To begin the lesson, read Arthur’s Funny Money or another book
dealing with using coins. Then call on volunteers to name an amount up
to 70 cents and have the children model it, or say that the amount is
too large to model with their coins. Once an amount has been modeled
ask the children if it is possible to model it in another way. You may
wish to record the various ways on a chart or on the chalkboard.
Next ask children what they know about stamps and expand on
their understanding, if necessary. Explain they will have a chance to
purchase stamps just like at a post office. [For this activity use the
cancelled stamps that families have sent in or have children draw
stamps of various denominations). Assign several children to be post
office clerks and give them sets of stamps to display at their station.
Provide the other children with bags of coins and assign each child to
one of the clerks. Then have them pick out a stamp and pay for it using
exact change with their coins. The clerk will check the amount before
giving the child a stamp.
After the children have had a turn at both roles, call them
together and tell them you are going to ask a puzzle that has a coin as
an answer. When they think they have solved the puzzle they are to hold
up the coin which answers it. [Examples: 1) I am worth more than a
nickel and less than a quarter; 2) If you have 2 of me you can trade us
for another coin; 3) I am the largest coin we have studied so far.] If
the children are able, encourage them to pose similar puzzles.
To close this lesson and introduce a new skill, display a clear
jar with pennies in it and a clear bag containing 10 pennies to use as
a benchmark. Have the children write on sticky notes or file cards
their estimate of how many pennies are in the jar and then to arrange
the estimates in order. Then call on volunteers to count the pennies,
trading for dimes when this is possible. Repeat with a different number
of pennies, if possible putting them in the same size and shape of the
first jar. [You may wish to make an estimation activity part of your
daily routine for the next few weeks, changing the amount in the jar
each day.] Ask them to add an entry to their portfolio which describes
the activity and, if appropriate, how they arrived at their estimate.