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Unit Plan

Common Cents

Description of Unit:

This unit walks early elementary aged students through the basics of counting and using the smallest U.S. coin denominations (the penny, nickel, and dime).


  • Addition
  • Coin Combinations
  • Coins
  • Counting
  • Dime
  • Math Games
  • Money
  • Nickel
  • Number Sense
  • Penny
  • Value

Grade Level(s):


Main Subject Area:


Additional Subjects:

Language Arts
Social Studies

Essential Question or Problem:

How do people use coins in their every day life?

Unit Introduction:

Coins are used every day. Whether in paying a parking meter, or making change, coins are the most basic part of our monetary system. This unit gives early learners the chance to learn how to count and eventually use pennies, nickels, and dimes for purchases.

Individual Lessons:

  1. An Introduction to Coins
  2. Trading Pennies and Nickels
  3. Counting by 10s, 5s, and 1s
  4. Adding Pennies, Nickels and Dimes
  5. Let's Go Shopping!

Culminating Activity:

“Let’s go Shopping!” Lesson. This is an activity where the students apply their knowledge of creating combinations of pennies, nickels and dimes to “purchase” their daily snacks.