Saturday, April 12, 2014

Counting Coins with Second Graders

My second grade group has been working on counting coins and the symbolic notation of money recently.   Here is the Common Core standard for money in grade 2

Solve word problems involving dollar bills, quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies, using $ and ¢ symbols appropriately. Example: If you have 2 dimes and 3 pennies, how many cents do you have?

Here are some of the activities my students are doing to practice these skills.

Money Bags Board Game

This is a game I purchased several years ago and my students love it!  I show 4-5 kids who are leaders in the classroom how to play it and they in turn teach it to other kids.  I have 4 of these games because each year, I decided I need another one!  This gives me almost enough for everyone to play at the same time which I love.  When I just owned 2 of these, I used them as part of math stations which I still do in addition to the times where most kids in the room are playing.

Here is how the game works.  Students roll the dice which often puts them on a spot where they get money.  They spin the spinner to see which coins they are NOT allowed to use to show that amount.  
This student landed on 12 cents and when she spun the spinner, landed on no nickles.  She had to make 12 cents using anything but nickles.  This is a great time to talk about different ways to make 12 cents and which is most efficient.  
This student had to take his money using no dimes
The other part of this game I love is the bank exchange spaces.  When a student lands on bank exchange, they get to trade in their coins for equivalent amounts.  It is a great way to give them practice with fair trades and counting mixed coins.

Once one player gets to the finish line, everyone counts up their money and the person with the most wins.  I have my students count their money and write their money amount on a nearby white board.  This gives them practice with the symbolic notation of money.

Here are the final totals for the five kids playing the game.  If students at grade 2 use just cents notation, I make them try it again using the dollar sign and decimal point.  This is a great opportunity for them to get comfortable with this new notation.
Getting to $1 seemed to be a big goal for this group so we finished up by figuring out how far away everyone was from $1.00.  I think second graders knowing combinations of 100 is super important and this gave them one more way to practice! 

Number Puzzles

I recently finished making a bunch of number puzzles for first and second grade and one of them is all about coins.  We have been using this during math center time and it has been a great way for kids to practice.

Students put out all the cards with numbers written on them.  They then take the cards with coins on them, count the coins and find the matching number card.  The puzzles are self checking because if kids get it wrong, they won't fit together!
A pair of students works to finish up their coin puzzles

Also included with the number puzzles is follow up formative assessment that I used to asses students' current understanding of counting coins.
Two students show what they know about counting coins
Want to try these with your students?  You can grab these coin puzzles for FREE by heading to this page and clicking on preview.  The preview file is free to download and includes everything you need to make the coin puzzles for your students as well as the follow up formative assessment.

If you love the idea of doing number puzzles with your students, you might want decide to purchase the full set which includes number puzzles for Canadian coins, addition facts, subtraction facts, telling time, recognizing numbers to 1000, matching numerals to base 10 pieces, adding double digit numbers, finding 10 more and 10 less and using arrays.  In all there are 11 number puzzles with follow up assessments and they will be 20% off for the next week!

The full set is over 60 pages for one low price!  Save an additional 20% when you purchase it today!
How do you work on counting money with your students?  Please respond in the comments below!


  1. Great ideas for money! I teach first and we haven't covered money yet (although we should have) but I have a little collection of math activities for money.

    Buzzing With Mrs. McClain

    1. I usually hold off on money in grade 1 until the end of the year. I find kids need a good foundation in other numeracy topics first. If they have this, learning money is much easier!

  2. These look great! I have done a lot of money, but some students need that extra push.

    1. Head over to TPT and grab the preview file! These number puzzles are a great extra push to give kids more practice.

  3. Great post, Tara! The Money Bags Game looks amazing - so many skills in one game!

    1. My students LOVE it. I think because it is such a flashy looking board game they have no idea how much math practice they are getting in when they are playing.