Penny Race


Students will play a game where they determine the value of different coin combinations.


  • Students will recognize and express the value of a penny, nickel and dime.
  • Students will solve simple addition problems using coins.
  • Students will recognize coin equivalents (such as 5 pennies = one nickel).

Subject Area

  • Math


  • K
  • 1st
  • 2nd

Class Time

  • Total Time: 0-45 Minutes minutes


  • Game board:  A winding path divided into many spaces with a picture of a penny in each space.
  • Game cards:  Can be index cards or small pieces of paper with pictures of different combinations of coin denominations on them (pennies, nickels and dimes)
  • Objects for game pieces (can be coins)

Lesson Steps

This game is best played with student in groups of 3 to 5. Each group will need a game board and game pieces. You can develop them, or can have students make their own boards and pieces. Explain to the students the rules of the game.

  1. To see who goes first, have each player take a game card from the pile. The player with the highest value goes first. In case of a tie, those two players draw again.  All players then put their cards on the bottom of the pile.
  2. On each turn, the student chooses a game card then moves their game piece along the penny path the number of cents equal to the value of their game card. For example, if their card has one nickel and one penny on it, the student moves their game piece six spaces.
  3. The first person to make it to the finish line wins.


Differentiated Learning Options

Students can make different game boards and game cards. Their board can be nickels or dimes and their cards can be larger denomination coins.


Use game participation to evaluate the students' knowledge of the value of pennies, nickels and dimes, and how these coins relate to each other in value.

Common Core Standards

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

National 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.