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Help with Teaching Money

E Jean

New Member
I will be teaching money for the first time to my wonderful first graders this week. Does anyone have any suggestions on the best way to teach this important concept to them? Do you start with teaching one coin a week or do you introduce 2/3 coins at at once? Also, are there any good websites related to teaching money? I have searched and have wasted a lot of time trying to find the "good stuff." Help?! Any advice would be greatly appreciated!


Junior Member
money help

Have you heard of touchpoint math? I use something sort of like this...I don't use the program but if kids can count by 5's it makes counting money a lot easier: touch nickel once-5; touch dime twice- 5, 10; touch quarter 5 times-5, 10, 15, 20, 25. All of the coins can be touched and counted by 5's, except for the pennies which will be counted by ones. I agree that it is a difficult math concept to teach...hope this can help!


Full Member
Dots on coins

I am in the process of teaching money now. I use a similar method as the previous poster. I teach the students to place dots on the coins and count by 5's. For example, I initially introduce the coins one at time and have them look at the front and back carefully. After studying and learning the value of each coin, I have them to place a dot on each coin. For instance a penny does not have a dot because it is counted by ones, the nickel has 1 dot (counted by 5 and worth 5 cents), dime 2 dots, quarter 5 dots (25 cents) and half dollar 10 dots. They use a red crayon to draw the dots onto an activity sheet (worksheet) that has money. I monitor them closely to make sure they are counting and placing the correct number of dots on the right coins. This method helps the children because they can continually count by 5 until they get to pennies. After a lot of practice they memorize the dots. This really has worked well for me every time I have taught money.


Teaching money

We are also learning about money. I take this slowly because it is so difficult. The first week, I teach a coin poem I found on-line. I am unsure of the author.

Penny, penny
Easily spent
Copper brown
And worth one cent.

Nickel, nickel
Thick and fat
You're worth five cents
I know that.

Dime, dime
Little and thin
I remember
You're worth ten.

Quarter, quarter
Big and bold
You're worth twenty-five
I'm told.

I introduce one coin a day and allow the students to complete a pencil/crayon rubbing of the front and back of the coin. We spend a lot of time with each coin. After the rubbings, I modeled cointing the coins on the overhead. After I modeled using only pennies, the students practiced joining groups of pennies. I follow the same procedure for the first 3 days (penny, nickel, dime). Then I spend two days joining these three coings. On day 4, I model joining nickels and pennies. For the nickel, we place 5 hairs representing 5 cents. Then we draw 1 hair on the penny, for 1 cent. If the students get stuck, they use the hairs to count-on. On day 5, we review the poem, we practice counting just pennies, then nickels and pennies. Then, I introduce dimes and pennies. Students do well counting by tens, so we just draw 1 hair to count on the pennies. Lastly, if students are ready, I model dimes (by tens), nickels with 5 hairs, and pennies with 1 hair. I also use a "stop line" to separate unlike coins. The students draw a vertical line to remind them to stop counting by 10s and count by 5s, then stop counting by 5s and count by 1s. I hope this helps.


san diego city schools has amazing resources

click or copy this:

San Diego City Schools uses Harcourt Math, but the curriculum specialists augmented the living daylights out of it, using alternate teaching strategies, manipulatives, etc.

Download their ideas for the money unit--10 different independent learning stations.

Their stuff is great!


Full Member
The dots or touchmath for the coins is great in some cases but be careful, I have seens kids come up the grade levels that forget to count by fives on the dots...they get it stuck in thier heads somehow that each dot is one instead of five


Senior Member
coin counting

I use the hundreds board to help us count a collection of coins. The first coin is placed on the corresponding number such as putting a quarter on the 25 and then each dime, nickel and penny is counted on. With 1 quarter, 1 dime, 2 nickels and 3 pennies the quarter would go on the 25. Then the dime would be 10 numbers later (35) the first nickel would go 5 numbers later (40) the next nickel would go on the 45 and the three pennies would go on 46, 47, and 48. Very quickly students will see the patterns and not need to count out spaces. Good luck


Senior Member
money poem

I love the poem thing. My children tend to remember things better when they have a little poem or song, so I definitely feel like that could help them. I already taught them money, but I need to review before we take the state test. It was a little disastorous because some don't understand to switch from counting by 10's to 5's and 1's, etc.

Sharon D.W-L

Calendar Math Money

Since January we have done Calendar Math Money for the date. For each day of the week I have these cut outs of pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters. I have a pocket calendar so I fill each pocket for a week or two with these cut outs of just pennies. Mine have little bits of magnetic tape on the back. When the helper puts up the number for the calendar he/she pulls out the coin and tells us what it is - a penny and what it is worth - one cent. I have a baking sheet that I pre-drilled holes into and tacked into the wall and the money is placed on this to count. The goal is to use the least amount of coins on this board to make the date in money - pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters.

For example on the morning of Friday Feb. 17 we had one dime, one nickel and one penny from Feb. 16. Then we added the penny for Feb. 17 and counted the money to have 17 cents. We talk about if we can trade anything in for something else. Sometimes we can and sometimes we can't. As time permits I let them try it and see if it works. Many students still have trouble with this and it takes a long time I find with money. I have a chart with all the coins and the value of each above the board at calendar which we review although not everyday anymore. When I have time I hold up one of the four coins and ask what is the name and what is the value. I make sure they name it first and then can tell us what the coin is worth.

Another activity which we started late is called number of the cycle. We just started it and it will take us a while to get going but I think my kiddos really need this and I should have started in earlier - I'll know for next year. I do this on my white board and then copy it on to a plain piece of white paper. We take the number cards I have in my Math bucket. I have 0 to 100. I took 1 to 25 first and we randomly pick one number. Then we draw and record the following:
- the digit (9)
- the word (nine)
- draw base ten: units/ten sticks
- draw how many beads on a string this would be. (I have a string of red and black beads in sets of 10 to 100 to show this first and then we draw it and colour it to match my beads of red and black)
- show the number in coin money 2 ways: one student said nine pennies so that is what we drew and a second student said one nickel and 4 pennies so this is what we drew.
- the number in tallies (they are still having a lot of trouble with this...)
- then we check to see if it is Odd or Even: I have unifix cubes for the number and then I have two volunteers come up and I share the cubes. If they have the same amount then it is a Fair Share and the number is even. However if one person has more then another then it is not a Fair Share and the number is odd.

The students are given a blank piece of paper holes punched to the left and then they copy this "Project" themselves. I score it out of 8 points and give them the rest of the math period to do it. It takes about 30-40 minutes of the Math period to get this done which is why I only do it once a cycle. :) A few students take even longer... :( I'll keep the first few for our portfolios and then I'll start sending these home and keep only every other one or so for our portfolio binders. For absent students I print the digit and number at the top of the blank page and place it in their Not Yet Finished Folder so they can try and get it copied when they come back. That is why I also make a copy and stick it on my board with a magnet. Those absent have a few days to get it copied and haded in. You could do it as a Math Journal and do it together as a class. I prefer single sheets and attendnace is a concern in my area and booklets are often too difficult to keep track of for me.


PS: You could also do do these which I plan to add later on when we get faster -
- give 2 addition facts, - give 2 subtraction facts,
- create a word problem for the number and solve it with a picture, an equation and a word sentence.

E Jean

New Member
Thank you so much for all the great ideas. I checked out the website suggested and have started thinking about how I can implement all of the great ideas. Each of your suggestions sound fabulous! Thanks a bunch!!