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Looking Back and Moving Forward

Number and OperationsAlgebra
Grace M. Burton
Location: unknown

This final lesson of the unit reviews the work of the previous lessons. Children discuss and model prices and the words on the word wall and play games to facilitate continuing practice. They add to their portfolio and listen to another children’s book. Questions for summative evaluation are suggested.

During this lesson, groups of 3-5 children will rotate among the four stations listed below. If you need more stations, you may choose to have a fifth station with a collection of the books used in this unit available for re-reading.

571 coins

To begin the lesson read children a book of your choice about money.

pdficonBooks About Money 

While students remain in their seats, ask them to name the coins studied during this unit. Prompt them if they forget any of them. Then have them give facts about each coin as you hold it up. Then call their attention to the word wall and discuss some of the words on it.
Now assign them to stations by giving each child a number representing the first station they will go to.

Station 1

Have students work on different modes within the interactive, Coin Box. 

appicon Coin Box 

Station 2

Have children take turns with one child writing a price and the other children showing that amount in 2 or more ways. When they have had several turns, ask them to record for their journals three things they learned during this unit.

Station 3

Allow children in pairs to play the games at the U. S. Mint Web site and encourage them to play them during choice times. At the Games portion of the site, children can enjoy the online concentration game (Coin Memory) and the jigsaw puzzle (Golden Dollar).

Station 4

Provide two jars of coins, one with pennies and one with mixed pennies and dimes. Ask the children to estimate the amounts and write them on a piece of paper, then count to determine how close they were.

  • Computer and Internet connection
  • Book of your choice about money
  • Bags of coins File cards on which prices to 99 cents are written
  • Jar of pennies
  • Jar of pennies mixed with dimes
  • Class Notes recording sheets

Assessment Option

At this stage of the unit, it is important to know that students can:

The guiding questions help students focus on their current level of understanding and of fact mastery. The information you have documented about student understanding and skills throughout the unit can help you focus on individual needs and strengths and can help you provide appropriate remediation and enrichment opportunities. It will also be helpful in completing individual educational plans for students.

Questions for Students 

  1. How many pennies equal a quarter? A dime? A nickel?
  2. How many nickels equal a quarter? A dime? 
  3. What ways can you model 25 cents? 30?
  4. Which coins could we use to model 10 cents?
  5. Which coins are silver? Which have smooth edges?
  6. Which words on our word wall were new to you? Can you tell what that word means now?
  7. Which side of the penny is the “heads”? Of the dime?
  8. How would you tell a younger child how to count on with pennies and dimes from 32 cents to 50 cents?
  9. Suppose you want to buy a snack from a machine which costs 60 cents. What coins can you put in the machine if it doesn’t take pennies?
  10. What coins can you use to make a 35-cent phone call? The phone does not take pennies.

Teacher Reflection 

  1. Which students met all the objectives of this unit? What extension activities are appropriate for those students?
  2. Which students are still having difficulty with the objectives of this unit? What additional instructional experiences do they need?
  3. Are students able to recognize the coins by sight? How can you provide more practice on this objective?
  4. What would you do differently the next time you teach this unit?

You may wish to review the completed Class Notes recording sheets completed throughout this unit. These can guide the summative comments you make for individual students.

Looking Back: 

  1. What activities were the majority of the students most comfortable with?
  2. Which students met all the objectives of this unit? What extension activities are appropriate for those students?
  3. Which students did not meet the objectives of this unit? What additional instructional experiences do they need?
  4. Did all students display an ability to count on to find change?
  5. Can students explain how to find change?
  6. What were the greatest challenges for the students?
  7. Which portions of this Unit Plan were the students most motivated to complete? Why?

This set of questions may help you determine the focus of your next instructional activities. Documenting the level of each student’s understanding makes accurate information available for planning the appropriate subsequent instructional activities.

Moving Forward: 

  1. How can I help students continue to focus on the important ideas in this set of lessons?
  2. What other situations would extend their experiences with subtraction?
  3. How might I connect the key ideas of this unit with lessons about similar mathematics content?
  4. What learning experiences would help students not yet comfortable with these concepts?

Exploring Pennies and Dimes

In this lesson children examine pennies and dimes and model subtraction as they listen to a children’s book. They model amounts to 60 cents with coins. They use coin rubbings of pennies and dimes and make a chart comparing the two coins. At the conclusion of the lesson, they begin a word wall and make an entry in their portfolios. 

How Many Ways?

Children extend their investigation of the previous day to include nickels. They estimate the value of collections of pennies, nickels and dimes then determine the exact amount by exchanging sets of pennies or nickels for dimes.

Trading For Quarters

In this lesson, children listen to a poem about money, and then examine a quarter. They find sets of coins equivalent to a quarter using pennies, nickels and dimes. They also estimate and count coin collections and count by fives and tens using actual and online calculators and pose and answer coin puzzles.

Modeling Prizes

Children use pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters to model amounts to 70 cents. Next they answer money puzzles and estimate the number of pennies in a jar. They also add to the word wall.

Making Change


To begin this lesson, children model prices mentioned in a children’s book. Then they make change from a given amount by counting on from the price.

Note: Counting on to make change is a very challenging activity. In initial instruction, it is best to restrict the coins used in making change to pennies and dimes.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • Model amount to 99 cents using pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters.
  • Find sets of coins which equal a given amount.
  • Compare prices to amounts and count on from prices to find change.
  • Compare sets of coins to determine if the value of the sets is equivalent.

NCTM Standards and Expectations

  • Connect number words and numerals to the quantities they represent, using various physical models and representations.
  • Count with understanding and recognize "how many" in sets of objects.
  • Develop a sense of whole numbers and represent and use them in flexible ways, including relating, composing, and decomposing numbers.
  • Develop understanding of the relative position and magnitude of whole numbers and of ordinal and cardinal numbers and their connections.
  • Use multiple models to develop initial understandings of place value and the base-ten number system
  • Sort, classify, and order objects by size, number, and other properties.
  • Illustrate general principles and properties of operations, such as commutativity, using specific numbers.
  • Use concrete, pictorial, and verbal representations to develop an understanding of invented and conventional symbolic notations.

Common Core State Standards – Practice

  • CCSS.Math.Practice.MP1
    Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
  • CCSS.Math.Practice.MP4
    Model with mathematics.