Number Sense using Coins for First, Second and Third Grades

Grade Levels
1st - 4th
Formats Included
  • PDF
78 pages
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Number Sense is important, learning loins and their values is important: what's better than doing them individually? Doing them together!

What is "number sense" and how do we develop it in young children? For many years, number sense was thought to occur when children matched a number to an amount; since then, the definition has expanded to include a set of skills for recognizing quantities in different ways. With number sense, our students can estimate not only the number of objects, but also the passage of time, the approximate measure of an angle and the result from adding a set of 2 digit numbers.

For number sense to develop in the early grades, students must engage in activities that develop estimation and counting skills in a variety of contexts. This includes spacial number sense , as well as working with sets of coins, both in groups with only a single type of coin, as well as in mixed groups. For example, if I grabbed a handful of pennies and dimes mixed together out of a jar, about how much would that be worth?

This is a 78 page collection of activities designed to facilitate number sense using different individual coins, as well as in combinations of 2, 3 or 4 coins. There is also an extensive preface describing the different types of number sense that needs to be developed at different grade levels.

The first set of activities involves individual tasks where students "pinch" a group of coins using 1, 2, 3 or 4 fingers (the thumb is not a "finger," and so is included in each pinch.) The students estimate how many coins they have pinched, then count out the coins and record their findings.

The second set of activities are done with partners: students take turns estimating the value of the coins they will pinch with their fingers, then pinch the coins, create an estimate based on a "quick look" at the coins in their hands, then count out the value. The students work with partners and compare their estimates, as well as check the final count.

The third set of activities involves looking at a geometric shape and estimating the value of the individual coins it can hold. Students then fill the shape with coins and find its value; they then look at a second, larger shape on the same page and estimate the value that it will hold. They then fill it with coins and see how close they came to their estimate.

There are also "calibrated" coin counting mats, where students can place groups of coins to make a "benchmark" amount (10¢ for pennies, 25¢ for nickels, and $1 for dimes and quarters.) These can be used in conjunction with the activities to help facilitate efficient and accurate coin counting.

Finally, there is a set of "whole class" activity posters that teachers can print out and hang during a work time to start conversations with students about estimation and number sense.

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Total Pages
78 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
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