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Counting Money - The Basics



I’ve recently started tutoring my neighbor’s daughter, Sophia. She needs math to be broken down into very digestible bites. We’ve been working on money for a few days now. 

Here are some very basic things that I’ve done to help her count money.


1.   Sort the same coins into piles.

Sorting and naming the coins is the first basic step. If you can use real coins, do it! 
This might be too easy for some, but for those having trouble recognizing coins or those who haven't been exposed to coins, this is a great place to start.

Counting Money with Students - Coins and Bills


2.   Sort coins in a line from greatest value to smallest value.

The next thing to do is to learn the value of each coin, and to start sorting them from biggest value (quarter) to lowest value (pennie).

The most frequent challenge here is understanding that even though the nickel has a larger size than a dime, it is the dime that has a bigger value. 

Counting Money with Students - Coins and Bills


3.   Count coins of the same value.

For this activity, I gave Sophia several pennies, then nickels, then dimes, and last quarters. She practiced counting each set of same value coins. We moved back and forth from different sets. 




Counting Money with Students - Coins and Bills


4.   Count coins of different values.

I broke this lesson down very carefully not to overwhelm Sophia. 
We started out by mixing 2 coins, one of them being pennies. 
Next, mixing three coins, and so on.

Counting Money with Students - Coins and Bills

It’s important to teach kids to order the coins from greatest to smallest value, and to count the money in that order. 

After we did that with real coins, Sophia practiced doing it on paper

Counting Money with Students - Coins and Bills
Sophia crossed out each coin in order as she wrote their initials in the circles provided.

Although Sophia was able to count by ones, fives, tens, and twenty-fives in isolation, this skill did not transfer when we started mixing various coins. To make it more manageable, I taught her to draw little hairs on the coins.

Each line represents "five". So a nickel get 1 line, a dime gets 2, and a quarter gets 5. Once all the coins have their lines, all she needs to do is go down the line counting by fives, remembering to count by ones when there are pennies in the set.

Counting Money with Students - Coins and Bills


Once she became comfortable with the process, I asked her to simply write down the value of the first coins without counting.

The goal is to move away from the lines altogether, but for now, this is how she can manage.

Counting Money with Students - Coins and Bills



5.   Count bills and coins.

After Sophia was confident in her coin counting ability, I added $1.00 bills to the pile. 


Counting Money with Students - Coins and Bills


6.   Solve word problems involving money.

A helpful approach is to draw the money in the problem. By having the visual cues students can manipulate the information more easily. 


Counting Money with Students - Coins and Bills Word Problems

Counting Money with Students - Coins and Bills Word Problems

Counting Money with Students - Coins and Bills Word Problems

I hope these steps come in handy if you ever need to use them. 
Feel free to email me at frogsfairiesandlessonplans@gmail.com with any questions. I’m always glad to hear from you!