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Money Activity

money activity


  • Pencils (1 per student)

  • Fake plastic coins (each student needs one quarter, one dime, one nickel, and one penny)

  • Rulers (1 per student)

  • Brightly colored 12" x 18" construction paper, with guide dots pre-punched by the teacher (1 per student)

  • Brown, grey, and green crayons

  • The completed project prepared by the teacher before the lesson


This lesson helps students visualize and memorize how many quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies, make up a dollar. The project is an abstract representation of five different ways of making 100 cents: a dollar bill, 4 quarters, 10 dimes, 20 nickels, and 100 pennies.

Although this lesson is more time consuming than many of the others, it's still worth students' time. Not only does it lay the groundwork for future lesson on money, it's also a highly motivating way to get students thinking about multiplication and division. Understanding that 20 nickels equals a dollar (20 x 5 = 100, 100 ÷ 5 = 20) is a great first step towards understanding the components of future multiplication and division problems.

Before the lesson, the teacher must prepare a 12" x 18" sheet of construction paper for each student. Each student's sheet needs 16 dots. The sheets can be prepared all at once with the help of a guide sheet. To prepare the guide sheet, use a ruler to layout exactly where dots are needed on the construction paper:

money activity 2

Once you've placed the dots in their correct location on the guide sheet you can use it to quickly prepare dotted construction paper for all of your students. Do this by stacking papers ten at a time, placing the guide paper on top. Use the needle-like end of a compass (or similar sharp point) to punch 16 pin holes through the stack. Then, use a black marker to make every hole more visible. The fully-prepared sheets of construction paper will look like this:

money activity 3

Get the entire lesson!
activity book