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Teaching Money
Grade Level(s): 3-5
By: Amanda Post, A to Z Teacher Stuff

Here are two of my old lessons from student teaching... so you may have to overlook my wordiness to find something useful in them. These lessons were modifications of the boring textbook we used.


Lesson One
  • Students will be able to identify coin/money values.
  • Students will be able to write amounts of money.
Lesson Two
  • To count money to a specific dollar amount with at least 80% accuracy.


Lesson One

Students - Have the following materials ready before the lesson:

  • Clean sheet of paper
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
Lesson Two


  • calculator
  • pencil
  • worksheet with partner problems
  • items from ads with prices
  • money models.
Teacher -


Lesson One


  1. Read "Smart" by Shel Silverstein from Where the Sidewalk Ends. Did the character in the poem know money values?
  2. Ask how many of them think they can count money really well, and how many think they could improve with some practice.
  3. State objective: We're going to be working on money this week and today you will learn how to count money.


A. Teach:
  1. When it comes to counting money, bills are probably the easiest things to count. Why? (They have the amount written on them.)
  2. How do we tell coins apart? (size, thickness, pictures) List coin names and values.
  3. Refer to poem--list money that he started with and its value. Read through poem again. Have a volunteer record the result of each trade.
  4. Now, as a class, determine values of the money each time he traded.
  5. How much money did he lose?
B. Model:
  1. Demonstrate how to count money. Always start with the bill or coin of greatest value and work down to the bill or coin with the least value.
C. Guided Practice:
  1. Give the class fake bills and coins to cut out and keep in an envelope throughout the unit. (Bills were copied onto green construction paper, and coins were copied onto yellow construction paper.)
  2. Tell them to count how much change they have and record their answer as #1 on their blank sheet of paper.
  3. Continue with questions. (See Process Questions, next.) Choose volunteers to demonstrate and explain how they got their answers.
Process Questions--
  1. How much change do you have? ($3.28)
  2. How much is 2 dollar bills, 1 quarter, 1 dime, and 2 pennies? ($2.37)
  3. How much is 1 five dollar bill, 1 dollar bill, 3 dimes, and 1 nickel? ($6.31)
  4. How much is 1 ten dollar bill, 1 five dollar bill, 2 dimes, 1 nickel, and 1 penny? ($15.26)
  5. How much is 1 twenty dollar bill, 1 ten dollar bill, 2 five dollar bills, and 1 dime? ($40.10)
  6. How much is 1 twenty dollar bill, 1 dollar bill, 1 one hundred dollar bill, 3 pennies, and 1 quarter? ($121.28)
  7. How much is 1 five dollar bill, 2 ten dollar bills, 1 dollar bill, 4 nickels, 1 dime, and 1 quarter? ($26.55)
  8. You want to buy a candybar for $.45. You have a quarter, a dime, and 3 pennies. Do you have enough? (No, $.38)
  9. You have four coins. They add up to $.46. Which coins do you have?
IV. Closure:
  1. Discuss importance of knowing money values by referring back to poem. (He did not know values of money.)
  2. Preview next lesson: Now that you know how to count money, tomorrow we're going to learn how to use money.
V. Evaluation/Checking for Understanding
  1. Listen for student responses during whole-class questioning.
  2. Have students record answers to class questions on paper. Check responses.
  3. Use every pupil response activities to determine which students understand.

Lesson Two

I. Introduction/Motivation:

A. Review
  1. What did we talk about yesterday? (Money Values)
  2. Yesterday, you were told what bills and coins you had, then you had to figure the amount.
B. Preview
  1. Today, we'll talk about using that money, or spending it. (How many of you like to spend money?)
  2. In the real world when you buy something, the cashier doesn't say, "Okay, that'll be 1 dollar bill, 2 quarters, and a nickel," right? What do they say? ($x.xx) Then you have to figure out what to give them.
  3. Today we're going to learn how to spend our money.

II. Instruction/Practice

A. Teach
  1. Does anyone remember how we count our money? (Start with largest bill or coin, then work your way down.--It's easier to keep track that way.--give example)
  2. Try to use the smallest number of bills and coins. (If you spent $1.00, would you give them 100 pennnies? What would be easier to give them?)
  3. Explain that they'll be working with a partner to buy and sell items from an advertisement.
  4. When they choose an item, they should record the price, then fill in the boxes to tell how many of each bill and of each coin they used.
B. Model
  1. Choose an amount to demonstrate on the board--fill in boxes.
C. Practice
  1. Give each student a worksheet (teacher-made) and 4 items from an advertisement. They will work with a partner count out money for each item and record what they used.

III. Closure

  1. Go over sheet as a group. Talk about problems they encountered, what they did, what they thought of the activity, etc.
IV. Checking For Understanding/Evaluation
  1. Answers during discussions, worksheet.


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