A couple of years ago, I attended an inservice on learning centers in the classroom. Since then, learning centers have become a huge part of my teaching. Now, my students participate in self-directed, self-motivating review, practice, and enrichment on a regular basis. The kids love the math centers and even ask for more work!! This blog is dedicated to helping teachers make math centers a meaningful part of their instruction, thereby increasing students' achievement and the enjoyment of teaching!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Money Plates

        Here is an idea for a fun classroom activity that you can also leave behind at your math centers afterwards. Just get some good quality paper plates, glue some coins onto  them, and then write the total values onto the bottom of each plate. I have 15 or 20 of these at this point, but you can get by with about one for every two children. I tried to carefully plan my coins so that a variety of situations were included (one plate has one quarter with dimes, one has a quarter with nickels, one has a quarter with both, and so on).  For my advanced students, I also have several plates that have fake dollar bills attached to them.
        I have the students count the coins in pairs and then check the bottom of the plate to see if they are correct, and then we rotate the plates around the room. It is good to have a few extra plates for those kids who always seem to finish first. I use the time to circulate and listen to kids count coins and offer assistance. It's a great opportunity for assessment through anecdotal notes. The kids love it, and it gives them good practice identifying all of those weird new nickels and quarters, especially if you normally use the plastic money that all looks the same. It's also good practice counting the money from the largest value coins to the smallest, while the coins are somewhat scattered around the plates. I don't overdo it on scattering them, though. After the activity is over, these plates certainly make for a fun math center activity that kids will really enjoy!
         Tip: Use those heavy cardboard Chinet plates. They last forever and they don't flex, which can lead to coins falling off. Also, keep a bottle of glue handy, in case you need to reattach a fallen coin.  I use Elmer's Glue-all.


  1. I like this idea, and tweaked it for my first-grade classroom: My students all have their own baggies of real coins (20P, 5N, 10D and 2Q), so I decided to mark the Chinet plates with assorted combinations of P's, N's, D's and a Q here and there. My kids who are still working on coin recognition can look through their own coins and lay the ones down on the plate to match the alphabet letter prompts, and the kids, after they've laid out all of the coins onto the plate, can then slide them onto their desk, arrange them in order from highest to lowest value, and count up the total, before checking with the answer on the back. My higher-level students can then find another way to show the same amount (with either more or fewer coins), and record it in their math notebooks. Thanks for the idea! Love your blog!

  2. Great ideas - I'll have to try that! Thanks for the positive feedback as well!

  3. Could hot glue work also?

  4. I have not tried using a hot glue gun, but I suspect it might work quite well! Good idea! Anyone else try this?

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  6. Very Good idea for classroom activity. Children are enjoying to learn in advance
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