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Pot of Money

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This math game invites students to use practice their addition and subtraction skills while building upon their knowledge of coin values. The activity can be modified for older children to allow them to practice their multiplication skills.

Coin Type(s)

  • Cent
  • Nickel
  • Dime
  • Quarter

Coin Program(s)

  • Generic


  • Students will practice addition and subtraction.
  • Students will enhance their understanding of coin values.
  • Older students will use this activity to practice multiplication.


Major Subject Area Connections

  • Math


  • Kindergarten
  • First grade
  • Second grade
  • Third grade
  • Fourth grade
  • Fifth grade

Class Time

Sessions: One
Session Length: 30-45 minutes
Total Length: 0-45 minutes


  • Small groups

Terms and Concepts

  • Addition
  • Coins
  • Counting
  • Dime
  • Math games
  • Money
  • Multiplication
  • Nickel
  • Number sense
  • Penny
  • Quarter
  • Value


  • Plastic pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters
  • Fake 1-, 5-, and 10-dollar bills--enough to ensure enough cash in the "pot," depending on how high the teacher wants to go and the number of students participating. Bills may be appropriate for the intermediate grades, while coins and maybe $1 bills would be sufficient for the primary grades.
  1. Have students play this game in groups of 2 to 6 at a time. Students sit around a table.
  2. Each student begins with 10 pennies. In the middle of the table there is a "Pot" of nickels, dimes, quarters, and dollars (as high as the teacher feels comfortable).
  3. The students will take turns rolling the dice.
  4. During each turn, the student will add (or multiply) the number rolled to the amount of money that they started with. The student then adds money from the pot to his pile to create a new total. The student should exchange several smaller coins for larger coins of equal value.
  5. Choose a limit for ending the game. For example, decide how high to make the target and the first one that meets that target wins. Or determine how many rounds of play there will be, and the winner is the student with the greatest amount of money at that point.

Differentiated Learning Options

  • To make the game a little harder, the students should pick the least number of coins/dollars in the "pot" they can when "cashing in."
  • The game can also be played in reverse by starting with a dollar amount and subtracting with each roll of the dice.

  • Another variation is to work on a certain multiplier such as “7” and that number is added (or multiplied) to the number rolled, then that amount is taken from the pot and added to your holdings.

  • Assess whether each child comprehends the value of each coin
  • Assess whether each child comprehends how to add, subtract or multiply.

There are no related resources for this lesson plan.

This lesson plan is not associated with any Common Core Standards.

Discipline: Mathematics
Domain: K-2 Number and Operations
Cluster: Compute fluently and make reasonable estimates.
Grade(s): Grades K–2

In K through grade 2 all students should

  • 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; and
  • use a variety of methods and tools to compute, including objects, mental computation, estimation, paper and pencil, and calculators.

Discipline: Mathematics
Domain: K-2 Number and Operations
Cluster: Understand meanings of operations and how they relate to one another.
Grade(s): Grades K–2

In K through grade 2 all students should

  • understand various meanings of addition and subtraction of whole numbers and the relationship between the two operations;
  • understand the effects of adding and subtracting whole numbers; and
  • understand situations that entail multiplication and division, such as equal groupings of objects and sharing equally.

Discipline: Mathematics
Domain: K-2 Number and Operations
Cluster: Understand numbers, ways of representing numbers, relationships among numbers, and number systems.
Grade(s): Grades K–2

In K through grade 2 all students should

  • count with understanding and recognize "how many" in sets of objects;
  • use multiple models to develop initial understandings of place value and the base-ten number system;
  • develop understanding of the relative position and magnitude of whole numbers and of ordinal and cardinal numbers and their connections;
  • develop a sense of whole numbers and represent and use them in flexible ways, including relating, composing, and decomposing numbers;
  • connect number words and numerals to the quantities they represent, using various physical models and representations; and
  • understand and represent commonly used fractions, such as 1/4, 1/3, and 1/2.