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Thoughts on coins


Senior Member
The post below about cash made me wonder what other people think about the importance of teaching kids to count coins. I LOVE the mathematical value of teaching kids to count coins - counting by 5s, 10s, 25s, it's link to fractions and decimals, etc. However, I have noticed that it is taught less and less. I see why. People use cash less and less. (Yes, I know the value for people who work retail and you should check how much change you get back.)

I'm just wondering if counting coins will ever just go out since we use them less and less, just like cursive. Not sure how I feel about it.


Senior Member
I retired in 2021. Money value (coins and bills) were still part of the curriculum. In my kindergarten class, one of our centres was a store/restaurant that we rotated the theme of regularly. I hope it continues to be part of the curriculum.


Senior Member
I was actually just talking to my teammate about this yesterday! In sped, we have limited time with kids and obviously a ton of repetition as needed. As such, you have to pick the most "high value" skills/tasks to focus on.

Ten years ago, coins and counting money was VERY high on that list for math. I used to focus on it tons. Now? Almost never. Most people just don't use cash any more. Even having been in the generation that grew up using cash, I myself only ever have/use cash these days if someone has given it to me to pay me back for something. And with venmo, those days are few and far between now.

I definitely still focus on counting by 5s and 10s, but not really in the context of money, anymore. The other sped teacher was noting the kids knew how to count in those intervals but didn't know the coin values. I had to admit I hadn't taught that at all with them :o. He was saying he more wanted to teach the "value of a dollar" and that he'd seen kids had no concept of how much things should cost (which, with inflation is wildly different now) and that's why he wanted to bring in the money. Which, I think makes sense.

Another interesting thing is that one of the main formal achievement tests I use for sped identification has several questions involving counting/using coins or change in one of the math sections. Although this is taught in gen ed, these days, NOBODY is getting those questions right. Even in cases where the child tests really high on the math sections (sometimes, in cases like dyslexia, a child is really good at math but really poor in reading, or their disability is not academic in nature and they score really high on all achievement tests), they miss those questions. I think nowadays it's just too abstract for them to retain it. Gone are the days when parents would say, "You can get a pop from the machine if you can count out the right coins" and things like that.


Senior Member
I definitely think it is still an important skill and I don’t ever see us going entirely cashless as a country.

In my state, money is taught in first grade and second grade and then never seen again. It isn’t on any state assessments in elementary school (which start in third) and isn’t seen in middle/high school at all.

Cursive has been a state standard here for as long as I’ve taught third grade (on year 11) and this year it is still included in our new writing standards. The problem is, we teach it and then it’s not used past third. I know of some teachers who don’t allow their kids to use it in 4th/5th because the teacher themselves doesn’t know how to read or write cursive.


Senior Member
Every time I go to a store and encounter a teen who cannot count out change it makes me think of this. I definitely think it still needs to be taught!


Senior Member
I thought about counting change

and telling time on analog clocks.
Both seem to be skills no one uses anymore.
Kids look at their phones for the time and parents no longer use cash.
When we grew up, we could buy things with change.
Now pennies especially are worthless.
Kids do not seem to be saving change in piggy banks much anymore.
It was common when I grew up.
Stores around here, seldom have coins to give back anymore.
By the time these kids grow up, I doubt they'll use either skill.
I still taught them 3 years ago though because they were in the curriculum and the kids were tested on it.


Senior Member
As far as I know

it is still part of the curriculum, and when I was teaching a couple of years ago I taught my second graders about coins and how to count change. However, I had gotten to the point of making it a regular part of my Meet the Teacher night to tell parents that they needed to work on time and money with their kids at home.

The curriculum has not kept pace with modern society. Kids used to come to school having saved their pennies and coins in a piggy bank, and having used coins to make purchases like candy and soda at stores. They saw their parents paying for purchases and talking about saving money. The families had clocks in their homes that had hands, and parents used analog wrist watches. Now when kids are taught time and money they have no background knowledge, which makes the subject so much more difficult to teach. And they see no use for it in their lives.


Senior Member
I am retired now, but I was prepping some Marcy Cook materials for a friend and noticed there was a question asking the value of a series of coins. I guess a cheat sheet of the coins and their values would make it easier for them to solve a multi numbered addition problem.


Senior Member
Until coins are actually taken out of our economy, I think it needs to be taught. Imagine not having any idea what the value of a quarter was in any situation where you give cash (still done quite a lot) or work a job where you are responsible for a till of any sort.

Although it is a skill in itself that some future day will not be used, being about to count by 5, 10, 20, 25 and add to the even dollar is also a skill that is useful in different non monetary situations. Being able to manipulate numbers is the skill- and still useful. I think people who can do those things in their heads are going to be much more valuable than those who have to use a calculator for every little thing!