Although many of us are now using credit cards and apps to pay for items, there's something to be said for understanding the counting of coins through identification of money. While the idea is to identify coins and use them in real-life, there's so much more that happens when students work with money.
By working with coins, students are strengthening their mental math skills through skip counting. They use various values to add and subtract mentally. By exchanging coins, students begin to understand our base ten system. Students also begin their understanding of decimals by first playing with dollars and cents. It can be tempting to zip right through this chapter in the text. Hands-on learning through these concepts can aid our students in so many more areas!
My students have been playing with coins over the past two weeks! They spent time exploring the coins before we even named them. I asked them first to describe each coin by how they were different and then gave them the official name of the coin. My students then spent time counting them and skip counting using a hundred chart. Now we are in the process of making our own store to purchase items and practice making change!
If you are heading into a money unit, I would encourage you to do as many hands-on activities as possible. Use play money or even real money! When working with your own children, practice using cash and challenge your students to help you when purchasing things. In the car the other day, I asked my oldest to determine the 7 coins in my hand with a value of 65 cents. Even my youngest children started guessing and made the wait in the drive through go much faster!
If you need a little support, check out this free resource to help students identify coins. You can download it for free below!
To make it more challenging, consider my Shopping Trip Task which challenges students in Grades 1-5 to work with operations and money. Imagine planning a huge meal and determining the cost! Available in the SHOP!