Math Background

Lesson: Money
Developing the Concept

Materials: grocery or drugstore ads with prices less than $1.00, coin sets (Learning Tool 36 in the Learning Tools Folder), plastic bags

Prerequisite Skills and Concepts: Children should be able to identify a penny, nickel, dime, and quarter, and their values.

Preparation: Give each child a bag with varying amounts of play coins. Display the newspaper advertisement. Ask volunteers to help you make a shopping list of several items with prices less than $1.00. Write one of the prices on the board.

  • Ask: How can I tell what coins I need to buy the item?
    Discuss children's responses. Lead children to suggest that it is important to begin counting with the appropriate coin of greatest value.
  • Ask: Suppose you want to buy the (can of soup). How much does it cost? Do you have enough dimes and pennies to buy the soup?
    Discuss children's responses. Encourage them to count by tens and then count on by ones. Then have them use coins to show the amount, skip counting and counting on to count them out.
    Can of tomato soup with 49-cent price tag, four dimes, and nine pennies
  • Ask: Do you have enough money?
  • Ask: How much does the (grapefruit) cost? Take out one quarter. What other coins do you need to buy it?
    Make sure children know the value of the quarter. Then discuss different ways to find out what other coins are needed, such as counting on by tens or ones.

Continue using the list and show coins to match other appropriate prices. Ask questions such as Do you have enough money? How do you know? What coin should you use to begin counting on? If you are counting nickels, do you count by ones, fives, or tens?

Wrap-Up and Assessment Hints
Have children think about three things they learned about today. Discuss their responses, asking questions that will help you assess their progress. Children should demonstrate a knowledge of the value of a group of coins, including quarters, by counting on from the coin of greatest value. They should be able to show equal amounts and work through simple problem-solving problems comfortably.


Houghton Mifflin Math Grade 1