Step 1: Gather materials.
- Colored pencils or crayons (colored pencils work better than crayons because kids find it difficult to NOT push hard while coloring. Gentle shading is difficult to practice. That is why colored pencils are a perfect solution, since the pressure exerted does not affect the coin impression as much.)
- A variety of coins (pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters)
- Paper (larger newsprint paper works well for this project)
Note: Small parts pose a choking hazard and are not appropriate for children age five or under. Be sure to choose lesson materials that meet safety requirements.
Step 2: Introduce activity.
- While showing coins (quarter, nickel, dime and penny), ask the children if they know the names of the coins that you hold up.
- Describe the attributes of each of the coins (the quarter is bigger, the dime is the smallest, the penny is a different color, etc.)
- Explain that, today, they will be exploring coins further by doing rubbings of the coins and creating patterns with the coins.
Step 3: Engage children in lesson activities.
- Give each child a few coins, sheets of white paper and crayons or colored pencils. Ask them to lay out a few coins on a sheet of paper and cover the coins with another sheet of paper. Then make coin impressions by coloring over the coins with the colored pencils.
- Ask the children to match the coins with their impressions.
- Make an attributes chart. Ask the children to look for and talk about the similarities and differences between each of the coins. You can help by clarifying the attributes that the children are noticing by identifying the various presidents and landmarks on each of the coins. You can also connect the coins with the equivalent number amount.
- Lay out a few coins on the paper, cover them up with another sheet of paper, ask the children to do crayon rubs and guess what coins are underneath the sheet of paper, then ask them to check their guesses by doing new coin rubs.
- Create coin rubbings and math/money equations.
- Create a pattern with the coins and then instruct the children to rub and create designs. Have the children create their own patterns.
- If you end up using crayons, wash over the paper with watercolors so that the crayon colors will pop out. You could do the coin rubbings with a white crayon and create a “secret” money activity sheet. The children can then use watercolors to reveal the coins.
Step 4: Math vocabulary.
- Equal to: To be the same in number or amount (e.g., “A dime is equal to 10 cents.”)
- Similarities: Having like attributes (e.g., “What similarities do you notice between these two coins?”)
- Differences: Not similar in size, shape, color or other characteristic (e.g., “What differences do you notice between these two coins?”)
- Quarter: A coin worth 25 cents (e.g., a quarter of a dollar)
- Dime: A coin worth 10 cents (e.g., tenth of a dollar)
- Nickel: A coin worth five cents (e.g., fifth of a dollar)
- Penny: A coin worth one cent
Step 5: Adapt lesson for toddlers or preschoolers.
Adapt Lesson for Toddlers
- Need help understanding the connection between the coin rubbing and the actual coin
- Need help attaching a coin name to the appropriate coin
Home child care providers may:
- Point out similarities and differences between the coins (help the children to notice the different coin sizes and the pictures on each of the coins and then connect those attributes to the same coin to complete the matching of the coins)
- Further extend the activity so that the children are using the coins in a variety of different ways (create a pattern with the coins that the children can rub to create designs or ask the children to create their own patterns)
- Reinforce the names of the coins as the children are matching up the coins with the rubbings (make a list of each coin’s various attributes, e.g., Quarter: largest coin, eagle soaring on one side, George Washington on the other side)
Adapt Lesson for Preschoolers
- Easily identify the various attributes of the coins
Home child care providers may:
- Introduce the number equivalences of each coin
- Create coin rubbings or math/money equations practice sheets or games
- Provide games that further solidify their knowledge (lay out a few coins on a sheet of paper, cover them up with another sheet of paper, ask the children to do crayon rubs and guess what coins are underneath the sheet of paper, then ask them to check their guesses by doing new coin rubs)
- The Coin Counting Book by Rozanne Lanczak Williams (New York: Charlesbridge Pub Inc., 2001)
- Pigs Will Be Pigs: Fun with Math and Money by Amy Axelrod (New York: Aladdin, 1997)
- Alexander, Who Used to be Rich Last Sunday by Judith Viorst (New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 1987)
Music and Movement
- A song with movement using pennies, dimes and nickels www.songsforteaching.com/earlychildhoodelementarypreschoolkindergarten/money1cent5cents10cents.php
- A song with movements that help children identify the attributes of various coins songsforteaching.com/musicmathmoney/coins.htm
Set up a general store. Some of the children can be merchants and the others can be buyers. Use only the coins used in the rubbing activity (quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies). Tell the merchants to price their items. You can bring some items from the classroom outside or sell found objects such as rocks or pinecones. The prices should be in keeping with the coins (5 cents, 25 cents) so that the children won’t need to figure out how to make change. The merchants can write up price tags or the buyers can simply ask the price of each item. Once the children have played for a while, tell the merchants and buyers to switch roles.