page gives you lessons, ideas, resources, and more to help you
plan a unit on money.
& Activities | Songs & Poems |
Centers | Online Games |
Resources | Books
1 - Introducing Coins
lesson incorporates not only math, but also social
studies and art. To begin, have each student
bring in a penny, a nickel, a dime, a quarter, and if
possible, a half dollar. Teach each coin individually,
preferably one a day if time permits, using the
Read the Coin Poem
to introduce students to the concept of coins.
Then read the stanza of the coin you will be
working on that day.
Have students take out the coin and look at the
"head" and the "tail". Ask
them what they see on each side.
Then explain that what each item represents.
Explain that the head always contains the face of
a famous president and the tail represents
something about that president or our
country. Check out this website to see what
each individual coin represents--- Learning
About Money. To see some more facts,
download this worksheet on coins.
Then find which student has the oldest coin/newest
Using thin paper and pencil, make rubbings of the
Practice counting by that coin (1's. 10's, 5's).
With the quarter, I review amounts of 1, 2, 3, and
2 - Counting Coins =
students will repeatedly practice counting by 1's,
5's, 10's. Then, using paper coins, teach
students how to count using coins (and counting
patterns). Using transparency coins and an
overhead projector, model counting from highest value
coin to lowest value coin. One problem students
may have is remembering the value of some coins.
Repeat the Coin Poem with them to transition
into your math lesson. Also, keep some trade
books on money for the students to read through to
reinforce visual recognition. Another trick to help
students count coins is to write the value of the
coins right above it and write the amount as they
3 - Introducing & Counting Bills =
Lesson 1 to teach bills, but in a shorter amount of
time. Students have a harder time learning coins than
they do dollar bills.
4 - How to Use a Checkbook =
lesson helps reinforce writing number words as well as
teaching them how to write checks and balance a check
book. Before you start this lesson, have students
create their own checkbooks and deposit slips. For
copies, go to Checkbook.
I make my own transparency copies by buying
transparency paper for copiers. Therefore, I can model
what the students need to do in their own
checkbooks. I also use transparencies for other
activities across all subjects.
Show students a real checkbook and its contents.
Explain that adults use checks to pay for things
instead of money.
students bags with money inside. Explain that they
are going to deposit their money into the
bank. Show them how to write out a deposit
slip and write the amount in their book.
out a bill (telephone, electric, etc.). Look at
the amount (use small amounts lower than $100 for
younger children), and show students how to fill
out the check.
students practice "depositing" money and
writing checks. Show them how to balance their
activity reinforces hands-on practice for counting
coins. Cut out grocery items from circulars and
glue 1-4 items on construction paper to make cards.
Laminate. Write prices for the grocery
items. Make some cards easy, average, and
difficult. Make enough for a class set.
Working in pairs, students use fake coins to count out
the right amount of coins for each grocery item.
When they are done with all grocery items, have them
to Earn Money Through Homework =
learn to earn money by completing their
homework. Students will be assigned four
homework assignments a day. Each assignment is
worth 25 cents. If they do extra work (or over
time), they receive an additional 10 cents. They
collect their money when they hand in their homework
(either through the teacher or a "banker").
Everyone keeps track of their earnings through their
savings book. Students are given time to keep the
balance of their savings book. Then at the end
of the week, students can use their money to purchase
items from the class store.
students bring in items for a snack. Create a
menu in which they must purchase food, snacks, drinks,
and utensils. Using their money from their
earnings (see activity above), students order what
they can afford. This activity is usually done on a
Friday and with the help of an adult. A sample menu
will be provided soon.
(Shel Silverstein) =
a copy of "Smart"
by Shel Silverstein. Read the poem aloud to the class.
Ask questions about the poem. Then give students a
copy of the worksheet. As each stanza is read, have
students figure out how much money the boy gets in
return. Have students answer the questions that follow
each student a calendar page. For each day, have
students represent the date with coins. For example,
on the 15th, they will use a dime and a nickel.
Make sure to emphasize to use the smallest amount of
Adventures As A....... =
will write a story about their adventures as a
coin. They must imagine what it would be like to
be a penny, quarter, nickel, etc. Once they
written a good copy, staple their paper to
construction paper. Cut out round circles (either
brown or gray) to create their coin. Remind them to
look at all the details of the head and the detail as
they illustrate their circle. Attach the finished coin
to their story.
must keep the following in mind as they write their
How do you travel?
do you go?
things do you see?
does your story end?
Copper brown and
worth one cent.
Thick and fat,
You're worth five cents.
I know that.
Little and thin,
You're worth ten.
Big and bold,
You're worth twenty-five
I am told!
(to the tune of "Ten Little Indians")
little, 20 little, 30 little pennies.
40 little, 50 little, 60 little pennies.
70 little, 80 little, 90 little pennies.
100 pennies make a dollar!
small, 4 small, 6 small nickels.
8 small, 10 small, 12 small nickels.
14 small, 16 small, 18 small nickels.
20 nickels make a dollar!
tiny, 2 tiny, 3 tiny dimes.
4 tiny, 5 tiny, 6 tiny dimes.
7 tiny, 8 tiny, 9 tiny dimes.
10 dimes make a dollar!
big, 2 big, 3 big quarters.
4 big, 4 big, 4 big quarters.
1 big, 2 big, 3 big quarters.
4 quarters make a dollar!
by Shel Silverstein
from "Where the Sidewalk Ends"
(Click to download poem and worksheet)
Create flashcards by using coin stamps and blank
flashcards (which can be made with white/tan oaktag or
bought at a teacher store). Stamp different
combinations of coins on the flashcards. Place the
flashcards in a plastic bag or large manila envelope.
Have students choose a flashcard and calculate the
amount of coins. This activity can be turned into a
game or be used individually for extra practice.
Flashcards II =
is a variation on the first center. You will need two
sets of flashcards. One set will be programmed with
coins (made by using the stamps). The second set will
contain pictures of toys, food, clothing, etc. with
price tags. Students will match the picture flashcards
and coin flashcards.
a toy catalog in a basket along with fake money,
stamps, index cards, and an
for a copy).
Students pick an index card that has a written money
amount---this tells them how much they are allowed to
spend. They take the amount on the index card from the
"bank" and go shopping. Students look
through the catalog and write down items they would
like on the order form. They must then add up the
total on their order form (not exceeding their
allotment). Then they go to either the teacher, aide,
or student cashier to pay for their purchases. The
cashier and the student calculate the amount of change
that will be returned.