That Is a Lot of Coins


After learning how many coins a new press can strike in a minute, students calculate the number of new coins that can be made in a single day. Students then share their problem-solving strategies with the class, using them to make additional calculations.


To achieve the standard of whole number computation, students will:
  • Construct number meanings through real-world experience and the use of physical materials
  • Understand our numeration system using relating counting, grouping, and place value concepts
  • Interpret the multiple uses of numbers encountered in the real world
  • Model, explain, and develop reasonable proficiency with basic facts and algorithms
  • Use a variety of mental computation and estimation techniques
  • Use calculators in appropriate computational situations
  • Select and use computation techniques appropriate to specific problems and determine whether the results are reasonable.

Subject Area

  • Math


  • 3rd
  • 4th
  • 5th

Class Time

  • Total Time: 0-45 Minutes minutes


  • Paper and pencils
  • Manipulatives and calculators as needed

Lesson Steps

  1.  Watch the How Coins Are Made For Kids video to introduce students to how the U.S. Mint makes coins. You can also explore the stages of how coins are made in the 'Life of a Coin' section of the U.S. Mint Coin Classroom.
  2. Share the following fun fact with the students: A brand new press can strike 750 coins in one minute.
  3. Ask the students to determine how many coins could be struck in one hour.
  4. As a class, have the students discuss the strategies they used to figure out the number of coins struck in an hour.
  5. Ask students to determine how many coins could be struck in a single day if four new presses were used.

Differentiated Learning Options

  • Allow students to work in pairs or small groups to solve the problem.
  • For another challenge, ask students to determine how much money they would have in an hour if the coin press was striking pennies, nickels, dimes, or quarters.


Use the students' calculations and class participation to determine whether they were able to determine how many coins could be struck and to successfully explain their problem-solving strategies.

Common Core Standards

Discipline: Math Domain: 4.MD Measurement and Data Grade(s): Grade 4 Cluster: Solve problems involving measurement and conversion of measurements from a larger unit to a smaller unit Standards:
  • 4.MD.1. Know relative sizes of measurement units within one system of units including km, m, cm, kg, g, lb, oz, l, ml, hr, min and sec. Within a single system of measurement, express measurements in a larger unit in terms of a smaller unit. Record measurement equivalents in a two column table.
    • For example, know that 1ft is 12 times as long as 1in. Express the length of a 4ft snake as 48in. Generate a conversion table for feet and inches listing the number pairs (1, 12), (2, 24), (3, 36), ...
  • 4.MD.2. Use the four operations to solve word problems involving distances, intervals of time, liquid volumes, masses of objects, and money, including problems involving simple fractions or decimals, and problems that require expressing measurements given in a larger unit in terms of a smaller unit. Represent measurement quantities using diagrams such as number line diagrams that feature a measurement scale.
  • 4.MD.3. Apply the area and perimeter formulas for rectangles in real world and mathematical problems. For example, find the width of a rectangular room given the area of the flooring and the length, by viewing the area formula as a multiplication equation with an unknown factor.

National Standards

Discipline: Mathematics Domain: 3-5 Algebra Cluster: Analyze change in various contexts. Grade(s): Grades 3–5 Standards: In grades 3–5 all students should
  • investigate how a change in one variable relates to a change in a second variable; and
  • identify and describe situations with constant or varying rates of change and compare them.

Discipline: Mathematics Domain: 3-5 Algebra Cluster: Represent and analyze mathematical situations and structures using algebraic symbols. Grade(s): Grades 3–5 Standards: In grades 3–5 all students should
  • identify such properties as commutativity, associativity, and distributivity and use them to compute with whole numbers;
  • represent the idea of a variable as an unknown quantity using a letter or a symbol; and
  • express mathematical relationships using equations.

Discipline: Mathematics Domain: 3-5 Algebra Cluster: Understand patterns, relations, and functions. Grade(s): Grades 3–5 Standards: In grades 3–5 all students should
  • describe, extend, and make generalizations about geometric and numeric patterns; and
  • represent and analyze patterns and functions, using words, tables, and graphs.