Bring in a huge jar of pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. Have the students work at one large table or break them up in groups with four participants in each group. Each student in a group will be in charge of one of the types of coins.
The goal is to have the students come up with different groupings of these coins to add up to 25¢. There are lots of different ways to do it. For example, they could have 2 dimes and 5 pennies. They could have 25 pennies. They could have 2 nickels, 1 dime, and 5 pennies. They could have just one quarter.
If students haven’t played much with coins, you’ll see that sometimes they don’t understand why
a dime has more
value than a nickel. It should be bigger, right? It’s good to have a brief discussion about the fact that the size of a coin isn't always an indicator of its value.
They should organize their finished combinations on a worksheet designed for this purpose or a flat tabletop. Once they have worked with the coins for awhile have them explain some of their finished combinations.
When they've mastered the combinations for 25¢, you can easily extend this activity by having students find combinations that yield 75¢ or $1.25.
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