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Counting On Coins

A Lesson Plan:

 Exploratory Activities (Introductory/Focus):

To introduce the concept of coins there are many fun activities that one can use:

  • Throw a bunch of coins (real or plastic) onto the ground and challenge kids to see who can pick up the most coins.
  • Throw the coins again, this time seeing who can pick up coins worth the most.
  • Do coin "rubbings" to study the differences between difference coins.


This Lesson Plan is designed for children in Kindergarten and First grade.

At the end of repeated lessons the children will be able to skip count coins, and arrive at a total worth for a group of coins.

This lesson plan is not intended to be carried out in one class period, but to be implemented over several weeks as the children become more familiar with the material.

Concept Development Activities (Procedures/Activities)

  1. Practice skip counting with the children using the songs and singing them in class, until the children can skip count without the tape.
  2. Practice counting using skip counting so the children understand what skip counting is: You might use beans on a stick, or candies on a plate... just so the kids get the idea of counting groups using skip counting, rather than one by one. (2,4,6,8... instead of 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8

Materials, Resources, Software

To complete this lesson the teacher will need the following resources:

  • a lot of plastic or real coins
  • paper and crayons for "rubbings"
  • a set of large coins (penny =6" diameter)
  • the musical tape, multiplication motivation, which contains skip counting songs for the numbers 2-10.

Guided Practice

  • Put the large coins up on the board or somewhere that all students can view them. As a class, put up a chart that shows which coins equal how many pennies. Use coins instead of numbers if possible.



5 pennies



10 pennies



25 pennies

  1. Discuss the value of the different coins.
  2. Display several different combinations of coins on the board. As a class, count the coins (10, 20, 25, 26, 27...) using the skip counting process.

Note: These Guided Practice Activities should take place daily with different and more complicated groupings each day.

Originality and Creativity

Student Products/Evaluation:

At the beginning of the lesson the student evaluations will be mostly teacher observations of how the child is progressing, and if they can accomplish the following tasks.

  • Skip count.
  • Understand that different coins have different values.
  • Know the different values of the coins.
  • Skip count on a group of coins to achieve a total value.

Independent Practice:

When given a group of coins, students should be able to skip count the coins to arrive at a correct value.

Note: This should be done daily once daily, with differing amounts as the students have mastered the preliminary tasks, and the amounts should increase as their ability increases.


Students may choose to write down the skip counting sequences instead of saying them verbally if this allows them the time they need to think and be accurate.


The class could list all the times that they have seen coins used by their parents, brothers, sisters, etc. Ask the question: Is it important to be able to count coins correctly? Why?

When it seems that most of the students in the class have mastered this activity after extended practice, the teacher may have them demonstrate their skill in front of the other students, or help other students with their counting skills.


Most students will verbally say the skip counting numbers and count aloud, as at this age their fine motor skills does not allow for easy writing.


This could also be used for closure:

As in the beginning activity, throw out a bunch of coins (plastic or real) and have the students again, collect as many as possible. When they have finished, give them items that they can buy, but only if they have the exact change.

As an alternative -- The teacher could "give" them coins during the course of the lesson for correct answers, and at the end of the lesson (weeks later) they could have items for sale -- again, for exact change only. This has the students counting the coins for a purpose.


The touching of the coins, and the use of real/plastic coins versus the coins drawn on workbook pages provides a big help to the kinesthetic learner.

If the skip counting songs are used, the kinesthetic learner may want to invent dances that help them to remember the numbers in order.

Author's note: There are many good "workbooks" out there for teaching coin counting, but I don' t think that they are as real or as fun for the children as using real/plastic coins to learn this hard task.

Any questions or comments on this lesson plan can be directed to


The use of the big coins in the lessons, and the use of the chart of equal values, helps the visual learner to "see" what is happening more clearly.

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