Additional Math Pages & Resources

Monday, July 13, 2015

Counting Coins to Make a Dollar

Counting coins to make a dollar is easier when your students are familiar with base ten and/or 100 charts. You can print base ten cards and 100 charts for your students on our website:

In Excel Math lessons, students learn the value of coins and dollars and begin to add and subtract money amounts.

Here are some teaching ideas to help students learn to use the dollar and cent symbols for money amounts.

Give each student play money: a one dollar bill, quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies. If you don't have play money on hand, cut out the money from the Coins box below (click on the image to download the file).

Coins from Excel Math Manipulatives
Write 1¢ on the board. Ask the students to find the coin that represents 1¢. (a penny)
Do this for each coin the students have.

Next write some money addition problems on the board where the totals are under $1.00 such as shown below. (Answers are given in parentheses.)

Solve the first two problems as a class, talking about the value of each coin:

2 pennies plus 4 nickels = (22¢)

3 dimes plus 1 quarter = (55¢)

5 nickels plus 2 pennies plus 1 quarter = (52¢)

2 quarters plus 1 nickel = (55¢)

3 quarters plus 3 pennies = (78¢)

2 quarters plus two dimes plus 1 nickel plus 3 pennies = (78¢)

Then let your students find various coin combinations that will make the following amounts (possible answers are given in parentheses):

37¢ (1 quarter, 1 dime plus 2 pennies or 1 quarter, 2 nickels plus 2 pennies)

77¢ (3 quarters and 2 pennies or 2 quarters, 2 dimes, 1 nickel plus 2 pennies)

Talk about the various possibilities of coin combinations to make these amounts. Up to this point students have been writing money with the cent symbol since the amounts have been less than one dollar.

Now have each student find a dime in their collection of coins. Ask the students how much a dime is worth. Write 10¢ on the board. Ask the class what other coins could be used to show 10¢. (2 nickels, 10 pennies, and 1 nickel plus 5 pennies are all equal to one dime.)

Add a dime and have the students write the new amount in cents on the board. Continue to add a dime until you get to one dollar.

Remind the class that one dollar can be written with a $. Ask the students how many dimes equal one dollar. (10)

Then ask the students how dimes compare to dollars. (Dimes are smaller, dimes are parts of dollars.)

Ask what part of a dollar a dime is since it takes ten dimes to make a dollar. (one tenth)

Point out that the cent symbol is not used with the dollar symbol. You can write $1 or 100¢ but you would not write $100¢.

Leave a comment in the box below (click on the word "comment") to share some ways you teach your students to calculate money amounts.

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