Counting coins and introducing money can be tricky math skills for our students. Finding creative ways to introduce money in the classroom and learning about the basic foundations that go along with this topic is so important. Students need to be exposed to a variety of money & financial literacy activities in order to comprehend this complex skill. Below you will find some strategies that can help students in your own classroom become successful money gurus!
This is only Part 1 of my money in the classroom series. You can also check out:
This post contains affiliate links. You can see my disclosure here.
When starting out, I would give yourself about 2 weeks to implement this money unit with your students. When introducing money in the classroom, a big thing to remember, is that you need to get students involved. Try creating some type of anchor chart together as a class such as the one below. The anchor chart should show the money amounts or value of each coin and you should discuss what the heads and tails of each coin look like. I used this coin bulletin board set to make the chart.
Make sure to add plenty of visuals around the classroom such as these mini anchor charts for students to reference as often as needed. Having plenty of exposure to each type of coin and what they look like is key to faster learning!
Utilize Videos & Books To Keep Students Engaged
Using videos is a great way to engage all of your learners right off the bat! One of my favorite ones is this YouTube video from Jack Hartmann. It has a catchy tune and the kids always seem to enjoy it. You can play it each day at the beginning of your math block or when you have a few extra minutes and your brains need a break. It is a fun way to get the whole class out of their seats while learning!
I also love using books to help introduce key math concepts and build vocabulary in a way that students can connect with and enjoy. Plus, a few laughs here and there always makes my teacher heart happy.
In my YouTube video, My Favorite Books About Money, I share with you eight of my favorite books you can read during your math block. They cover concepts that help kids relate money to real life situations, from going out to dinner, to starting a business. These tales will help your students gain perspective on how money is used in the real world.
Use Hands-On Activities for Coin Recognition
Rather than just completing worksheets, allow students to really get involved by using things such as task cards, flip-books, crafts, and more! Using something like this coin book really helps when introducing money in the classroom and what each coin looks like. Each page gives a kid-friendly definition of what can be found on each coin to help with coin identification. The best part of all is that comprehension can be checked at the end to show what students have learned.
I’m sure you’ve seen this money poem before. It’s always a big hit when it comes to learning about coins. It’s always a good idea to add this mini version to your math journals to reference throughout the rest of the year. It’s super catchy and always seems to stick with the kids.
Sort & Graph Coins for Coin Recognition
Once students master coin recognition, you can then move on to finding the value of coins. But, before you do that, spend a day focusing on sorting and recognizing each type of coin. One idea is to give each student a cup with a random assortment of real or plastic coins in each one. For example, Quarters, Dimes, Nickels and Pennies can each be used.
Then use these sorting mats pictured below to sort and keep track of their money from their cup. After they sort all of the coins, they can then graph how many of each coin they have. It is a perfect activity for practicing coin recognition!
Want to try this with your students? You can grab this exact graphing coin activity by simply filling out the form below!
You can also have students review coin recognition with this math journal flip-up activity! In this fun twist on interactive math activities, students will practice recognizing heads and tails of each coin and then write the value of each on the flap!
Begin Finding the Value of Each Coin
After you feel comfortable that your students can easily recognize coins, began to slowly introduce finding the value of a set of coins. I like to use the “Hairy Money Method” for this. Each coin gets a set of hairs to represent its value. Each hair is worth 5 cents so a quarter gets 5 hairs, a dime gets 2 hairs, a nickel gets 1 hair and the poor penny is bald so it just gets a dot. You can click here to download the poster below!
You can learn more about this simple method for teaching students how to count money In my Hairy Money YouTube video!
I’m a huge proponent of spending one day a week focusing on one coin at a time. Use an interactive notebook activity such as the one below to find the value of each set of coins and write it under the flap. You can also label your coins with hairs to help students count them.
I hope this blog post gave you some ideas on how to introduce money in the classroom with your students! You can also check out Part 2 of this series which is all about reinforcing money in the classroom and Part 3 where I share some books that you can use in your classroom to introduce and reinforce money over the course of the year.
Feel free to pin this image to save for later and add to your wish list!