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Money in the Bank

Printable view


Students will play a game involving the creation of different coin combinations using pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. This lesson is part of the Unit Plan “What’s it Worth?

Coin Type(s)

  • Cent
  • Nickel
  • Dime
  • Quarter

Coin Program(s)

  • Generic


  • Students will determine coin combinations for specific amounts.
  • Students will recognize and express the value using cent notation of penny, nickel, dime, and quarter.
  • Students will add coin amounts together.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Math


  • Kindergarten
  • First grade
  • Second grade

Class Time

Sessions: One
Session Length: 20-30 minutes
Total Length: 0-45 minutes


  • Pairs

Terms and Concepts

  • Cent
  • Coin combinations
  • Counting
  • Dime
  • Math games
  • Money
  • Nickel
  • Penny
  • Quarter


For each pair of students:

  • Coin/value card sets with coin amounts written on one side and the minimum number of coins required to make the combination listed on the other side (for example, 45 cents/3 coins). Photocopy one set of 8 per page and laminate for durability.
  • A handful of play coins of each denomination (pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters)

For each student:

  • A container to be the “bank”
  1. Divide the class into pairs of students and distribute materials to each pair.
  2. Explain the following rules to the students: One player chooses a card and names the exact combination of coins that is needed to match what is shown on the card. The player then creates this combination with play coins. Their partner checks to make sure the coin amount is correct. The first player then puts the coins into his or her bank.
  3. Play alternates and continues until four turns are completed for each player.
  4. The players add up the amount in the banks. The winner is the person with the most money in the bank. (Alternately, the winner could be the player who completed the most turns correctly.)

Differentiated Learning Options

For less advanced students, work only with one coin denomination at a time. Create cards that only list the coin amounts and have the students build that combination using only the denomination being discussed.

You can check students’ understanding by giving them a worksheet with the same amounts and combinations that are on the cards. Students can record their own answers on the worksheet.

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: All Problem Solving
Cluster: Instructional programs from kindergarten through grade 12 should enable all students to
Grade(s): Grades K–2

  • Build new mathematical knowledge through problem solving
  • Solve problems that arise in mathematics and in other contexts
  • Apply and adapt a variety of appropriate strategies to solve problems
  • Monitor and reflect on the process of mathematical problem solving

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.