes, and 1 nickel
- 2 quarters and 5 dimes
- 2 quarters, 4 dimes, and 2 nickels
- 2 quarters, 3 dimes, and 4 nickels
- 1 quarter, 7 dimes, 1 nickel
- 1 quarter, 7 dimes, 5 pennies
Provide students with practice paying for school store items
using coins of various denominations and in multiple
combinations to arrive at the same amount. To complete the
activity, pair students together and provide each group with
Item cards - To create the 20 item cards, use index cards
Geddes Kit List (PDF). Each item card will have a school store item and its
corresponding retail price. For example, one card will
state “Retro Pencil $.20 each”. Repeat this for all 20
items on the Geddes Kit List
Paying with Coins Guided Practice (PDF)
Guide students on the board or with an overhead transparency
through the following example: The most expensive item on the
Geddes Kit List (PDF)
is the 6-Color Pen with a retail price of 75 cents. Assume the
number six is rolled on the die.
What is the total cost of six 6-Color Pens?
( $4.50 = 6 x $0.75 The total cost of six 6-Color Pens
is $4.50 )
Next, using coins only, what are two ways a school store
customer could pay for the six pens?
- 18 quarters. 18 x $0.25 = $4.50
10 quarters + 20 dimes. ( 10 x $0.25 ) + ( 20 x $0.10 ) =
Paying with Coins Guided Practice PDF
as a transparency guide students through another example using
the following instructions:
Draw an item card (note: remove the 6-Color Pen item card
since this was used as the in-class example).
- Roll the die.
Calculate the total purchase price by multiplying the item
card’s retail price by the quantity rolled on the die.
Provide two options for school customers to pay for their
purchases using coins only.
Record results and answers on the
Paying with Coins Guided Practice PDF
Review several options as a class. Refer to
Paying with Coins Answer Key (PDF)
Present students with the following scenario:
RG and Hannie are working at the Raymond Geddes Elementary
School Store. The kindergarten class is scheduled to visit
the store today. RG and Hannie will need to help the
younger students make purchases.
Can you help RG and Hannie determine what the kindergarten
customers can buy based on how much money they bring to
Remember, the kindergarten customers have a limited amount
of money and must stay within their individual budgets.
To help complete the scenario pair students together and
provide each group with a copy of the
Kindergarten Customers Worksheet (PDF), bag of coins, and a copy of the
Geddes Kit List (PDF). Explain and list on the board or as a transparency the
Randomly pull five coins from a bag of coins and list them
on your worksheet.
- Find the sum of the five coins.
What can the kindergarten customers purchase from the
school store with their six coins? Select items from the
Geddes Kit List (PDF).
Encourage students to spend as much as possible using the
Ask students to offer two purchase options to the
kindergarten customers and list them on the
Kindergarten Customers Worksheet (PDF).
As a class, review some of the results. Use the
Kindergarten Customers Answer Key (PDF)
for sample answers. How well did students advise the
kindergarten customers and stay within budget? Discuss how
useful it is to come up with various combinations when using
coins to make a purchase or to make change. There are endless
combinations to making change work for the same value amount
Extended Learning and Practice
As a community service project, begin a coin collecting fund
raiser effort with your class by starting your own school
store. Operating a school store is an excellent opportunity
for inquiry-based, hands-on learning that is both fun and
school store will
allow opportunity for raising money, provides a service to
students, and creates an atmosphere of responsibility while
building valuable team working skills. Identify an
organization that would benefit from the class fundraiser.
Some possible organizations include the following:
United States Department of the Treasury Learning Vault. The teacher link offers a variety of activities, resources,
Ask students to use the Internet to identify the term for the
study of money
( answer: Numismatics ). Have
children visit the
United States Mint H.I.P. Pocket Change website. The Camp Coin link has information about collecting coins
as a hobby.
Provide each student with an index card and have them answer the
following questions on one side of the card:
What are two new things that you have learned?
What else would you like to learn about this topic?
On the back side of the index card, instruct the students to
draw a picture of something they learned about during this
lesson. The index cards can be hole punched and held together
with a simple shower curtain ring.