Math Background

Lesson: Count and Compare Money Amounts
Introducing the Concept

Before counting and comparing any money amounts, you should review coin names and coin values with the children. Reviewing these ideas will help refresh their memories of the value of each coin and will help prepare them to start counting groups of coins and finding total amounts for these groups. You can review skip counting with the same types of coins to remind children how to skip count with money. As children develop their money-counting skills, they will be able to make change, and eventually they will add and subtract various money amounts.

Materials: play coins—a set of at least 10 pennies, 5 dimes, 5 nickels, and 4 quarters for each child or group (Learning Tool 36 in the Learning Tools Folder)

Preparation: Put the coin sets in bags for each child or pair.

Prerequisite Skills and Concepts: Children should know the names and values of each coin, and how to skip count by 5s, 10s, and 25s.

Give each child (or pair of children) a bag of coins.
Have the children spill the coins onto their desks and sort them into groups of the same coins.

  • Ask: How many pennies do you have?
    (10—or as many as you put in each bag)
  • Ask: How many nickels do you have?
    (5—or as many as you put in each bag)

    Repeat for dimes and quarters.

  • Ask: What is the value of a penny?
    (one cent)
    What is the value of all your pennies?
    (10 cents)

    Repeat for nickels, dimes, and quarters.

  • Say: Take out a nickel and 2 pennies.
  • Ask: How can we find the total value of these coins?
    Elicit answers that lead to counting on from the nickel.
    If children's answers don't lead to that, take children through the counting process as follows.
  • Say: We can count the value of these coins by starting with the nickel. You said earlier that the nickel was worth 5 cents. So we start with 5 cents. We then use counting on to include the value of the pennies—five cents, six cents, seven cents. A nickel and two pennies equals seven cents.
  • Say: Let's try that again, this time with a nickel and 4 pennies.
  • Ask: How much do you have now? Remember to start with the nickel, which is worth five cents. Children should reply nine cents.
    One nickel and four pennies

    Repeat several times, using nickels and pennies only.

  • Say: Now let's try using different coins. Take out two dimes and two pennies.
  • Ask: How much is a dime worth?
    (ten cents)
  • Ask: How can we find out how much two dimes are worth?
    (skip count by tens)
  • Ask: So how much do we have if we have two dimes?
    (twenty cents)
  • Say: Let's count on to see how much two dimes and two pennies equal.
    (twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two—two dimes and two pennies equal twenty-two cents.)
    Two dimes and two pennies

    Repeat with different penny-and-dime combinations.

  • Say: Take out 2 quarters and four pennies.
  • Ask: How much is two quarters worth?
    Fifty cents; count twenty-five, fifty.
  • Ask: How can we find how much we have with the quarters and the four pennies?
    Count on from fifty.
  • Ask: Who can count on from fifty to count on our pennies?
    Choose a child, and help that child count fifty-one, fifty-two, fifty-three, fifty-four. Two quarters and four pennies

    Repeat for various groups of quarters and pennies, not to exceed one dollar.

  • Ask: When we count money, do we start with a coin of the highest or lowest value?
  • Ask: What would you do if you had more than two types of coins to count?
    Lead children to suggest that they would sort the coins into groups, order them from highest to lowest value, and then count on to get the amount.
  • Say: Today we learned how to count on with coins, and we found that we count the coins of the highest value first.

Houghton Mifflin Math Grade 2