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Money Math Match

Money Lesson

Return to Were In the Money: Lessons for Teaching About Money


  • Applied Math
  • Arithmetic


  • K-2
  • 3-5

Brief Description

Students hunt for the classmate who holds a bag of coins of equal value to their own.


Students will
  • learn that different combinations of coins can represent the same amount of money.
  • practice using coins to represent a set value in different ways.
  • sequence different amounts of money from the least valuable to the most valuable.


money, coin, value, equivalent, cents, penny, nickel, dime, quarter

Materials Needed

  • bags of real or paper-copied coins (See Before the Lesson notes below.)
  • plastic bags, one for each student (sandwich size)
  • student work sheet (See Lesson Activity below.)

Lesson Plan

Before the Lesson
Photocopy a wide variety of coins (heavy-stock paper preferred). Cut out the coins and place a number of coins in each sealed bag. The denominations of the coins in each bag should differ; the amount of money in each bag should match exactly the amount in only one other bag.

To add authenticity to the activity, you might use real coins. If so, the bags should be melt-sealed so coins do not get lost.

The Activity
Provide each student with one plastic bag containing an assortment of coins. Have each student find the one other student in the class whose coins total value matches the value of the coins in his or her own bag.

Have each pair of students with bags that contain the same amount of money create a chart [see below] to show the number of each type of coin they have. Then have that pair of students come up with a third combination of coins that would add up to the same total and add that combination to their chart. Their completed chart should show three different ways of representing the same total amount.

  Pennies Nickels Dimes Quarters

Extension Activities

  • Instead of having students create their charts on paper, provide each pair of students with a pre-drawn chart on a sheet of transparency film. Students can use washable markers or grease pencils to write on the transparencies. Each pair of students should share with their classmates the transparency showing three different ways of representing the assigned value.
  • Have students arrange the bags in order from the bag with the least value to the bag containing the most money.
  • Collect the bags and hand them out again, so each student ends up with a different bag. Then have students repeat the activity.
  • Create another set of bags. This set should include groups of three bags containing different denominations of coins that add up to the same total value. Have the three students find one another.


Create a matching exercise on a bulletin board or work sheet. Have students match the coins in one column with the group of coins of equal value in the second column.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Gary Hopkins

National Standards

MATHEMATICS: Number and Operations

  • GRADES Pre-K - 2

  • NM-NUM.PK-2.1 Understand Numbers, Ways of Representing Numbers, Relationships Among Numbers, and Number Systems
    NM-NUM.PK-2.3 Compute Fluently and Make Reasonable Estimates
  • GRADES 3 - 5

  • NM-NUM.3-5.1 Understand Numbers, Ways of Representing Numbers, Relationships Among Numbers, and Number Systems
    NM-NUM.3-5.3 Compute Fluently and Make Reasonable Estimates
MATHEMATICS: Problem Solving
    GRADES Pre-K - 12
    NM-PROB.PK-12.1 Build New Mathematical Knowledge Through Problem Solving
    NM-PROB.PK-12.4 Monitor and Reflect on the Process of Mathematical Problem Solving
MATHEMATICS: Communications
    GRADES Pre-K - 12
    NM-COMM.PK-12.1 Organize and Consolidate Their Mathematical Thinking Through Communication
    NM-COMM.PK-12.2 Communicate Their Mathematical Thinking Coherently and Clearly to Peers, Teachers, and Others
    NM-COMM.PK-12.3 Analyze and Evaluate the Mathematical Thinking and Strategies of Others
MATHEMATICS: Representation
    GRADES Pre-K - 12
    NM-REP.PK-12.1 Create and Use Representations to Organize, Record, and Communicate Mathematical Ideas

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