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Let's Find Out About Money

Main Core Tie

Mathematics Grade 2
Strand: MEASUREMENT AND DATA (2.MD) Standard 2.MD.8

Additional Core Ties

Mathematics Grade 2
Strand: MEASUREMENT AND DATA (2.MD) Standard 2.MD.10


Utah LessonPlans


This activity is designed to teach the attributes of each coin (penny, nickel, dime and quarter), including physical characteristics and value.


Additional Resources


  • Benny's Pennies, by Pat Brisson; ISBN 0-440-41016-9
  • There's a Hole in My Pocket, by Akimi Gibson; ISBN 0-590-27598
  • 15 Fun-To-Sing Math Learning Songs and Activities, by Mitzi Fehl and Bobbie Williams; ISBN 0-439-18724-9
  • The Coin Counting Book, by Rozanne Lanczak Williams; ISBN 0-88106-325-8
  • Money a Rich History, by Jon Anderson; ISBN 0-448-43205-6

Background for Teachers

This activity is designed to teach the attributes of each coin (penny, nickel, dime and quarter), including physical characteristics and value. Knowing the attributes of each coin aids in the identification of the coins by name and value.

The Coin Information page provides detailed informaiton about each coin.

It is recommended that one of the assessments be given as a pretest before teaching. Identify students who need accommodations and extensions. You may choose to read Kathy Barabas' Let's Find Out About Money prior to teaching this lesson, or include it as part of your Invitation to Learn.

Intended Learning Outcomes

5. Understand and use basic concepts and skills.
6. Communicate clearly in oral, artistic, written, and nonverbal form.

Instructional Procedures

Invitation to Learn
Pass out a penny to each child. Give them a few minutes to examine the coin and then record their observations of physical characteristics on chart paper at the front of the room. This chart paper becomes your word bank for the students to refer back to throughout the unit on money.

Instructional Procedures

  1. Teach about the various attributes of the penny. As a check for understanding, have students tell attributes back to you as you add them to the word bank.
  2. Teach the Penny Poem. from the Coin Poems page.
  3. Interactively write what the class has learned about the penny, referring back to the notes taken on the chart paper and the large visual of the penny.
  4. Teach the The Pocket Song, using the penny to fill in the blanks.
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 with the nickel, dime and quarter.
  6. Give each child a Palm Pocket and a set of Palm Pocket Cards. Give clues about a penny, nickel, dime or quarter. Have students figure out which coin/amount was described and show by placing the appropriate card in the Palm Pocket.
  7. Introduce the coin cubes. In cooperative groups or at centers, the students play the identification game with the coin cubes. Keep a tally of how many times each coin is rolled using the Tally Them Up! worksheet.


  • Invite students to independently write about the coins, using word banks created on chart paper. They can use the A Penny For Your Thoughts page.
  • To help students memorize the coin poems, take them outside and let them chant the rhymes while jumping rope.
  • Provide students the opportunity to transfer the data they collected on their tally page to a bar graph.
  • Integrate this unit with the integrated standard and objective on water. Use the coins in a sink/float prediction activity.
  • As a fast finisher or a center, provide a concentration game to help students practice matching skills.
    1. Match coin heads with tails.
    2. Match value with coin.
    3. Match written name with coin.
  • Create a Venn Diagram and as a class or in small groups. Encourage students to compare/contrast two different coins (e.g. the penny and the dime or the nickel and the quarter). Refer students to the word banks created for each coin as they fill in the Venn Diagram.
  • As an adaptation, put stickers/pictures up next to the words recorded onto the word banks to scaffold for emergent/second language learners.
  • Have students create their own "Pocket Books" with a page for each coin, including the Pocket Song, the coin poems, and stickers/rubbings of each coin. This would be a great portfolio piece.
  • You may choose to teach this unit in February (President's Day holiday) and share nonfiction books about the four presidents depicted on the coins.
  • Create a file folder game with pockets. Students put correct coin card in corresponding pocket, labeled with value in cents.
  • For students who already know the attributes and values of the penny/nickel/dime/quarter, teach steps 1-7 under Instructional Procedures on the half dollar and dollar bill.

Family Connections

  • As you teach each coin, send home a coin with each child along with a note for the parents to sign, indicating that his/her child has told him/her about the value and characteristics of the coin. If you don't want to send the actual coin, simply send a picture of it or a stamp/sticker on the home note.
  • Send a note home to parents, asking them to take out their"pocket change" for their child to identify by name and value each night for a week.
  • Assign students the task of sharing the coin poems with their families and ask for a report back.
  • Send home a concentration game that the family can make and play together to practice identifying the coins.

Assessment Plan

  • Have students write about each coin, including value, characteristics, etc., using the word banks displayed in the room. Allow students to do rubbings of the coins around the edge of the paper. This makes a nice portfolio piece.
  • Use Palm Pockets and questions to assess small groups on their knowledge of coin characteristics and value.
  • Have students match coin names with symbols on a worksheet or with cards.

Created: 09/16/2004
Updated: 02/05/2018