Math at Home Math Access for Teachers
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Pinch A Penny

Using a die, children will subtract pennies until the winner “breaks the bank.”

 
Content Area Standard Target
  • Numbers and Operations
  • Understand numbers, ways of representing numbers, relationships among numbers, and number systems

  • Compute fluently and make reasonable estimates
  • Understand meanings of operations and how they relate to one another
  • Understand the effects of adding and subtracting whole numbers
  • Develop and use strategies for whole-number computations, with a focus on addition and subtraction
  • Develop fluency with basic number combinations for addition and subtraction
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Obtain materials Obtain the Materials
 
  • Large supply of pennies
  • One die

 

Note: Small parts create a choking hazard for children. Make sure that all materials you choose to use for an activity or lesson with children meet safety requirements. Small parts are not appropriate for children who are 5 years of age or younger.

   
Introduce the activity Introduce the Activity
 
  1. Explain to the children that today they are going to play a game called Pinch A Penny that will help them with their subtraction skills.  Ask the children what it means to subtract
  2. Once you have fielded a number of responses, tell the children what it means to subtractExplain that in Pinch A Penny, players will be given a pile of pennies.  One player will roll a die and take away that number of pennies from their pile.  The first player to lose all their pennies, “breaks the bank” and wins.
   
Engage the children Engage the Children
 
  1. Start with an equal amount of pennies for each player.  Have the first player roll the die.  Have the player take away that amount of pennies from their pile.  Encourage the children to talk about what they are doing as they take their turn.  Model how to talk aloud.  “You rolled a 4.  You have 10 pennies and you must take away 4 pennies.  How many pennies do you have left?”  “Six”  “Yes, you have 6 pennies left.  Now it is the next player’s turn”
  2. The first player to lose all their pennies, “Breaks the bank” and wins.
  3. If a player has 3 pennies and rolls a 6, then they skip a turn.  The player must be able to take away some pennies from their pile in order to successfully complete a turn.  If a player cannot do this, cannot take 6 away from 3, then the next player takes their turn.

Additional Extensions

  • With continued subtraction practice, add more pennies to the player’s piles.  If needed, you may also add another die so that the players are playing with a large amount of pennies and 2 die.
  • Make a recording sheet for the players to record their mathematical thinking.              
                            I started out with ______________ pennies in my pile.
                            I rolled a _______________
                            ________ - __________ = _____________
                            Now I have _______________ pennies

      Repeat this several times so that the children have an opportunity to record all their moves.

   
Encourage vocabulary Encourage Vocabulary
 
  • Subtract – Take one quantity away from another (e.g., "You have 9 pennies and you rolled a 4.  You will subtract 4 from 9. How many pennies will you have left?")
  • Take away – To remove something (e.g., "One player will roll a die and take away that number of pennies from their pile.")
  • How many – The total or sum (e.g., “You rolled a 4. You have 10 pennies and you must take away 4 pennies.  How many pennies do you have left?")
  • Remain –  Amount left over (e.g., "You rolled a 4.  You have 10 pennies and you must take away 4 pennies.  How many pennies remain?")

Glossary of MATH vocabulary

   
Make adaptations Make Adaptations
 

Supporting Children at Different Levels

Toddlers   Pre-K

Toddlers may:

  • Not yet be familiar with subtraction.
  • Possess number recognition but cannot yet add or subtract.
Vertical line

Pre-K Children may:

  • Have a working concept of subtraction.

Home child care providers may:

  • Have the children use a pile of 10 or fewer pennies.

 

Home child care providers may:

  • Add more pennies to the player’s piles.  If needed, you may also add another die so that the players are playing with a large amount of pennies and 2 die.
  • Make a recording sheet for the players to record their mathematical thinking.

                       
     I started out with ______________ pennies in my pile.
     I rolled a _______________
       ________ - __________ = _____________
      Now I have _______________ pennies

Repeat this several times so that the children have an opportunity to record all their moves.

 

   
Books Books
 
  • Subtraction Action by Loreen Leedy (New York: Holiday House, 2002)

  • Hersey Kisses Subtraction Book by Jerry Pallotta (New York: Cartwheel, 2002)

  • Ten Sly Piranhas by William Wise (New York: Puffin, 2004)


   
Music and movement Music and Movement
 
   
Outdoor connections Outdoor Connections
 
  • Play Target Take Away
    http://meaningfulmama.com/2012/07/day-210-target-take-away-subtraction.html

    Target Take Away is a game to teach them the basic ideas of subtraction. Use pebbles as our counters, and use a frisbee for the children to throw at the target. You can use anything to count: beans, balls, marbles, pennies, paper clips, etc. You can also use anything to throw: a ring, pennies, a paper clip, a rock, etc..  Start with 10 of something. The goal is to get rid of all of your units. The children take turns, and whatever number they land on is the number they get to take away from what they have. If it doesn’t land on the target or it lands directly on the line, they get another toss. Have them talking about it all the time. “You had 6 and now you have to take away 3. How many do you have now? Oh, so 6-3 is 3?” I want them to get rid of their items by the direct number. So, if they have 5 left but land on 8, they wouldn’t be able to take anything away.

 

   
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